Flashback Friday: The Program that Started it All

As part of our Flashback Friday series we wanted to offer a closer look at each of our program areas as seen through the eyes of the program directors who now manage them.

Professional Development is the program that started it all. When the Office of Continuing Studies was established in 1967, the sole intent was to address the issue of professional obsolescence. The first course out of the gate was Hydrocarbon Processing at Low Temperatures.

Carroll SchererSince then the offerings for Professional Development have expanded greatly and cover many different areas from basic career development and communication skills to financial services, human resources, paralegal education and even sustainability and facility management to the latest addition of the Rice E-Learning Design and Development Institute. Carroll Scherer, director of professional programs, now heads up this dynamic department and gave us further insight into her time here.

How long have you been at GSCS, and what drew you to the school to begin with?

I’ve been here eight years and was drawn by the opportunity to direct professional development programs to help Houston business professionals grow their careers. And, of course, the opportunity to work at this great institution was also a draw.

How has your program area changed over time?

Professional Development has grown over the past eight years. We now offer almost double the number of professional certification programs we offered when I began working here, not to mention the addition of many communications and career development courses.

What is your fondest memory working here thus far?

I have many fond memories of hearing from students who passed their certification examination, received a promotion or got a new job because of their coursework at Rice. My most exciting memory is the day we heard that the fundraising was complete for our new building.

What do you enjoy the most about GSCS?

I am fortunate to be associated with a very talented group of staff members and instructors who treat each other with respect and kindness and are focused on the common goal of providing quality education to our constituents.

Bonus: Here are some photos from the 1980s and 1990s of students in the program. Take a look at those computers!


Computer course, Spring 1984

Computer course, Spring 1984

Computer course, Spring 1984





Jennifer Egenolf


Jennifer Egenolf, Marketing Director

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