Department Values

Ethics

The Department of Bioengineering is committed to advancing the frontiers of our field, and performing our research and educational mission, in accordance with the highest standards of ethical conduct. This is particularly evident in the training of our students. All bioengineering graduate students are required to take a core course in the Responsible Conduct of Research during their first year. This is a face-to-face course that involves lectures as well as online assessment through the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI). Topics covered throughout this required work included ethical issues regarding the use of human and animal subjects and tissues, record-keeping, publications, authorship, conflicts of interest, and proper conduct within the scientific and research community.

In addition to this training as part of our graduate curriculum, graduate students’ mentors hold regular lab meetings that include training in the proper conduct of research and discussion when ethical issues occur within the lab. The mentors also meet with graduate students one-on-one or in small groups on a regular basis to discuss the details of their research work. These discussions include proper experimental techniques, record-keeping, and mentoring regarding interactions with collaborators, fellow graduate students, other professors, and undergraduates. This has included guidance on how best to mentor undergraduate research assistants including training them in these techniques to make sure that the highest standard of research conduct is maintained throughout the lab.


Diversity & Inclusion

The following is the department statement on diversity and inclusion. It was distributed by Jane Grande-Allen, Ph.D. on July 16, 2019 via email to the Rice Bioengineering community.

Dear Rice Bioengineering Community,

When the university announced the Rice Investment, we took “talent deserves opportunity” as a call to action. We reflected on how we, as a department, have been creating and sustaining an environment of diverse scholars. While we have always shared in the commitment to diversity and inclusiveness resolved by Rice University trustees, faculty governance and administration, we realized that we could further align our departmental policies to underscore this commitment even more.

The field of bioengineering is—at its very core—interdisciplinary, collaborative and translational. As we collectively strive to find solutions to critical challenges in the field, it is only to our benefit as scientists to draw from and celebrate the diverse experiences, discoveries and innovations of our community. So, we have been taking several important steps to not only further support, but also to grow, this diverse environment. We will initially focus on racial and ethnic representation, but we recognize that truly diverse environments encompass a broader scope of identities that we plan to discuss and consider.

We are continuing to expand our graduate recruiting activities to engage with underrepresented minority students who are interested in graduate school, including pipeline partnerships, and we are considering graduate applications from a holistic perspective. Additionally, we are participating in university-facilitated faculty search committee training to increase our potential to hire new faculty members from a broad pool of qualified, diverse applicants.

In keeping with our plans, we will add the following initiatives to our ongoing efforts this academic year:

  1. Establishing a faculty-student committee on diversity and inclusion.
  2. Formalizing a range of academic and social activities and departmental support structures to promote inclusion.

The message concluded with an invitation for students, faculty and staff to apply to be a member of the department’s inaugural diversity and inclusion committee.

Diversity & Inclusion Committee

The Rice Bioengineering Diversity & Inclusion Committee meets monthly during the academic year. The advisory board convenes once a semester.