Members of the Rice humanities faculty have been named the Carnegie National Professor of the Year and the Carnegie Texas Professor of the Year. In addition, faculty in the school have been recognized by the Guggenheim Foundation, the Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
In 1981 33% of Rice students studied foreign languages. In 1986 this increased to 40%. In the northern hemisphere fall of 1986 Rice added the Chinese language to its curriculum. According to Allen Matusow, the dean of humanities, 39 students enrolled in the Chinese classes.