We’re delighted to introduce Cathy Maris as the Glasscock School’s new director of community programs. Ms. Maris joins us after having created and run a community children’s museum in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where she served as executive director and director of education and grants from 2006-2014. We are looking forward to having her as a part of the Glasscock School family just in time for a full fall schedule of courses. Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Cathy Maris.
Can you share a little of your background?
My career has been dedicated to fostering creative, engaging learning experiences that help diverse people and communities thrive. I have a deep dedication to interdisciplinary, whole life learning and to ensuring that a community’s educational and creative assets are shared as widely as possible.
Over the past 20 years, I have worked in a range of fields including museum learning and leadership, art education, early learning, maternal and child health, and psychology. I’ve had the privilege of working with people across the lifespan from young infants to adults in their 100s. I’ve held positions in both community and academic organizations, including the University of California-Berkeley and the University of North Carolina. I’ve also developed, implemented, and evaluated educational programs in arts organizations, schools, medical facilities and other settings.
At the community children’s museum, I led the opening of our first facility, developed the museum’s educational vision, created a wide range of educational initiatives, organized collaborations with dozens of academic and community partners, and co-directed master planning of an expansion museum. Working with a diverse coalition to create, sustain and grow this educational institution was one of the most rewarding, creative experiences of my life.
What drew you to the Glasscock School?
After moving to Houston for my husband’s faculty position with the Texas A&M Institute of Biosciences and Technology, I became aware of the Glasscock School and its outstanding reputation. What attracted me most was the opportunity to sit at the intersection of Rice University and Houston and to facilitate the sharing of resources and expertise between the university and the city. Glasscock’s talented team was also a huge draw.
What are you most looking forward to in your new position as director of community programs?
I’m very excited to collaborate with Rice’s world-class faculty to develop courses for the community. I’m looking forward to extending Rice’s impact by sharing this expertise as broadly as possible. This role also offers a tremendous opportunity to nurture and grow partnerships with community organizations—museums, other arts organizations, the Texas Medical Center, and a wide array of educational and cultural partners.
I’m particularly looking forward to developing programs that take advantage of the Glasscock School’s state-of-the-art Anderson-Clarke Center. There are opportunities to increase our offerings, especially in the daytime, to reach new audiences, to experiment with new course content and formats, and to serve as an embodiment of the vibrant, creative nature of Houston and Rice University.
As you have transitioned to Houston, is there anything you have really enjoyed or found interesting?
Houston is the most welcoming big city I’ve been to. People seem so glad to have you here. I love its diversity and internationalism. I’ve been very impressed with Houston’s educational and cultural institutions, including Rice University, the city’s 20+ museums, its arts organizations and much more. There’s also a sort of bubbling, grassroots creativity that’s reflected in its artists, makers, entrepreneurs, scientists, academics and others. Houston feels like a city ripe with possibility.