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The University of Puerto Rico created the Resource Center for Science and Engineering (RCSE) in 1980 to foster and nurture a community of future scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and technologists to provide Puerto Rico with the human resources infrastructure and research base needed for the island's economic development and global competitiveness. Founded with joint support from the National Science Foundation, the RCSE has been extremely successful in pursuing its goals and has experienced a sound and steadfast growth in the scope of its programs during these 32 years. Since its inception, the RCSE leadership realized that the achievement of its organizational mission would require monumental changes leading to the transformation of the educational system, which could not be adequately addressed through piecemeal interventions in isolated components of the system. This analysis leads the RCSE to adopt a system's thinking perspective as a framework for its strategic planning and organizational development process. This systems perspective is what has set the RCSE apart from other educational institutions, and has been a salient characteristic in the success achieved.

In designing an organizational strategy to achieve its mission, the RCSE has developed four fundamental practices that enable it to function as a highly entrepreneurial entity, these are:

  • creation of strategic alliances among diverse organizations that share goals related to science, mathematics, engineering, and technology (STEM) educational enterprise;
  • adoption of a virtual organization structure that serves as a catalyst of systemic change;
  • development of a systems thinking perspective to approach educational reform, envisioning the educational system as a seamless continuum, from kindergarten through post-graduate programs;
  • engagement in a constant search for windows of opportunities to enhance its operation (programs/projects) to improve STEM education in Puerto Rico.

 

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