Carving Out a Culture of Excellence

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Science  06 Mar 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5356, pp. 1476
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5356.1476

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SARAWAK, MALAYSIA-- The 5-year-old University of Malaysia at Sarawak is attempting to create a culture of excellence in daunting circumstances. Carved out of a peat forest in western Borneo, an island separated from peninsular Malaysia by the South China Sea and by an even wider political, cultural, and economic gulf, the school has pioneered such ideas as teaching faculties that can cross disciplinary boundaries and reduce the traditional infighting between departments. Officials have also recruited hard-charging scientists to head three graduate research institutes that focus on areas of regional and national importance.