Faculty and students in the College of Engineering (CEN) at American University of Sharjah (AUS) are set to benefit from a state-of-the-art building currently being constructed on campus, and full renovation of the existing engineering building complex.
The new, two-story Engineering and Science Building will cover close to 30,000 square metres, and contain 25 classrooms and 33 new laboratories, equipped with the most up-to-date facilities. The renovated engineering buildings will house a modern project-based learning environment with makerspace and fabrication facilities, along with research laboratories for faculty that will contribute to four new research institutes being established at AUS: the Biosciences and Bioengineering Research Institute, the Materials Science and Engineering Research Institute, the Gulf Environments Research Institute, and the Smart Cities Research Institute.
The new building will assign a substaintial area as collaborative work space (“makerspace”). The area will house equipment and supplies where CEN’s engineers-in-training can put their skills together to come up with ideas, and refine and perfect them to design an amazing range of projects. The space will also be used for the design aspect of the college’s Introduction to Engineering course where students are asked to design bridges, catapults, domes, planes, and cars using simple daily-used material.
With the recent launch of CEN’s first PhD program, Dean Dr. Richard Schoephoerster believes the new building will set the standard for engineering studies in the region, at both the undergraduate, and graduate level. He says:
“We are witnessing impressive developments in engineering and science here at AUS, in large part thanks to the outstanding resources and facilities made available to faculty and students. Increasingly, students undertaking a bachelor’s or master’s degree expect that laboratories and other university resources will meet the highest international specifications and afford them the opportunity to participate in research and learning that has a meaningful impact in their field of interest. The new Engineering and Science Building at AUS will exceed these expectations, providing our students and faculty with the same level of resources that can be found in the world’s very best engineering schools. As we launch our new PhD in Engineering – Engineering Systems Management, our doctoral students will also benefit from the world-class facilities housed by the new building.”
The construction is setting new standards for environmental sustainability, with a comprehensive waste and recycling management plan underpinning the new build. The building’s design has been awarded a “2 Pearl” rating by Estidama, the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council’s sustainable development initiative. The Pearl Rating System, or PRS, functions as a way of assessing the sustainability of a building, rating a building on a scale of one to five against four criteria; environmental, economic, social and cultural. The Engineering and Science Building is the first to achieve a “2 Pearl” rating outside of Abu Dhabi.
Dean Schoephoerster says of the building’s environmental achievements;
“From the very earliest design phase of the new building, we wanted to ensure that we were setting an example for sustainable construction. Engineers are at the forefront of developing solutions that will overcome challenges associated with global warming, renewable energy and waste management. We, therefore, needed to be confident that this new building utilizes the latest technology in energy and water use, and that it sets the benchmark for other new buildings, not just at the university, but throughout the UAE, and even further afield.”
As one of the largest engineering schools in the region, the College of Engineering at AUS currently has 2,438 students enrolled at the undergraduate level, and 254 students enrolled at the master’s level. With demand for places at the college high, the new building will be able to accommodate a growing number of engineering students at the university without compromising the quality of education for which AUS is well known. The new facility will also allow AUS to expand the number of programs it offers through the College of Engineering, with plans to expand the number of graduate programs, and enhance the university’s research impact.
Dr. Schoephoerster says:
“We are currently developing a Strategic Plan for the College of Engineering, with one of the main objectives of this plan to expand the scope of programs we offer, particularly at a master’s and doctoral level. With seven bachelor’s programs and eight master’s programs currently available (and the first PhD program offered this coming Fall), we have one of the Middle East’s most extensive engineering offerings. However, with a growing youth population in the Middle East, and more and more school students seeking a university place, demand continues to grow. We, therefore, need to be taking action that will address this need and provide those students with the capability to undertake an engineering degree, the opportunity to do so
“It is also of importance to us that we make a real contribution to research outcomes in the engineering and science fields. Part of our mission is to deliver research results that promote the UAE’ s aims of becoming an advanced, knowledge-based economy. This new Engineering and Science Building Complex will, therefore, help us deliver upon two of our key goals: opening up more places for talented engineering students, and giving these students and our faculty the sort of facilities that will allow for impressive research outcomes to be realized.”
With approximately 20 percent of the building now finished, the expected completion date for the new building is June 2019.
To find out more about the College of Engineering at American University of Sharjah, please visit: www.aus.edu/CEN.