28 February 2014
It will be the start of a new era for the University of the Sunshine Coast when Semester 1 classes begin on Monday 3 March as its student population exceeds 10,000 for the first time.
The University has experienced rapid growth every year since opening in 1996 with only 524 students, jumping from 5,000 students to 10,000 within the past seven years.
In another significant milestone, there will be more than 1,000 international students on campus for the first time next week, adding to the cultural richness at USC and to the economy of the Sunshine Coast.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said 2014 was shaping up to be a very special year for USC as it introduces new degrees in Law and Creative Industries and as staff and students move into the impressive $25 million Sippy Downs Learning Hub.
Facilities are spread over three floors of this building, which is a joint initiative of the Australian Government’s Structural Adjustment Fund, Sunshine Coast TAFE and the University.
Professor Hill said the new building would become one of the most utilised centres on campus and he has encouraged students to view it as their “home away from home”.
“Our students worked with the architects to ensure that the building delivered what they wanted in study, work and relaxation areas,” he said.
“The student areas range from quiet alcoves to group workshop rooms and relaxation hubs. All the formal spaces are interspersed with the extensive open spaces aligned with the concept of the student learning commons.
“It may well be our most functional building to date and it really will be a very inspiring structure in which to work, study or merely relax.”
The building’s main teaching functions are based on advanced simulation and e-learning facilities and there are offices for USC’s Student Life and Learning, Tertiary Preparation Pathway, Buranga Centre, Centre for Support and Advancement of Learning and Teaching, and Sunshine Coast TAFE’s nursing programs.
The Buranga Centre, which houses USC’s Indigenous Services, blends into an outdoor feature that was planned in association with Gubbi Gubbi elders. It includes a yarning circle, fire pit, Indigenous art works and landscaped water features.
— Terry Walsh