A NEW drive in the long-term strategic growth of Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) was kick-started with the laying of the foundation stone for the university’s new Faculty of Engineering and Science building recently.
Officiating at the ceremony was Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam, Pro-Chancellor of Curtin Sarawak. Also present were members of the Curtin Sarawak Campus Council and Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Jim Mienczakowski; the project consultants and contractor; and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Science Professor Michael Cloke and his staff.
Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr Chan said the RM20 million four-storey building signals not just a new phase of infrastructural development bringing further enrichment of campus life and learning experience for a student population now exceeding 3,500, but also a new direction for Curtin Sarawak’s strategic growth in the coming years.
This includes the elevation of both its School of Engineering and Science and School of Business to full-fledged faculties and all that a faculty structure entails, including increased powers and responsibilities for their deans. There will also be significant changes in how units within the faculties are structured and managed.
Elaborating on this, Professor Mienczakowski said the move is an important marker of Curtin Sarawak’s strategic growth and its growing autonomy as Curtin University’s largest international campus, in addition to bolstering its status as a leading higher education institution in Malaysia.
“Faculties are often referred to as the engines of a university. Our faculty deans will become full members of our senior executive team and will be a crucial element in our strategic planning and decision-making,” he said.
He added that Curtin Sarawak’s deans are highly experienced interactive academics who will play leading roles in expanding the campus’ operations.
Scheduled for completion in March 2016, the new Faculty of Engineering Science building will be a signature work of architecture and landmark for the campus’ Skylark Precinct, which currently consists of two buildings housing the faculty’s laboratories and workshops.
It will house three lecture halls of between 160 to 240 seats on the ground floor, four classrooms of between 56 to 84 seats on the first floor, lecturer and meeting rooms on the second floor, and offices and more meeting and discussion rooms on the third floor.
The new building complements Curtin Sarawak’s Faculty of Business and Humanities building completed in 2009.