Pictorial: The New School of Humanities and Social Sciences building at USIU-Africa

By CTW Team
Photos by Edson Macharia

The new School of Humanities and Social Sciences (SHSS) building will go a long way in enhancing humanities and social sciences education programs. It provides classroom space, laboratory teaching and research facilities, office areas, meeting rooms and auditorium lecture rooms. In addition, there are fourteen flexible meeting rooms which are set up for modern teaching methods with the latest audio-visual equipment. It also features a covered terrace and glazed façade. It is located within the academic zone in line with the USIU-Africa master plan. The location is adjacent to the Science Centre and sports fields, and is easily accessed from Gate B.

The building design facilitates social learning by creating spaces where students can easily connect and collaborate. The new complex will double the existing classroom capacity as it will accommodate 1,500 students at a time.

The key features of this building are: -

  • 25 Classrooms
  • 64 Faculty Offices
  • 1 Psychology Lab
  • 1 Language Lab
  • 1 Forensic Lab
  • 1 ICT Lab
  • 2 Auditorium/Moot Courts with a seating capacity of 340 people
  • 1 Crime Scene Simulation House (3 bedrooms self-contained)
  • 18 Breakaway Student Pods to enhance interactive learning.
  • Atrium on the ground floor with garden seating capacity for 40 people. The seating areas are interconnected with cobble stone footpaths.
  • Polycarbonate covered roof to allow natural lighting to the Atrium.
  • Roof top with conference/meeting rooms, open terrace and lounge complete with kitchen
  • Food Court with 3 Kitchens with a sitting capacity of 160 people
  • Parking space for 206 Vehicles

Caption: This is a six-storey building including a basement, and covers a plinth area of 13,500 square meters.

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. This 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 of delivery by instructors and learning by students.

Caption: The building has both regular and tiered classrooms, with a seating capacity of 60 during regular session and about 35 students to achieve social distancing.

The numerous post-modern laboratories housed in the building will expand the available space in the university for practical learning.

  1. The Psychology Lab is a state-of-the-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 of 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.

  2. The Language Laboratory, stocked with modern equipment, will improve the teaching of languages by infusing a practical component in the learning of 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 especially in foreign languages.
  3. The Forensic Laboratory will enable students to acquire hands-on training in the use of forensic analysis to solve 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.
  4. The IT Lab will increase the opportunities for computing for students while on campus as well as boost access to high-speed internet.

Caption: The numerous post-modern laboratories housed in the building will expand the available space in the university for practical learning.

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.

Caption: A Moot Court is a replica of a real courtroom where legal proceedings and trials take place. It will be used primarily by Criminal Justice students.

The Crime Scene House at the building will enrich learning for Criminal Justice Studies students by making it possible for 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.

Caption: The 24 break-out rooms with a seating capacity of six persons each will provide additional suitable space for group studying and discussions among students. The building also has an Executive Boardroom to host meetings with large numbers of people.

The building is currently open for viewing. To visit the building, please reach out to the Operations Department and schedule a visit through your Dean/ Department Head/ Division Head. Ensure that you keep time and arrive early on the allocated day and time.

Read about the "Academic value of the new SHSS building".

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