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Faculty and Administrators

Our world-class faculty members are recognized educational leaders with a passion for excellence.

Courses are taught by distinguished Rice faculty and invited visiting faculty who maintain the high academic standards of Rice University. Our faculty body is composed of subject matter experts in a broad set of academic areas, ranging from biochemistry, British history, and international relations to criminology, Antarctic geology and musicology. No matter their area of expertise, each faculty member believes in life-long learning and is eager to support students' success in all stages of their education.

The Master of Liberal Studies program is administered by the Rice University Glasscock School of Continuing Studies.

Rebecca Sharp


Kim Raptis
Assistant Director


Nancy Gisbrecht Bailey, Ph.D, is a lecturer in vocal studies for the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. She also teaches at the Houston Women's Institute and for the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies at Rice. Dr. Bailey does pre-performance lectures for the Houston Symphony Orchestra and Houston Grand Opera, has done radio work for Col canto (a vocal performance group in Houston) and the Houston Ballet, and has lectured for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. She has been with Col canto since its inception and, in addition to speaking at most of their concerts, is program consultant and vice president of the board of directors. She is currently writing Song, Lieder, Mélodies, Canzone: A Discussion of the Literature for Voice and Piano. Dr. Bailey holds an undergraduate degree in music from the University of Redlands in California and an MA and a PhD in musicology from the University of Southern California.

Lisa Balabanlilar, Ph.D., is an associate professor of history at Rice University. She teaches courses on South Asian History, Asian Civilizations, Cultural Trends in Medieval Islam, Comparative Early Modern Islamic Empires, Raj and Resistance and the Mughal Empire, among other topics. In 2016, Dr. Balabanlilar was awarded Rice’s top teaching honor, the George R. Brown Prize for Excellence in Teaching. She also received the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching in 2014 and the Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prize in 2010. Dr. Balabanlilar’s research explores the Timurid-Mughal Empire of Central and South Asia and encompasses Islamic South Asia, comparative imperial court culture and early modern Islamic empires. She received her doctorate from the Ohio State University in 2007.

Deborah J. Barrett, Ph.D, is professor of the practice of writing and communication at Rice University, where she teaches graduate courses in academic writing and research and creative writing, and undergraduate courses in leadership communication, negotiations and consulting. She has published articles on literature, communication and leadership topics and serves on the editorial board of several scholarly journals. Her book Leadership Communication, in its fourth edition, is one of the top selling texts in professional communication programs. She has participated in the Iowa Summer Writing Festival since 2007 and has been admitted to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference four times, three for her creative nonfiction and most recently for her fiction. She is currently writing and publishing creative nonfiction essays under the name Deborah Burch-Lavis and has started a novel. Her recently published personal essay “The Last Christmas” is included in the anthology Shifts (MuseWrite Press), which is a 2015 USA Best Book Awards Finalist. Dr. Barrett holds a BA in English and speech and an MA in English from the University of Houston and a PhD in English from Rice.

Newell D. Boyd, Ph.D, is a semi-retired professor of history whose primary teaching field is Victorian Britain and the British Empire. He has presented papers at academic meetings and been published regularly in a variety of books and scholarly journals in the field of British history. He has recently published historical novels on the lives of John Ruskin and Joseph Chamberlain. He holds a PhD in history from Texas Tech University and has done post-doctoral research at the University of London, Birmingham University, the London School of Economics, Oxford University and the University of Edinburgh. Dr. Boyd has been a fellow at the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London and is a member of England's Society of Authors and the Royal Historical Society.

Joseph Campana, Ph.D, is a poet, critic and scholar of Renaissance literature, with essays on Spenser, Shakespeare, Nashe, Defoe, Middleton, poetry and poetics, and the history of sexuality in PMLA, Modern Philology, Shakespeare, Prose Studies and elsewhere. He is the author of "The Pain of Reformation: Spenser, Vulnerability, and the Ethics of Masculinity," (Fordham UP, 2012), and two collections of poetry, "The Book of Faces" (Graywolf, 2005) and "Natural Selections" (2012), which received the Iowa Poetry Prize. His poems appear in Slate, Kenyon Review, Poetry, Conjunctions, Colorado Review and many other venues. He has received the Isabel MacCaffrey Essay Prize, the MLA’s Crompton-Noll Award for LGB studies, and grants from the NEA, the HAA and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Current projects include a study of children and sovereignty in the works of Shakespeare entitled "The Child’s Two Bodies," an edited collection (with Scott Maisano) entitled "Renaissance Posthumanism" (forthcoming, Fordham UP) and a collection of poems entitled "The Book of Life." He is the Alan Dugald McKillop Chair and associate professor of English at Rice University. Dr. Campana holds a PhD in English from Cornell University.

G. Daniel Cohen, Ph.D, is an associate professor of Modern European History at Rice University. His research focuses on forced displacement, human rights, and international law in the twentieth century. His recent book, "In War's Wake: Europe's Displaced Persons in the Postwar Order" (Oxford University Press, 2011), explores the history of European political refugees after World War II and the rise of international human rights. Dr. Cohen holds a PhD in History from New York University

Terrence Doody, Ph.D., is the author of “Confession and Community in the Novel and Among Other Things: A Description of the Novel.” He has received NEH and Mellon grants as well as several prestigious teaching awards at Rice. He teaches courses in the modernist period, the novel and narrative theory, and contemporary literature, and he is working on a book on the literature of the city. Dr. Doody holds a Ph.D. from Cornell University.

Matthias Henze, Ph.D, is the Watt J. and Lilly G. Jackson Professor in Biblical Studies and Founding Director of the Program in Jewish Studies at Rice University, where he has taught since 1997. His areas of interest are broad and include the Hebrew Bible, Judaism of the Second Temple period, apocalyptic literature, Syriac language and literature, and the Qumran fragments. In particular, he is interested in those early texts that never became part of the Jewish Bible - the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha - and what we can learn when these texts are read side by side with the canonical writings. Dr. Henze has written and edited nine books and currently he is at work on a critical commentary on Second Baruch. Dr. Henze is the 2009 and 2010 recipient of the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching and the 2003 Rice University Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prize. He holds a Ph.D. from Harvard’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.

J. Dennis Huston, Ph.D, is professor of English at Rice University where he has taught since 1969. He has won a number of George R. Brown teaching awards, the Nicholas Salgo Teaching Prize and received the 1990 Professor of the Year award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation. In 1990, Houston Metropolitan magazine named him one of the Ninety Best Things About Houston. Over the past ten years at Rice he has taught humanities, drama, public speaking and Shakespeare on film, and he is the author of the book "Shakespeare’s Comedies of Play." Dr. Huston holds a PhD from Yale University.

Lawrence Jablecki, Ph.D, is a part-time lecturer in sociology at Rice University, where he teaches courses on criminology, the criminal justice system and the theory and practice of punishment. He also serves as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, where he teaches humanities courses to prison inmates. Dr. Jablecki has written numerous articles in the fields of criminology and philosophy that have been published in professional journals plus articles for most of the major newspapers in Texas. Several of his articles have been reprinted in criminal justice textbooks. Dr. Jablecki was also director of the Brazoria County adult probation department for 18 years. He holds a PhD in philosophy from Manchester University in Manchester, England.

Alma Moon Novotny, Ph.D, has lectured in the department of biochemistry and cell biology at Rice University for the last seven years, where she has taught immunobiology, developmental biology, genetics and an interdisciplinary course with the anthropology department. She also serves as an associate at Will Rice College and as the faculty advisor for the Students for Organ Donation Awareness. Prior to coming to Rice, she taught a variety of plant, animal and philosophy of science courses in other Houston-area universities. Dr. Novotny holds a PhD in biological sciences from Purdue University.

Scott Solomon, Ph.D., is a biologist and science writer based in Houston, TX. He received his doctorate in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior from the University of Texas at Austin where his research examined the evolutionary basis of biological diversity in the Amazon Basin. He has worked as a visiting researcher with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC and the Universidade Estadual Paulista in Rio Claro, Brazil. Scott currently teaches ecology, evolutionary biology, and scientific communication as a Professor in the Practice at Rice University. He also speaks and writes about science for the general public. Scott’s writing and photography have appeared in publications such as Slate, Nautilus, Aeon, and and his first book, Future Humans: Inside the Science of Our Continuing Evolution was published by Yale University Press in October, 2016.