NEWS about Sedaya obtaining university college status last year was music to Charisse Querubin’s ears.
“I am happy to be able to complete everything at UCSI (University College Sedaya International), instead of transferring to another college or university,” says Charisse, a third year student from the Philippines.
The 20-year-old has decided to complete her degree in Psychology at UCSI after getting a diploma, as it is convenient to do so and the degree is internationally recognised.
Charisse has been in Malaysia for the past two-and-a-half years and is looking forward to studying at UCSI’s new campus, which promises to be bigger and better.
“I’m actually very excited to see the new campus and check out all the new hi-tech facilities as well as the new student centre, which I have heard so much about,” adds Charisse, who first heard about UCSI from family friends.
Located currently in Taman Segar, Cheras, UCSI is scheduled to move to Taman Connaught by mid-May.
The first phase of the 5.5ha campus, which costs an estimated RM50mil, is nearing completion and will include a student centre, an academic block, a library and a hostel.
UCSI vice-chancellor and president Peter Ng says once the main campus moves to Taman Connaught, the Taman Segar campus will house four faculties – Pharmacy, Nursing, Health and Applied Science.
“The new campus features state-of-the-art facilities amidst a soothing and quiet ambience. The moment you step into the student centre, a two-layer fountain gushing from the ground floor to the basement will greet you,” says Ng, adding that the entire campus landscape is designed with students’ comfort in mind.
“We have influenced a major part of the campus design and everything is purpose-built and purpose-designed. In fact, all the classrooms in the academic block are shaped like a trapezium. Square or rectangular shaped classrooms are a thing of the past,” he says.
At USCI’s new campus, even the colour scheme has a purpose. “We have soothing colours that trigger the subconscious and prevent students from falling asleep,” Ng adds.
He says the student centre will also house two Cineplex theatres that will screen movies for free as well as a fully-equipped gym. And that’s not all – a jogging path, a little park on top of a hill, several gazebos and basketball and tennis courts complete the look of Phase One.
“The new campus will be completely wireless, and each student will be equipped with a notebook computer to take advantage of this,’’ says Ng, adding that as of last semester new students who enrol in any UCSI degree, diploma and foundation programme will automatically qualify to purchase a computer notebook at a subsidised price of RM1,700.
“Campus life will never be the same, as today’s students are very IT-savvy. It is important that we place emphasis on hi-tech teaching and visualise what students will need and how they will use the facilities,” says Ng, adding that one of the main features of UCSI’s learning facilities is its online education, known as the eAdvantage.
In 2000, Sedaya initiated a new form of academic support in its effort to create a home-grown connected e-campus, known as the Sedaya eAdvantage. The support helps integrate hi-tech tools into the learning environment and at the same time allows students to keep abreast with the latest technology as they focus on their areas of study.
Students will have access to faculty and staff by communicating with lecturers via e-mail and have meaningful interactive discussion anywhere and anytime. They will also be able to embrace the curriculum by accessing course information, downloading lecture and tutorial notes, participating in discussion, submitting assignments on-line without hassle, and checking on the schedule and grades.
“It will be a stimulating learning environment as education will no longer be confined to a geographical classroom location due to the connection with the college community, and instant information from anywhere in the globe,” explains Ng, who holds online discussions with students, parents and lecturers at least once every semester.
From such cutting-edge technology, he says, students will acquire advanced analytical skills to adapt to an ever-changing environment and be prepared to face the e-future.
A new concept Ng hopes to implement in the near future is the co-op component – an idea which came from the University of Waterloo in Canada, where students get a chance to work for two months in a related field every academic year and have the job experience count toward their credit.
“We are still waiting for approval from the ministry but this will definitely set us apart and give an added advantage to all our students. By the time they graduate, they would have already had six to eight months’ working experience depending on the duration of their course,” explains Ng, adding that three weeks prior to the hands-on job experience, students are ‘groomed’.
“This will apply for all students from November to December. Basically, we won’t have any students on campus during that time, and our lecturers will be out in the field to supervise and assess their work,” adds Ng, saying that students will get paid a salary during the two-month stint.
Set up in 1986 as the Canadian Institute of Computer Studies, UCSI received college status in 1990 and international status in 2000. It became the first college to offer a Pharmacy degree that can be completed fully in Malaysia through its partnership with Universiti Sains Malaysia. It was also the first college to offer Music and the Performing Arts as a tertiary qualification.
UCSI currently offers a wide range of undergraduate programmes in Business, Commerce, Logistics, Technology Management, Engineering, Information Technology, Computer Science, Mass Communications and Psychology, and the A-Levels programme, among others.
Among its newest and more popular courses are degree programmes in Pharmacy, Food Science, Biotechnology, and Nutrition.
UCSI is contributing five full scholarships and 23 partial scholarships worth RM788,888 to the Star Education Fund 2004.
For application forms, log on to http://thestar.com.my/education/colleges/scholarships.html.
You can also send a stamped (40 sen) self-addressed envelope (25cm x 30cm) to The Secretary, The Star Education Fund, c/o Star Publications (M) Bhd, P.O. Box 9116, Kelana Jaya, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, to obtain an application form.
Applications must reach The Star by March 12.
Did you find this article insightful?