VIII. FACULTY WORKING CONDITIONS
Rice supports the work of its faculty in a variety of ways. In addition to the space, funds, equipment, and clerical assistance that it provides through its departments and schools, Rice maintains libraries, computing and networking facilities, and other university-wide programs to assist and protect the faculty. Rice also regulates many aspects of a faculty member's work -- not just to sustain the interests of the university but also to conform to federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
A. The Library
Fondren Library is a modern research library that supports the university's teaching and research efforts with a broad range of collections: 3 million volumes, including more than 136,000 electronic books; more than 172,000 current journal subscriptions; more than 3.5 million microforms; and 750 indexes and databases providing targeted access to the journal literature. It is a selective depository for United States and Texas government publications and for United States patents and trademarks. Special collections include: The Woodson Research Center, home to more than 40,000 rare books and more than 800 manuscript collections, as well as more than 400 university archive collections; robust support for Rice's pre-eminent programs in art and architecture and music; and the Rice Digital Scholarship Archive, an open source D-Space repository for faculty members' research, electronic theses and dissertations, and digitized collections. The Digital Media Center (DMC) provides equipment, software, and support for using and creating media, including equipment checkout. The GIS/Data Center provides support for analyzing geographic information in a broad range of academic disciplines. Fondren collaborates with the Jones Graduate School of Business in providing library services to the Business Information Center, located in Janice and Rober McNair Hall.
Faculty services offered by Fondren include active support for collections, research, and teaching; physical and electronic class reserves; inter-library borrowing and document delivery; study rooms and technology-equipped classrooms by reservation; and a limited number of carrels (available through deans to scholars with special needs). General and specialized tours are available for students, as well as classes on topics such as specific social media and technology tools, specific electronic resources, and research methodology. Additionally, there are online research guides on specific subjects. The library sponsors, through its Friends group, an annual research competition for undergraduates and graduate students; through the DMC co-sponsors an annual student video contest; and with the School of Engineering co-sponsors the faculty Virginia and Griff Lawhorn Digital Education Award.
The Fondren Fellows program funds Rice undergraduate or graduate students to conduct research projects sponsored by Fondren Library that will benefit the library and the scholarly community. For example, projects may involve working with archival collections, developing digital projects, or making recommendations for library spaces or services based on analyzing data.
Open Access Policy
The Faculty of Rice University is committed to disseminating the fruits of its research and scholarship as widely as possible. In keeping with that commitment, and recognizing the importance of allowing faculty members to choose appropriate venues for publishing their scholarly work, the Faculty adopted the following policy in 2012:
The current Rice copyright policy governing faculty publications will be followed, with the additional provision that Rice University will make published articles written by faculty members available for open dissemination. The policy will apply to all scholarly articles written while the person is a faculty member, except for publications completed before the adoption of this policy. The Provost or Provost's designate will waive application of the policy for a particular scholarly publication upon written notification by the author, who informs Rice of the reason. Faculty members are further encouraged to make all of their publications, not just articles, available for open dissemination. Please see the full policy here.
Authors should submit electronic copies of the author's accepted manuscripts to the Rice Digital Scholarship Archive (RDSA), the University's institutional repository. Fondren Library manages RDSA and has developed resources to assist authors: http://openaccess.rice.edu/rice-open-access-policy/. Upon request, an article will not be made available to the public for an agreed-upon embargo period. In addition, faculty may publish their research datasets (up to 10GB) on RDSA. Fondren will preserve datasets and can offer DOIs to facilitate citation. Please see https://library.rice.edu/research-data-services.
B. Information Technology
Rice University maintains a rich amalgam of information technology services and support. General information most useful to faculty can be found on the OIT web page, "Getting Started: Faculty and Staff."
The Information Security Office (ISO) manages the information security program at Rice, and can advise faculty on the appropriate protection of their data and other assets.
Several Rice policies impact the information-technology landscape. Policy 832: Appropriate Use of Information Technology prohibits violations of copyright, trademark, and other laws, including unauthorized copies of licensed software. Policy 808: Protection of University Data and Information and Policy 841: Identity Theft Prevention Program establish Rice's security posture for the protection of confidential and sensitive information.
Each division within the university has a team of professional computing support staff to help with technology questions and problems. A central Help Desk (x4357 or firstname.lastname@example.org) dispatches these to the appropriate divisional representative. For general questions, faculty can access the Help Desk or use the self-service Knowledge Base. For immediate technological classroom support, faculty also have access to a dedicated help line. More information can be found at https://oit.rice.edu/get-help.
Classroom and Learning Support
The Office of Information Technology's Learning Environments team focuses on faculty teaching and classroom-specific support needs. Experienced professionals support teaching and learning, both in the classroom and online, as well as the student record systems at Rice. In addition to immediate and ongoing classroom technological assistance, this team also supports Canvas, Rice's course-management system, and places a priority on accessibility for campus resources.
The Center for Research Computing (CRC) partners with the Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology to provide access to research computing resources, including high performance computing (HPC), storage, virtual machines, and other computational resources, both on campus and beyond. The CRC manages shared research computing cyberinfrastructure as a service center, which is available for any research project at Rice. CRC manages NOTS, a large-scale high-performance computer cluster, the research VM infrastructure (ORION; Open Research Infrasturcture Open Nebula), the Research Data Facility (RDF, a scalable storage infrastructure), and assists with managing the Chevron Visualization laboratory. The CRC maintains dedicated staff for facilitating all Rice researchers' access to these on-campus resources, as well as off-campus commercial and non-profit resources such as XSEDE, Jetstream, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure. Addtionally, in partnership with the Ken Kennedy Instituture, the CRC works with faculty on needs assessment, funding development, and infrastructure expansion. Faculty members who would like to access this service are encouraged to contact the Center for Research Computing to explore how to best leverage Rice's research infrastructure, including how to invest in the operating condominium computing business model.
Operations and Infrastructure
The Operations and Infrastucture team provides both wired and wireless access connections to regional and national high-speed networks. Additionally, this team maintains a comprehensive set of basic services such as e-mail, telecommunications, the OIT Help Desk, and the data center. More details for all services can be found on OIT's website.
More about the Office of Information Technology:
- Main site: https://oit.rice.edu
- Help Desk: http://helpdesk.rice.edu
- Teaching and Learning: https://oit.rice.edu/teaching-learning
- Research: https://oit.rice.edu/research-computing
- Administrative Systems: https://oit.rice.edu/administrative-systems
- Services: https://oit.rice.edu/services
- Knowledge Base: https://kb.rice.edu
- IT at Rice: http://vpit.rice.edu
- IT Policies: https://vpit.rice.edu/policies
C. Continuing Studies
The Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies, with approximately 20,000 annual enrollments, provides educational opportunities in personal and professional development, online and hybrid courses, and certificate programs with offerings from the Center for College Readiness, the Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership, School Literacy and Culture, the Foreign Language program, and the English as a Second Language program. The school is also home to two master’s programs: the Master of Liberal Studies and the Master of Arts in Teaching. The Glasscock School is housed in the D. Kent and Linda C. Anderson and Robert L. and Jean T. Clarke Center, which opened in spring 2014, allowing the school to increase its scope and continue to expand its service to Houston and beyond.
Although no member of the Rice faculty is required to teach in any of these courses, many find it rewarding to do so -- to share their knowledge with educated members of the Houston community and beyond and to gain additional income. The honorarium varies from course to course, but it is always in addition to regular Rice compensation and always includes fringe benefits. Members of the faculty may enroll in selected continuing studies courses at reduced tuition (up to 50 percent off).
Rice University seeks to foster an environment where people are treated with respect and trust. Employment of family members may be problematic because such situations can create a conflict of interest, an appearance of favoritism, and an increased potential for a hostile work environment. Because of these concerns, the university is sensitive to circumstances in which relatives of employees might be hired, transferred, or promoted to positions where one relative might have influence over any of the following: a relative's employment, performance review, salary administration, promotion, or other employment-related decisions.
If a relationship develops during the course of employment that would violate this policy, the university will work with the individuals involved to resolve the situation. In all cases, the needs of the university determine the resolution. For more details, see Policy 419-96 "Nepotism."
E. Drug-Free University
The Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 requires that employers take appropriate measures to combat illegal drugs in the workplace as a condition for receiving federal funds. To comply with the act, the university has in place and administers in good faith a policy prohibiting the unlawful manufacture, possession, use, or distribution of illegal drugs and alcohol on the property of the university, or as part of any university activities, except in the course of authorized teaching and research. Confidential counseling, treatment, and rehabilitation programs are available to faculty members, who may contact the Rice University Employee Assistance Program LifeWorks) or the Rice University Health Education Office. For more details, see Policy 323-96 "Drug-Free University."
F. Disability Accommodations
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 require that Rice provide accommodations for individuals whose disabilities impact them in their pursuits at the university. Rice, accordingly, provides reasonable accommodations such as adaptive technology and equipment, including assistive listening units and Braille embossers, audio texts for the blind, and other accommodations and assistance based on documented needs. Access to buildings at Rice University is, in general, excellent; specialized modifications are made in offices and classrooms as needed. Faculty members who have disabilities or who have students in their classes with disabilities should work with the chairs of their departments, the provost, and the director of the Disability Resource Center to take full advantage of the facilities and services that are available for people with disabilities. Faculty are advised to include ADA statements on their syllabi and to direct students with disabilities to the Disability Resource Center (https://drc.rice.edu); that office provides examples of ADA statements on their "Faculty and Staff" link, under the heading "Instructors" (https://drc.rice.edu/staff-faculty). Faculty should expect to receive an Accommodation Letter from the Disability Resource Center indicating the accommodations that a student with a disability will need.
G. Campus Security and Workplace Safety
Rice attempts to do all that is reasonable to provide a safe and healthful environment for work and study. To protect individuals and property and to regulate parking and the flow of traffic through the campus, Rice currently maintains a police department of 26 licensed officers supported by 15 guards, attendants, dispatchers, and clerks. The uniformed officers, who have been specially screened for service at Rice by committees that include faculty and students, enforce all applicable federal, state, and local laws, as well as university regulations. Members of the faculty should cooperate fully with the Rice police and report crimes, suspicions of crimes, and other incidents which could constitute an emergency by using the blue-light emergency telephones or by dialing 713-348-6000 (6000 from any campus phone).
Rice's Environmental Health and Safety Department provides support to the Rice community in the areas of chemical, biological, and radiation safety, fire safety, office and general safety. The department also works with local, state and federal agencies to ensure compliance with government codes and policies. Rice University's general safety policy is explained in Policy 805 "Environmental Health and Occupational Safety Program."
All faculty members have a role to play in ensuring safety at the workplace. Those responsible for laboratories have additional responsibilities, as outlined in Policy 313 "Laboratory Safety Policy", but also by government laws and regulations. "Laboratory" in this sense is a well-defined space where research or scholarly activities take place using materials or equipment that can pose a safety hazard (e.g. hazardous chemicals; lasers; compressed gases; liquid cryogens; high powered electronic or mechanical tools). In other words, laboratories might well be found in spaces across the disciplines. The principal investigator (PI) plays the primary role in ensuring that proper training and supervision takes place in the laboratory; department chairs, deans, and other faculty members also have important roles to play in this process. Failure to maintain a safe working environment can result in sanctions against the PI, and more importantly, it can result in severe endangerment to members of the campus community.
More information may be found at these links:
Policy 301 "Policy for the Submission and Administration of Sponsored Projects"
Policy 314 "Care and Humane Treatment of Animals Used in Research, Testing, and Education"
Policy 326 "Human Research Protection Policy"
Policy 811 "University Programs or Activities Including Minors"