Reginald DesRoches is Rice University’s eighth president. He also serves as a professor of civil and environmental engineering, and professor of mechanical engineering. As president, DesRoches is the chief executive officer of the university and its more than 8,200 students, 900 plus faculty, seven academic schools, the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies, and many interdisciplinary institutes and centers. He previously served as Rice's Howard Hughes Provost and William and Stephanie Sick Dean of Engineering.
DesRoches’ top priorities are to enable Rice to reach a new level of distinction nationally and internationally for impactful research, award-winning scholarship and insightful creative work. He also wants to build graduate programs that are of the same distinction as Rice’s top rated undergraduate programs while maintaining Rice’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
During his tenure as provost, DesRoches led the university’s academic, research, scholarly and creative activities through the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the sudden suspension of classroom instruction and Rice’s successful conversion to remote learning. In addition, he dramatically increased the university’s research awards, launched several new centers and institutes, and forged new partnerships and programs with institutions and organizations in the Houston area, including the Texas Medical Center.
Under his leadership, several new majors and professional master’s programs were launched, including a new undergraduate business major. Several new online programs were created during his time as provost as well, including the online degrees in the Jones Graduate School of Business and several online master’s degrees in the School of Engineering. During his time as provost, DesRoches made diversity, equity and inclusion a priority, establishing the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, which has been instrumental in dramatically increasing the diversity of Rice’s faculty and graduate student population. He also began leading the first major expansion of the undergraduate body in over a decade.
DesRoches' tenure at Rice began in 2017, when he accepted the post as the William and Stephanie Sick Dean of Engineering at the George R. Brown School of Engineering. As the leader of Rice’s engineering school, he was in charge of nine departments, 137 faculty and 2,500 students. During his time as dean, the school dramatically increased in size, stature and department rankings. It also saw a significant growth in research programs. Several key interdisciplinary initiatives were launched during DesRoches’ time as dean, some of which were neuroengineering, synthetic biology and data science. He also led the establishment of the a collaborative research center in India with IIT-Kanpur, the first of its kind.
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July, 2022 - present