From what I can tell it was offered by the Department of Philosophy, Psychology, and Education. (How’s that for frugal administration?) It was taught by John Alan Robinson, a British born philosopher, mathematician, and computer scientist:
This class was an almost explosive success. It’s enrollment that fall was 37, with another 15 auditors, many of them faculty members.
Robinson earned a classics degree from Corpus Christi College at Cambridge University 1952, a master’s in philosophy from the University of Oregon in 1953, and finally a doctorate in philosophy from Princeton in 1956. He then spent several years working at DuPont, where he began work on applied mathematics and computer applications. By 1960 he decided to return to academic life and went to the University of Pittsburgh for a year as a Mellon Research Fellow. Here’s how he described his work there: “I used this year to write a paper on Hume’s theory of causation . . . and to begin my still current investigations into the proving of mathematical theorems by means of computing-machine methods.” When he arrived at Rice as an assistant professor of philosophy in 1961 this was the work he would focus on and it would result in the 1965 publication of his pathbreaking paper A Machine-Oriented Logic Based on the Resolution Principle.
By all accounts Robinson wasn’t only an academic star he was also a cheerful and helpful colleague and a really fine teacher of logic (sadly, not all that common of a skill). But almost from the moment he got here he was heavily recruited by other universities. For a few years President Pitzer managed to fend off the employment offers by means of rapid promotion, salary increases, and title changes, first to Professor of Philosophy and Computer Science and then just to Professor of Computer Science. There was, of course, no Department of Computer Science in 1966 but notes in Pitzer’s files strongly suggest that if Rice had managed to retain Robinson a Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science would have been begun more or less immediately. Alas, in 1967 Robinson finally received an offer he couldn’t turn down. He spent the rest of his highly productive career at Syracuse, while the formalization of a computer science program at Rice had a good long wait in front of it.
The picture of him above with the rest of the Philosophy, Psychology, and Education Department is the only image of him we have. Or at least I thought so until this afternoon when I found this picture attached to his transcript from Princeton: