Although the different innovations in place at the ResourceCenterfor Science and Engineering have a distinct focus and structure, they all must be interconnected as a single strategy. This interconnection is achieved by the development of a comprehensive, coherent and clear vision of the institutional mission conveyed by the RCSE’s leadership, and through the organizational structure set-up and project management coordination, enabled by the nature of the RCSE as a virtual organization structure. The strategic planning process with a systemic thinking approach ensures that new initiatives meet the common goals of the organization and not the exclusive or individual needs of participants. New initiatives build on current successful ones and the RCSE as the orchestrator of this complex portfolio is responsible for harnessing them into a coherent systemic reform strategy. Windows of opportunities (new sources of funds) are constantly examined, and only those that fit into the RCSE systemic reform strategies are brought into the strategic planning process.
The PR-SSI, the K-12 science and mathematics reform initiative, for example, looked at student academic achievement to “take the temperature” of its overall K-12 reform strategy while focusing on the most important element of the system: the students. The PR-SSI looked at student academic achievement from three different yet complementary perspectives: the classroom level, the reform program, and the system. The teacher, who learned about alternative assessment strategies during professional development sessions designed for this purpose, looked at student performance in the classroom and used this information to refocus the content and strategies of daily lessons to strengthen student learning. The program looked at student academic achievement trends across schools and across cohorts of participating schools. The system used data provided by entities such as the College Board to look at the impact of the reform on the overall system.
√ The RCSE currently manages a diverse portfolio of 55 projects, that cover the entire educational system, from K to 16+.
√ External funding sources have increased from one (the National Science Foundation) in 1980, to 22 in the year 2000-01, including federal, state, and private entities.
√ The RCSE has experienced a seven-fold increase in funds since 1989, from $4M to $28M in the year 2000-01.
√ The RCSE research component, EPSCoR, has increased five-fold its NSF funds for research, while other EPSCoR states have increased only by a factor of 1.8.
√ Increase in the number of research publications from 154 in 1985 to 313 in 1999.
√ Creation of research centers and instrumentation facilities to serve as centralized resources, points of expertise, and technology transfer units.
√ As a result of EPSCoR and other human resource development initiatives, the number of doctoral degrees in science, mathematics, and engineering granted to Puerto Ricans has doubled in five years and continues to increase.