Set in the heart of Houston, Texas, the nation’s fourth-largest city, Rice is a comprehensive research university that fosters diversity and an intellectual environment that produces the next generation of leaders and advances tomorrow’s thinking.
The Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) Program at Rice unites undergraduate education and faculty research in a team-based context. Undergraduate Rice VIP students earn academic credits, while faculty and graduate students benefit from the design/discovery efforts of their teams. VIP at Rice extends the academic design experience beyond a single semester. It provides the time and context to learn and practice professional skills, to make substantial contributions, and experience different roles on large multidisciplinary design/discovery teams. The long-term nature of VIP creates an environment of mentorship, with faculty and graduate students mentoring teams, experienced students mentoring new members, and students moving into leadership roles as others graduate. Rice VIP teams are comprised of students from freshmen to seniors, with a variety of majors and backgrounds. Rice’s VIP program in its Engineering School seeks to involve undergraduates in ongoing research. The implementing faculty members are all in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). A team run by Mechanical Engineering faculty will be starting this year. Rice is a small, private research institution where undergraduate research is common. Undergraduate interdisciplinary design projects are also common, partly due to the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen, a design and fabrication facility open to all undergraduate engineers. We expect VIP to combine the best features of our cultures of research and design. We are open to developing tools to assess program effectiveness and collaboration among VIP institutions.