The University of Puerto Rico (UPR) was created by the Legislative Assembly on March 12, 1903. In 1908, the Morrill-Nelson Act was declared applicable to the island and lead to the rapid growth of the University of Puerto Rico. As a result, the College of Liberal Arts at Rio Piedras Campus was established in 1910 and the College of Agriculture at Mayaguez was established in 1911 as a land-grant university.
The College of Agriculture later transformed into the College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts (CAAM, for its Spanish acronym). It is in the CAAM where the Mayaguez Campus as we know it today had its origin. Years later in 1942 and as a result of the University Reform, it was organized into the Colleges of Science, Engineering, and Agriculture. The initiation of graduate programs in Mayaguez was prompted by the establishment in 1957 of the Puerto Rico Nuclear Center by the Atomic Energy Commission on grounds adjacent to the Campus. The Nuclear Center provided an adequate climate for research, thus promoting the fluorishment of programs in the fields of nuclear science and technology, radiological physics, and mathematics. This became the seed to many new programs. In 1966, the College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts became the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus (UPRM), as it is called today.
Currently, the UPR System consists of eleven units, of which UPR-Río Piedras, UPR-Mayaguez and UPR-Medical Sciences are the leading graduate campuses. Today, UPRM continues its development in the best tradition of a Land Grant institution, and has developed further into a Space Grant, and Sea Grant Institution. It is a co-educational, bilingual, and non-sectarian school comprising the Colleges of Agricultural Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, and Engineering. The UPRM is fully accredited by the Council of Higher Education of Puerto Rico. It holds membership in the Middle States Commission on Higher Education since 1946. Our academic programs are accredited by professional entities such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), the American Chemical Society, and the National League of Nursing. Other accreditation efforts are in progress.
The Board of Trustees is the governing body of the University of Puerto Rico. Its membership consists of ten private citizens who represent the public interest in higher education, two faculty members, and a student representative. The President of the University is the chief executive officer of the University system and is appointed by the Board of Trustees. He acts as an ex-officio member of all the UPR faculties, academic senates, and administrative boards. The University Board is constituted by the President of the University, eleven chancellors representing each autonomous institutional unit, a financial director, three additional members appointed by the President with the approval of the Board of Trustees, one faculty representative from each Academic Senate, and one student representative from each unit. The Board is responsible for the preparation of the general bylaws of the University, the general bylaws of the student body, and the university?s strategic plan with recommendations from the Academic Senates.
The Chancellor of the Mayaguez Campus is the chief executive officer (academic and administrative) of the UPRM institutional unit. The Administrative Board of the Mayaguez Campus consists of the Chancellor as presiding officer, the deans, two academic senators elected among those faculty members of the Senate who are not ex-officio senators, and an elected student representative. The Board acts as an advisory body to the Chancellor, prepares the development plan of the Campus, and approves the proposed budget prepared by the Chancellor, grants tenure, promotions, and leaves of absence.
Within the philosophical framework established by the University of Puerto Rico Act, the UPRM directs its efforts towards the development of educated, cultured citizens, capable of critical thinking, and professionally qualified in the fields of agricultural, social and natural sciences, engineering, humanities and business administration. They should be able to contribute in an efficient manner to the cultural, social, and economic development of the Puerto Rican and international communities. This process is aimed at endowing our alumni with a strong technical and professional background and instills a strong commitment to Puerto Rico and our hemisphere. Our alumni should have the necessary skills and knowledge to participate effectively in the search of solutions to the problems facing us, to promote the enrichment of the arts and culture, the development and transfer of technology as well to uphold the essential attitudes and values of a democratic society.
Up to the 1990's, UPRM was considered mainly as a teaching institution with a limited number of faculty participating in externally funded research projects. In the last twenty years, this campus has been evolving into a research oriented institution through the creation of new graduate programs. As a consequence, it is expected that every faculty member participates in both, research and teaching activities. This has lead to the recruitment of additional faculty with doctoral degrees that are required to participate on research activities. As a result, new graduate programs and research centers are emerging, and special attention is being given to the development of better research infrastructure, and the recruitment of promising faculty and talented students.
At present, UPRM has over 700 professors and researchers and its campus population is composed of 12,860 students, of which 11, 778 are undergraduate students and 1,082 are graduate students (~70% locals). UPRM currently holds a Carnegie classification of Master's/Large since it offers 32 Masters Programs (11 in Arts & Sciences, 7 in Engineering, 9 in Agricultural Sciences, and 5 in Business Administration) with 902 students enrolled, and five PhD programs in Marine Sciences, Civil Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, with 180 doctoral students.
UPRM has played a critical role in the training of future Hispanic scientists and engineers in Puerto Rico and the United States. In terms of the undergraduate student enrollment in engineering, it is among the largest engineering institutions in the United States, ranking 11th, it is the second in the number of female graduates in engineering in the US, 1st in graduating BS in chemical engineering and ranked 11th in number of masters in chemistry in 2007. UPRM offers the only graduate program in marine sciences and is the only institution offering agriculture and geology undergraduate and master?s degrees in Puerto Rico.