Professor Rice received a BLA degree from the University of Oregon in 1973. After practicing professionally in California he attended the Harvard Graduate School of Design where he received a Master of Landscape Architecture with Distinction in 1978. At graduation he also received the Charles Elliot Traveling Fellowship. In addition, Professor Rice was awarded an International Research and Exchange Board Fellowship, which combined with the Elliot Fellowship, made it possible for him to go to Russia, at that time the Soviet Union, for six months as a visiting lecturer and researcher at the Moscow Engineering and Building Institute.
Professor Rice taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Tufts University, the University of Washington, and the School of Design at North Carolina State University. Professor Rice came to the NC State School of Design in 1990 as Head of the Department of Landscape Architecture and served in that capacity for ten years. He has also been involved in teaching advanced graduate design studios and has been asked to speak nationally and internationally on his research related to landscape architecture education and affective teaching/communication methods.
In 1992, as President of the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA), Professor Rice worked to improve international communication among educators in landscape architecture. He helped to initiate formal interaction between CELA and the European Council of Landscape Architecture Schools (ECLAS).
Professor Rice has traveled extensively and has lectured and taught design studios in Russia, Venezuela, Spain, Peru, China and the Czech Republic. In the fall of 1999 he was invited to Lima, Peru as a speaker and panel moderator for an historic conference. Professor Rice worked with other invited international guests and the organizing committee to formulate guidelines for the profession and lay the groundwork for professional education in the country. In 2002 he initiated an effort to establish a branch of the College of Design in the Czech Republic and in 2004 chaired a task force that developed the Prague Institute Feasibility Study. In January of 2005 Professor Rice arrived in Prague to finalize the setting up of facilities and taught the first part of that spring semester in Prague. In fall 2005 the College of Design Prague Institute grew to become the NC State University Prague Institute, an initiative of the College of Design. He has recently been elected chair of the NC State University Council on International Programs
His research for the past ten years has concentrated on improving design education. He is the author and co-author of a number of articles related to research on the impact of visualization media on design and the understanding of space and the role of metacognition on the development creativity abilities. Currently the College of Design is in the process of publishing a book on design thinking and design education and Professor Rice is a major contributor to this upcoming publication.