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The Office of Public Affairs bimonthly measurements and metrics
April 2022
Big Stories

War in Ukraine

Texas primaries

Rice's cancer breakthrough

Media Highlights

War in Ukraine

Weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine, reporters and television producers across the nation began consulting with Rice faculty experts for their perspective on what has developed into the largest European military conflict since World War II. Skyrocketing oil and gasoline prices triggered by the war led to an avalanche of requests for interviews with the university’s energy experts, notably the Baker Institute’s Mark Finley, Ken Medlock, Anna Mikulska and Francisco Monaldi. The Ukraine war and its impact on world oil markets accounted for more than 9,200 mentions of Rice in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, BBC and scores of other outlets.

Texas primaries

As paralysis in Congress leads national political reporters to focus more attention on state legislatures, Texas elections are coming under growing media scrutiny. The Texas primaries in March led journalists from across the U.S. to call on Rice’s stable of political scientists for their expertise, including their perspective on unprecedented problems at polling places in Houston. Texas political stories led to hundreds of mentions of Rice in media outlets, including USA Today, U.S. News and World Report, the Hill and Reuters.

Rice's cancer breakthrough

Rice bioengineers proved they could eradicate advanced-stage ovarian and colorectal cancer in mice in as little as six days. Their treatment could be ready for human clinical trials later this year.  Although many journalists and media outlets are reluctant to report results of studies conducted on mice, the results of this research were so remarkable that they generated coverage in U.S. News and World Report, the Daily Mail, NBC News Right Now and dozens of science and pharmaceutical journals.

For a full list of March and April media stars
please see the last section of this report. 
Government Relations

Government Relations supports D.C. trips and hosts congressional visits

In March, Government Relations activity saw an uptick as we supported a trip by the provost to Washington, D.C., and shared the long awaited Texas House of Representatives interim charges with numerous audiences across campus. During Provost Reginald DesRoches’ trip, we facilitated his participation in the Research!America 2022 Advocacy Awards reception, introduced him to Sens. Roy Blunt, R-MO, and John Hickenlooper, D-CO, and invited several Rice alumni working on Capitol Hill to join us at the event. We also arranged a series of congressional meetings for DesRoches, including with Rep. Lizzie Fletcher, D-TX, and Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX.
April was even more active, with DesRoches making another trip to Washington, several members of Congress visiting campus, and our preparation and submission of several fiscal year 2023 appropriation requests to Rice research groups. The provost returned to D.C. in early April, where we helped him arrange meetings with Rep. Frank Lucas, R-OK, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX, and Dr. Erwin Gianchandani, the newly named assistant director for the National Science Foundation’s new Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP) Directorate. Government Relations also assisted on campus with several congressional visits, including Rep. Michael McCaul, R-TX, for a Baker Institute Director’s Lecture Series talk about the war in Ukraine and Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-TX, for a Healthcare Innovation Summit at the Anderson-Clarke Center, at which Rice’s Jacob Robinson was a featured panelist.
University Relations

Rice celebrates opening of Brockman Hall for Opera

In April, University Relations partnered with Media Relations, Multicultural Community Relations and the Shepherd School of Music to celebrate the opening of the new Brockman Hall for Opera. The University Relations team secured a mayoral proclamation for the new building’s ribbon cutting that took place during the April 9 community open house and helped to promote the event to community contacts. The team then hosted neighborhood leaders and city officials at the April 14 and 16 public performances of Mozart’s "Don Giovanni" and welcomed Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner at the April 22 gala fundraiser and concluding performance.
Public Affairs’ Faith Neyra holds the proclamation presented to Shepherd School Dean Matthew Loden by District C City Council chief of staff Lance Gilliam at the April 9 community open house and ribbon cutting.
Rice alumna and Houston Public Works Director Carol Haddock ’91 was among the community guests who enjoyed the first performances in the new Brockman Hall for Opera.
Former Shepherd School Dean Robert Yekovich and current Dean Matthew Loden celebrate the opening night performance on April 14.
Bravi! The opening night cast and orchestra take a well deserved bow. 

Our first full academic year in the Welcome Center since COVID

While we reopened campus tours with the Welcome Center in June 2021, this was our first full academic year hosting tours since the pandemic. Below you can find more details on the groups we were able to welcome back to campus. 
  • The Welcome Center hosted 85 campus tours from August to May and interacted with over 4,400 participants. 
  • The following two images depict where the visiting schools are located around the city. Schools came from 24 districts, as far north as Spring and Kingwood and as far south as Alvin.  
Creative Services

Ken Kennedy Institute conference program

Creative Services designed an event program for the 2022 Energy High Performance Computing Conference, held annually in the spring. The program book was part of an overall package that included pop-up banners and other signage.

Carbon neutral campus

As part of a campaign featuring Rice’s announcement that it would be moving the campus to carbon neutrality by 2030, Creative Services produced a flyer and a series of digital ads driving viewers back to a web page featuring all the related stories.

Humanities Big Questions

Working with the School of Humanities, Creative Services created promotional materials advertising the fall 2022 Big Questions series. The 92 courses included “What is a Fact?” and “What is an [Ab]normal Body?” Other materials included posters, social media graphics and easel display boards.
Multicultural Community Relations

Celebrating Black History Month with celebrated writer

In honor of Black History Month, Multicultural Community Relations was able to score a coup by securing Jelani Cobb, a staff writer for the New Yorker and journalism professor at Columbia University, to participate in a panel discussion with two Rice professors and a Rice alumna. MCR raised most of the funds to pay for Cobb’s talk, “The Half Life of Freedom: Race and Justice in America Today,” which was attended by participants from around the country.  

Galas, galas and more events

In between the waves of the pandemic, many Houston nonprofit organizations took advantage of the pause by hosting galas. MCR represented Rice at five galas hosted by Teach for America, the Chinquapin School, KIPP, Lunar New Year and Phi Beta Kappa. MCR also partnered with the Development Office and the MultiCultural Center to support the Black Student Association (BSA) gala, which resulted in a sold-out event. Provost Reginald DesRoches served as keynote speaker and received an award for being an excellent professor and mentor. On March 31, MCR partnered with the Office of Multicultural Affairs to host an appreciation event for Rice support staff from Housing and Dining and Facilities Engineering and Planning. In late April, the Shepherd School of Music celebrated the opening of the Brockman Hall for Opera by hosting a community open house. MCR helped promote the event by inviting K–12 teachers and their families.

How to get into college: Admission trends

On April 14, at MCR’s Community Dialogue Luncheon, Vice President for Enrollment Yvonne Romero Da Silva gave an informative talk about college admissions trends. Attending the luncheon were representatives from the city of Houston’s department of education, a board member from Houston Community College, two board members from Houston Independent School District and an education representative from the office of the consulate general of Spain. Later in the day, MCR organized a private tour at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston for members of the Association of Rice University Black Alumni (ARUBA), as well as Black faculty, staff and students, to view the Dawoud Bey and Obama portrait exhibits. Attending the tour were the newly elected president of Rice’s Black Student Association, Malaika Bergner; ARUBA member Merinda Watkins-Martin, who provided generous support for the exhibits; and Monique Shankle, the president of the Association of Rice Alumni. On April 19, MCR hosted a cultural event with community partner La Casa de España.  

Diversity Conference honors President Leebron

MCR’s director served on the planning committee for the April 22 Diversity Summit. President David Leebron was recognized at the event for his achievements in diversity, equity and inclusion. Also, Richard Baker, executive director of institutional equity and EEO, took part in a panel discussion on diversity in higher education.  

Rice finds a friend in the Fifth Ward

In a recent issue of Rice At Large, the newsletter that highlights Rice’s engagement with the Houston community, one story featured a former Rice professor who started a nonprofit group to help Wheatley High School in the Fifth Ward. Also in the issue are stories promoting summer camps at Rice for precollege students. 
Marketing and Digital Communications

Visits to the homepage decreased during March and April, largely due to spring break and the removal of the Canvas login page (which now resides on the Learning Environments website as part of OIT). Total page views were 421,286, with visitors spending an average time of 3 minutes, 36 seconds on the site, which continues to show that they are finding the information they need.
Page views: 421,286
Average time on page: 3 minutes, 36 seconds
Bounce rate: 70.94%
As of April 30, Public Affairs and the Office of Information Technology have successfully launched 268 Drupal 8 websites. On March 31, 2022, the KnOWLedge Café website launched in the Rice-branded Drupal theme, replacing one half of Human Resources, antiquated WordPress site with a new design, real-time content and a new user experience.
The two departments are also collaborating on an additional 39 new websites that have come into the Rice-branded theme. Some of the websites currently under development are:
  • Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning (CERCL)
  • Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences
  • Environmental Science
  • Genetic Design and Engineering Center
  • Geofluids Lab | Helge Gonnermann
  • Houston Wastewater Epidemiology
  • Inauguration of Reginald DesRoches
  • Office of Faculty Development (OFD)
  • Organization & Workforce Laboratory (OWL)
  • Rice Center for Quantum Materials (RCQM)
  • Rice Emergency Medical Services
  • Rice Military
  • The Chemistry of Art
  • The Kinder Institute for Urban Research
  • Vice President for Administration
Social media
Impressions reflects the number of times the content was seen. 
Followers reflects the number of people who follow the main Rice accounts. 
Engagements reflects the number of interactions (likes, loves, shares, comments, clicks) on a post.

Social media channel overview for March and April:

  • Gained 3,694 followers  
  • 11,235,008 impressions. This is a 244% increase from January and February.
  • 335,972 engagements. This is a 93% increase from January and February.
  • 74,821 post link clicks.* This is a 171% increase from January and February.
  • Total followers across platforms: 256,230
*Post Link Clicks counts number of times users clicked on links from posts.


Total followers: 41,789
Gained: 609 followers. This is a 7% increase.
Top post: Rice University has announced tuition for the 2022-23 academic year
Second-highest post: Rice bioengineers have created tiny implants that activate immune cells to destroy cancer


Total followers: 60,496
Gained: 469 likes. This is a 128% increase.
Top post: The Shepherd School of Music Brockman Hall for Opera grand opening
Second-highest post: Rice bioengineers have created tiny implants that activate immune cells to destroy cancer


Total followers: 102,092
Gained: 2,014 followers
Top post: The Shepherd School of Music Brockman Hall for Opera grand opening
Second-highest post: The Brockman Hall for Opera is officially open


Total followers: 48,170
Gained: 875 followers. This is a 3% increase
Top post: The return of Beer Bike
Second-highest post: Owl Days for class of 2026

  • The opening of the Brockman Hall for Opera had a high engagement rate.
  • Boosting posts in March and April added to the overall impressions.
  • Instagram growth slows as prospective students stop following once they receive their notice of acceptance.
Media Stars
Francisco Monaldi, fellow in Latin American energy policy at the Center for Energy Studies, the Center for the United States and Mexico, and the Latin America Initiative at the Baker Institute for Public Policy and a lecturer in energy economics at Rice, had the highest number of media mentions — 3,678 — during March and April, mainly for comments about global oil concerns. Below are members of the Rice community who were mentioned in the media 10 or more times during March and April.
Francisco Monaldi 3,678
Anna Mikulska 2,708
Mark Finley 1,914
James Tour 1,027
Daniel Cohan 737
Mark Jones 666
Rachel Meidl 607
Jim Krane 520
Tony Payan 487
Tyler Martin 416
Omid Veiseh 257
James Baker III 233
Richard Stoll 231
Miriam Grunstein 226
Ken Medlock 136
Amanda Nash 129
Bill Fulton 81
John Alford 80
Gabriel Collins 67
Doug Schuler 66
Patrick Hartigan 64
Jorge Barro 61
Timothy Morton 55
Yan "Anthea" Zhang 55
Rachel Kimbro 52
Lesa Tran Lu 51
Carl Pierre 51
Gwen Bradford 46
Douglas Brinkley 44
Travis Evee 44
Chris Mullins 41
Jacob Robinson 39
Kristian Coates Ulrichsen 37
Ming Tang 36
Fan Wang 36
Kaiqi Yang 36
Seolyeong Jeong 35
Clara Saitkoulov 35
William Yeh 35
Kelsey Norman 34
Michael Wong 33
Elaine Howard Ecklund 30
Rachel Schneider 30
Matthew Loden 29
Anota Adekunle 26
Carly Graham 26
Mike Bloomgren 24
Katharine Neill Harris 22
Gary Hale 21
Evan Fricke 20
Vivian Ho 20
Zhe Yuan 20
Eden King 19
Rick Wilson 19
Boris Yakobson 19
Zahra Jamal 18
Alex Kutana 18
Lydia Beaudrot 17
Ksenia Bets 17
Tanner Gardner 17
Duy Xuan Luong 17
Kirsten Siebach 16
Paul Advincula 15
Jacob Beckham 15
Jinhang Chen 15
Weiyin Chen 15
Lucas Eddy 15
Michelle Michot Foss 15
Chang Ge 15
Carter Kittrell 15
Kevin Wyss 15
Richard Morse  14
Todd Treangen 14
Paul Brace 13
Yunxi Liu 12
Peter Rodriguez 12
Mikki Hebl 11
The chart below shows Rice’s media mentions since 2007. The green column reflects the number of mentions through April 30, 2022.
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