Mission, Values, and History

Our Mission

Established in 2012, the Center for Teaching Excellence at Rice University seeks to transform teaching through mentoring, innovative practices, collaboration, scholarship, and advocacy. The CTE actively engages faculty, staff, students, and community partners, and brings them into conversation to achieve excellence in teaching and learning. We seek to enhance and promote the strong teaching culture at Rice, which is a core value of our institution.

Our Values

Love of Learning

We support all university efforts to provide a transformative education and foster a deep love of learning for all Rice students.


We prioritize inclusive pedagogy and educational equity in our programming, our work with faculty, and our engagement with students.


We connect the most current research to the practice of teaching and support a community of scholars engaged in research on teaching and learning.


We advocate that the university, schools, departments, and individuals invest in efforts to promote, inspire, and achieve teaching excellence.


We cultivate opportunities for instructors to innovate their teaching, share experiences, and celebrate their work.


We support and foster meaningful relationships to build community in the classroom, across the campus, and beyond the hedges.

Our History

The CTE has its roots in the priorities for Rice University outlined in President David Leebron’s “Vision for the Second Century” (V2C), where he emphasized the centrality of outstanding teaching to our mission as an institution of higher learning.

The idea for establishing a CTE then gained some traction in January of 2012 at a campus-wide discussion on teaching that was held in conjunction with Rice 2032, a series of conversations focused on different aspects of the V2C. Following this event, John Hutchinson, the Dean of Undergraduates and an award-winning teacher of Chemistry, convened Rice’s winners of the Piper Professorship to discuss what a CTE at Rice might look like. Building off of these discussions, Hutchinson garnered support from across the campus and, with a group of Faculty Fellows who had a demonstrated history of exceptional teaching, officially launched the CTE in the fall of 2012.