Caleb University Holds Maiden Architecture Seminar, Mutes Exposing Students To Practicals Abroad

Caleb University in Imota, Lagos says its investments in academic programmes have pegged graduates of the institution on a high pedestal both locally and internationally, as it plans to further push the frontiers of collaboration.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics) of the university, Prof.Adedeji Daramola, stated this in an interview on the sidelines of a maiden Town and Gown Seminar organised by the Department of Architecture on Thursday.

The Professor of Nomadic Architecture noted that the institution would not rest in its oars, in pushing the boundaries of academic excellence, that would produce the much-needed workforce that would turn around the fortune of the country for good.

According to him, architecture like most other programmes in the university has received both local and international recognition following the quality of graduates that are being produced.

“Caleb has invested so much in architecture for instance, as we have about five professors in that field at the moment, with the curriculum, making it one of the highest obtainable in any Nigerian university.

“We are also engaging a major number of visiting architects that come in from time to time from the world of practice, to teach and interact with our students. So, here, we blend practice with academics.

“We also have international linkages. Currently, we are trying to work out a scheme where some of our students can have access to other universities overseas. We want a situation whereby our students can have their industrial experience, even in the UK or the U.S.

“They will have six months for their SIWES. It is just a matter of linking up with a firm there, whereby they can go and spend six months and that is going to add a robust knowledge to their experience and of course, improve human capacity development in our country,” Daramola said.

The don further stated that architecture had come to a stage whereby conscious efforts to inculcate in the students that there are two levels of training, noting that the first, being that of academics and the second, practice, must be adhered to. 

He added that students are trained as architects because they were expected to be core professionals in that field.

“In the first place, the essence of being trained as an architect is because one is expected to practice the profession, build houses, service the community, and the country in terms of infrastructure and others. So, to that effect, we deem it wise to bring practising architects to come into the academic space, do that at the end of the day, we will have balanced training for the students and they will be able to know that they are not only trained to make designs on paper but also to execute such designs.

 “So, these professionals come in from time to time, to tell us some of the challenges they face out there and ways of going around it, in other for the students to understand what is expected of them and align their thoughts with practice,” he stated.

The Head of the Department (HOD) Architecture of the university, Prof. Oladipo Dare-Abel said that the department had attracted recognition from reputable organisations from the international community, going by the pedigree of its graduates.

According to him, since 2017, the institution’s department of architecture has gone to be one of the leading departments in Nigerian universities, adding that they have delivered on their promises in terms of quality of students’ performance and staffing.

“But as we grow, we are working toward improving the number of professors in the department from the six that are currently available. A number of our graduates outside Nigeria have been making us proud through their performance.

“Every year too, we have what we call Lagos Architectural, where our students also compete actively and win prizes. One of the things going for us in terms of quality of our graduates is the high quality of staff particularly and the infrastructure” he stated.

On the reason behind the issue of increasing and constant building collapse in the country, he pointed out that a combination of reasons was responsible.

He listed faulty design, substandard materials and sabotage as some of the factors.

According to them, these and many other reasons were why the university goes the extra mile in exposing its students to all they need to know in architecture and other disciplines.

On his part, Prof. Oluwole Alagbe, Dean, the College of Environmental Sciences and Management of the institution said that the seminar would continue to hold in the department from time to time, to further broaden the horizon of the students.

“This initiative is a way of bringing the town to the gown. We cannot learn everything within the walls of the university. The idea is to bring practising architects to come and share knowledge of their experience with the students. This will bring practicality to the students so that they will be all round qualified professionals.

“We believe the practical experience is expedient particularly as it concerns architecture. Universities are standing on their own, while practice is also standing on its own. The missing link is what we are doing today. The universities are guided by the curriculum provided by the NUC and there are some limitations to it,” he said.

Guest speaker at the occasion, Mr Jide Ololade, Chairman, Student Affairs, Nigeria Institute of Architecture said top architecture schools prepare students to combine the principles of utility, durability and beauty, adding that the study leads to careers such as architecture, and urban design structural engineering among others.

According to him, one of the key message is for the students to begin to carve a niche for themselves in architecture, even while in school, in other for them to fit in properly in the world of work.

“It is important for them to understand that whatever knowledge they acquire here must be married with practicality. It cannot be overemphasized that as much as architecture is broad, there are also some areas of specialisation they may want to branch to.

“There is also the aspect of having a passion for what they believe in and following it through and through. So, beyond coming to share experiences of what is obtained out there, I am also here to encourage passion, innate ability and the exposure of students to the possibilities of having these innate abilities processed with a passion to achieve the niche they have carved for themselves.

The high point of the seminar was the distribution of laptops by Ololade to the best-performing students of the department at both the bachelor’s and the Master’s degree levels, as well as books written by past students who share their experiences as students.

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