More than just a design school


BY KAREN CHAPMAN

LIMKOKWING University College of Creative Technology (LUCT) plans to move to its new campus in Cyberjaya by August, barring unforeseen circumstances.  

As part of the Malaysia Design Technology Centre, the university-college will offer students state-of-the-art facilities and opportunities to learn and interact with professionals during their studies.  

Facilities include a sound recording studio of professional standards and an incubation centre, which can promote, activate and incubate creative ideas among professional and student designers. This presents a whole new dimension of learning opportunities, whereby students can also have access to design professionals from around the world. 

Says LUCT president Tan Sri Lim Kok Wing: ''This will help develop the research and development aspect of the country, while creative students get the chance to explore their ideas. It will be a vibrantenvironment with never a dull moment.  

Students will enjoy coming here to interact with people from all over the world. There will be no need for them to go overseas just to have this experience.''  

The university-college has a strong international community, as more than one-third of the student population hails from 43 countries. 

''International students are very visible and they are in every classroom. This truly contributes to a cultural environment with all of us learning from each other,'' says Lim. 

The new campus will also offer accommodation, for both local and foreign students. 

''Some parents might want their children to live on campus as it is an excellent way to become independent, by looking after themselves,'' he says. 

The granting of university-college status in February to LimKokWing was timely, and the move to the new campus will give it added impetus to expand its range of programmes and activities, Lim adds. 

Currently, the university-college offers a range of programmes via its six faculties – creative multimedia, art and design, architecture, communications, business management and information and communications technology  

The university-college is currently working to expand its range of disciplines in view of changing global trends in training and education.  

There will be a series of hybrid programmes that respond to unique industry transformations that marry skills into new career pathways. 

New programmes in the pipeline include those in the areas of multimedia, creative industries and ICT – such as games programming, games design development, virtual reality and the performing arts. 

Lim says the upgrade in status means the university-college is now better positioned to contribute towards putting Malaysia on the world map as a centre of educational excellence. 

The International Consortium of Partner Universities in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand plays a key quality assurance role in ensuring that LUCT programmes meet with international standards. 

Representatives from partner universities form a core unit on the international quality assurance board which sets the standards and specifications that enable programmes to maintain international recognition. 

Says Lim: ''There is still a public misconception that LUCT is just a design school. I want to emphasise that we are more than that. Design is one of the faculties, but it is more about knowledge and using it creatively. 

''As an example, because of our focus on new media, the business students at LUCT see design as a component. They mix with their fellow design and multimedia students and as a result become more conscious of all this.” 

What the university-college does is help someone make something more relevant. 

Lim adds: ''Say, a student wants to sell a pair of shoes. Because of his friendship with students from various programmes, they are able to help him make the shoes more appealing. By doing this, perhaps it looks more expensive and appeals to a wider audience.” 

Once LUCT moves to its new campus, a third-year student who is good at website design could start working at the incubation centre, he says. 

“This wouldn't upset his studies but instead complement them. When working at the incubation centre, he could network with the rest of his friends who are involved in various areas, such as design and marketing communications.” 

Lim says the power of networking cannot be over-emphasised, adding that students begin by getting to know those around them. The idea is to produce students who are not only well-prepared for work but those who are able to lead. 

''We want LimKokWing graduates to hold key positions in industry. They form a core group of creative professionals who understand and are able to respond to the enormous changes that the world is undergoing,'' he says. 

 

The first few days at the university-college are days of breaking the chains of fixed, expected and traditional modes of thinking, he adds. 

 

''The students think it is all part of orientation. Instead, we are purposely igniting their ability to think creatively through the fun and simple exercises they undertake. But once the imagination is set afire, these young people are amazing in their responses. We win awards because we break the norm,'' says Lim. 

 

To be creative means to think in new ways and to be innovative, he adds. 

 

LUCT is a contributor to the Star Education Fund. 

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