AFTER 17 years in the business, Sunway College would not be faulted for wanting to rest on its laurels. Instead it continues to grow by leaps and bounds.
College principal Elizabeth Lee believes it is thanks to founder and chairman Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah's vision that the college has grown from its beginnings with 200 students and staff in a building in Petaling Jaya Old Town to its current state-of-the-art campus in Bandar Sunway.
Located on a 9ha-site, the college, staffed by a team of professionals, offers an academic block housing classrooms, lecture theatres, first-class science and computer laboratories, and a language laboratory.
The ground-breaking ceremony was held on March 9, 1991 and in December 1992, the college moved to its new campus, complete with a comprehensive range of modern academic and residential facilities.
By January 1993, all academic sessions were conducted in the new campus. A proud moment in the college's history was its official opening by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad on April 29, 1993.
Says Lee: ''Sunway College has built a reputation for producing excellent, well-rounded individuals excelling in studies as well as in extra-curricular activities. 'This reputation is an extension of the college’s commitment to educational excellence, and the establishment of the Sunway College Trust Fund in 1997.”
The college has awarded over RM10mil in scholarships, helping more than 1,000 students pursue higher education. Profits are ploughed back into the college for research and to upgrade facilities.
Its excellent facilities include the Tun Hussein Onn library, which has a collection of some 73,000 books, periodicals, audio visual and serial items.
There are books, tapes, CD-ROMs and about 7,000 microfiches on buildings and architecture. In addition, the library subscribes to about 150 periodicals.
Special collections include 2,000 annual company reports; 2,000 book and periodicals on all subjects related to Malaysia; 1,500 publications on Buddhist and Chinese history; 1,500 encyclopaedias, language and subject dictionaries and other general references; 500 titles on research methodology; a reserve collection of 4,000 textbooks; recommended readings and e-reserves of local material on the Intranet.
The fully-automated library system, called “Advance”, is installed on a 9.1GB Sun server. This software is used in many libraries abroad and in many public library networks.
The library also utilises the web-based OPAC, known as Geoweb. This powerful and user-friendly tool expedites searching and information retrieval from local and international databases, including the library’s subscriptions to electronic journals.
Using Geoweb, library users are able to query, make reservations and renew books from anywhere in the world. In addition, they can access the catalogues of major libraries, including those of Monash (Australia), Oxford and Yale.
Other user-friendly services offered by the library are orientation and education sessions for new students, reference services and help desk, current awareness services and book displays, reprographic services like photocopying, microfiche-reading and downloading of information, loans, “Virtual Librarian” online tutorials, e-bulletins and a homepage.
The library also houses the Multimedia Resource Centre in which 138 PCs complete with Internet access and CD-Rom facilities are available for research and recreational purposes.
Sunway's computer learning centre has more than 200 workstations in nine rooms.
''In fact we have moved towards Information Technology in a big way. For instance we have recently added another two mega byte line to the existing 2+2 mb already in place on campus,'' says Lee
In a move to enhance students’ experience and expand resources, the college has a Wireless Access Zone on campus whereby students can have free Internet access via a wireless network system.
The wireless access facility is made possible through Wireless Local Area Network hotspots set up in strategic areas on campus.
Students with e-mail accounts registered under the college can utilise the wireless access facility by using a wireless network interface card in a laptop computer or PDA. Wireless connectivity is available at the college’s foyer, concourse and cafeteria.
But that's not all as the college's condo hostel has Internet facilities in every room.
''We have more than 2,600 accommodation places for our international and outstation students in our two blocks of condominium hostel and four blocks of apartment hostel complexes. Aside from a spacious caféteria, an al fresco lifestyle café is also being planned,'' she says.
For recreation, students have access to a variety of facilities, including an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a football field and badminton courts. In the pipeline are netball, basketball, volleyball, tennis and squash courts.
There is also a student centre which houses a travel bureau, souvenir shop, meeting rooms, student leader rooms and international students' office. Banking facilities are in the pipeline.
The college, which was awarded MSC status in 2000, can also boast of its first R&D product which is a stocktaking software known as “inventory biz”, as well as a CD-ROM for SPM Biology.
Sunway College was one of the first to offer twinning programmes with foreign institutions.
Currently, the college various degree programmes as well as professional courses in marketing (CIM), business (ABE), accounting (ACCA) and accounting technician (CAT), IT, telecommunications and multimedia, hospitality and tourism.
Its pre-university programmes include Cambridge A-Levels, Australian Matriculation, Canadian International Matriculation Programme and the Monash University Foundation Year.
For the first time, Sunway College will also be offering a seven-week intensive theatre course. It is for those aged 16 and above who want to learn the basics of theatre in a short time.
Students will get intensive practical training in acting, improvisation, voice and movement, under four subjects – Introduction to Theatre, Acting and Improvisation, Voice and Movement and Theatre Practicum.
In Theatre Practicum, everyone works on a full-scale production which will be performed at The Actor's Studio. The course teachers include Rey Buono, Marion D'Cruz and Anne James.
For deserving students, Sunway offers scholarship awards, including the Tun Omar Ong Entrance Scholarship Award, Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah Scholastic Award and the recently established, Sunway College Community Scholarship.
Sunway College contributed 11 awards worth RM310,950 to the Star Education Fund this year.