Academic value of the new SHSS Building
The new School of Humanities and Social Sciences (SHSS) building at USIU-Africa is a critical addition to the much-needed academic facilities that will catapult the University to greater heights in many fronts. It is a state of the art facility, with an Atrium garden sitting, providing beauty and comfort to learners, faculty and staff. With ramps for wheel chairs and four (4) lifts, the building is user-friendly and enhances the mobility of students, faculty and staff, including those with physical disabilities. This creates a conducive environment for teaching, learning and research activities.
At the more specific level:
1. The 25 smart classrooms, with a seating capacity of 60 during regular session and about 35 students with social distancing, are a welcome addition to the instruction space at USIU-Africa. These will expand the institution’s ability to return to face-to-face learning during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as to develop and implement more market driven degree programs. Most important, the smart classrooms will enhance the quality off delivery by instructors and learning by students.
2. The Confucius classroom, which will be equipped with books and other critical equipment, will enhance the teaching of Chinese Language and Culture at USIU-Africa.
3. The 24 break out rooms with a seating capacity of six (6) persons each will provide additional suitable space for group studying and discussions among students.
4. The building has 64 spacious faculty offices that will substantially ease congestion and the sharing of office space by faculty, which tends to undermine one on one student counselling and mentorship and to discourage many faculty from working from their offices most of the time.
5. The two (2) Auditoriums with a seating capacity of 106 each will serve as important venues for conferences and break out rooms during national and international conferences. One of the auditoriums will double up as a moot court for Criminal Justice Students. A moot court is a replica of a real courtroom where legal proceedings and trials take place. It will not only facilitate the training of students to think creatively and answer questions convincingly, both orally and in writing, but also equip students with networking skills, research and writing skills, teamwork skills as well as boost their self-confidence.
6. The three (3) meeting rooms will increase the available space for school and department meetings available in the university.
7. The numerous postmodern laboratories housed in the building will expand the available space in the University for practical learning:
i) The psychology lab is a state of art and modern 21st century facility for the practice of modern day psychology. It will serve as an observation room, individual and group therapy room and as a room for practical training. The lab is designed in such a way that students and faculty will be able to conduct all aspects of clinical sessions for practicum and internship and associated research. The lab has rooms for child therapy, family therapy, individual and group therapy, psychological assessment, video recording, role plays and simulations that are part of the training requirements for psychology graduates and doctoral students. The rooms are fitted with one-way mirrors to ensure that supervision is adequately provided to the students by faculty during ongoing sessions.
Lab activities will enhance the quality teaching and learning by linking theory and practice; clinical research and practice through psychological assessments, practicum and internship; realization of the program learning outcomes that are clinical in nature and telehealth, which is currently the preferred mode for providing behavioral and mental health services. Upon graduation USIU-Africa Psychology students will have been empowered with employability skills for career progression and practice that will see them address mental and behavioral issues in the country, region and globally.
ii) The language laboratory, stocked with modern equipment, will improve the teaching of languages by infusing a practical component in the learning English and foreign languages. It will provide a complete tool designed for students to learn a language in person through total linguistic immersion. This will develop students’ communication skills, build confidence in learners and help to improve pronunciation in especially foreign languages.
iii) The forensic laboratory will enable students to acquire the hands-on training on the use of forensic analysis in solving cold cases and other cases. It will make it possible for them to learn to conduct DNA, fingerprint, tire-tracks and other such evidence analysis in order to know what crime was committed and who committed it. This kind of training will give criminal Justice Studies graduates from USIU-Africa an edge over their counter-parts in the job market. The facility can also be used (on a borrowed capacity) by other public agencies to process crime evidence for a fee, which will bring the needed revenue to the university.
iv) The IT laboratory will increase the opportunities for computing for students while on campus as well as boost access to high-speed internet.
8. The Crime Scene House will enrich learning for Criminal Justice Studies students by making it possible for to them to enact crime scenes. It will provide learners with valuable training in crime scene investigation, critical skills in site survey, documentation and reconstruction, latent fingerprints, and footwear impression evidence. The house could also be used for in-service short course training for law enforcement officers and investigators.
An interrogation room provided within the new Crime Scene House and equipped with a small table and a couple of chairs will facilitate the criminal justice program to train students, through simulation sessions on how to interrogate suspects of crime. A one-way glass separates interrogators and observers.