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THE BUILDING OF A UNIVERSITY

UCLan Cyprus has attracted considerable attention since it was announced in February that the new University would be established just outside Larnaka at the village of Pyla.

Larnaka’s first University will offer joint UK and Cyprus degrees recognised in both countries. Many Cypriot students are attracted to the University by the option of studying their degree either entirely in Cyprus, or spending up to two years at UCLan in the UK. Overseas applications from the UK and other European countries are rising, as is interest from Russia and its neighbours. The Head of Admissions, Christos Christou, said, “Our courses in mathematics and computing, with specialisations in software engineering, network technologies and games development, are proving particularly popular, alongside more traditional subjects such as business, law and English. My admissions team is anticipating many more applications following the recent release of examination results. Applicants should contact us by email or telephone: contact details are on our UCLan Cyprus website.”

The timescale for the construction and establishment of UCLan Cyprus is a challenging one, and there has understandably been much speculation as to whether the University will be ready in time for its first cohort of students, who will arrive in Larnaka on 2nd October. Construction of the first phase building began in January, and is on schedule for handover to the University in the middle of August. The site is visible from the Larnaka – Agia Napa highway and has attracted much interest from passing motorists. Once construction has been completed, the fitting out of the building in terms of furniture, IT systems, library resources and cafeteria will begin, with many experienced staff from UCLan in the UK coming to Pyla to assist local workers.

The University will be constructed in three phases on a 40 acre site. The first phase, required for October, consists of a 7,000 square metre three storey building which will house a 350 seat theatre, library, cafeteria, bar, computing laboratories, student’s union, shops, administrative offices and staff rooms, as well as modern teaching rooms and lecture theatres constructed to the standards expected of a 21st Century University. The campus will include landscaped surroundings with outdoor recreation and social areas. Phase 2, scheduled for 2013, will extend this complex further  to provide resources for more students and courses, and phase 3 will see the full development of the campus through the construction of new specialist buildings and laboratories. Student accommodation will be provided close to the campus for the first student cohort this October.

A University is more than just buildings. Recruitment of staff has also been taking place, with 28 academics and a similar number of administrative and support staff to be appointed. Two Heads for the University’s three Schools (Business, Law and Computing/Mathematics) have already been appointed, and interviews for the lecturing staff were completed last week.  All of these staff have PhDs and strong research profiles, and teaching will also be supported by seconded and visiting academic staff from UCLan in the UK. Details and profiles of academic staff appointed to the University will be posted on the University’s web site, as soon as interviews have been completed.

The Rector, Dr Lee Chatfield, commented that, “Over 400 applications for lecturing positions were received in a two week period from academics around the world. The overall quality of their research profiles and teaching ability has been astounding, and I look forward to leading a very high calibre team that will combine the best of academics from the Island and from the English speaking world. This combination of current research activity and teaching ability will ensure that our students receive a world class educational experience at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and also that the University establishes a strong research culture, right from the beginning of its operation. Now that appointment of academics has been completed, the next step will be to appoint administrative and support staff, to ensure that students and academics receive the support and services that are expected of a modern international University. We look forward to welcoming our new cohort of students on 2 October 2012.”