The constituent colleges include Mwenge University College of Education (MWUCE) in Dar es Salaam, Ruaha University College (RUCO) and Stella Maris Mtwara University College (STEMMUCO) in Mtwara south of the country. A secular and private institution for higher learning owned and managed by the Catholic Church, SAUT has extended its arms wider still with more colleges of Archbishop Mihayo University College of Tabora (AMUCTA); St. Francis University College for Health and Allied Sciences (SFUCHAS) in Ifakara, Morogoro Region and Jordan University College (JUCO) also in Morogoro.
The three centres of the university are in Dar es Salaam, Bukoba and Songea regions. SAUT is dedicated to St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A.D), with the motto ‘Building the City of God’. The motto is no irrelevant slogan for the university after a rapid growth, now has 27,000 students and in eight years time it plans to have more than twenty times that number. In its ambitious programme to produce more graduates of higher learning institutions in the country, SAUT boasts to be among private and government learning institutions that excel in that direction.
In an interview recently with the 'Daily News on Saturday', the University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Administratiion and Finance (DVAF), Fr Peter Mwanjonde, said by 2020 the university expected to have more than 800,000 students through more branches in the regions. “The university started with 294 students in 1998. Today we have more than 27,000 students including learners in all constituent colleges and centres and we are planning to have more than 800,000 by 2020,” he observed.
Fr. Mwanjonde said the university had a plan to have more branches in areas like Zanzibar, Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Dodoma, Singida, Biharamulo and Kigoma. A senior lecturer, Mr Nkwabi Ng’wanakilala, said the university was commendable and very positive. He added that the learning outcome must be relevant to the dynamic society. “We need to march with market forces and the graduates we produce must fit into the ever-changing demanding society outside the classroom,” Mr Ng’wanakilala noted.
SAU has made a commendable achievement in having lecturer theatres, learning resource centres and infrastructure like academic and administrative block. Nevertheless, the university is facing challenges like less accommodation, classrooms and theatre halls, few professors and PhD holders. In her opinion, Ms Halima Msellem, a SAUT student, said the university lacked personnel like counsellors and psychologists, whose advice and counselling is crucial for the students to cope with life difficulties and to learn and be able to manage psychosocial aspects of life.
“Many students on the campus misuse freedom. When they face difficulties in life they make wrong decisions only to complicate further their life on the campus,” she stated. A Masters Student in Mass Communication at SAUT, Mr Ali Mbarouk, said that although they lacked practical performance, they still could work harder and learn theoretically. Moreover, the SAUT University has collaboration with other universities in Europe and America in areas of Research, Exchange Programmes, Teaching, Quality Assurance and Management.
Some of the universities it collaborates with are Georgetown, Marquette, Southern Illinois, North Texas, universities in USA, University of Tampere and Tampere TAMK in Finland, Vetcha University in Germany, Cork and Dublin universities in Ireland University of Ontario in Canada.
Fr Mwanjonde said that apart from collaboration with universities outside the country, SAUT also collaborated with other institutions of higher education through Tanzania Private University (TAPU), Association of Catholic Universities and Higher Institutes of Africa and Madagascar (ACUHIAM); and Inter University Association.
According to the Deputy Finance Administration Vice-Chancellor, the university remains a centre for quality assurance agent for Catholic universities in East Africa. This is the result of quality teaching, research and public service to the society. SAUT is not only concerned with academic world, but continuously trying to enhance the life of economically poor people in and around the university by giving soft loans to start business as entrepreneurs in small scale businesses.
One of entrepreneurs around the university, Ms Bernadetha Masau, applauds the university by saying that the increase of the students has managed her to make money. “I started with six rooms in 2008, but today I have 15 rooms and a big canteen. It was hard in the beginning. Today, however, my economy has risen to 75 per cent,” she noted. Currently, the university has five faculties: Business and Administration, Social Sciences and Communication, Education, Law and Engineering.
New programmes of Master of Arts in Higher Education Management and Development, Master of Arts in Linguistics, Master of Arts in Economics have been introduced at the university this academic year. Master of Arts in Education Planning and Administration has also begun. Making students good citizens is also a matter of concern and SAUT is keen to ensure students have discipline.
It therefore emphasizes on the dress code. No female students are allowed in class, library or at the office wearing trousers. It takes dress as a tool to create presentable professionals with ethics. SAUT extends over 600 acres in the Nyegezi-Malimbe area, 10km south of Mwanza City. It lies 4km off the Main Mwanza-Shinyanga Road by Lake Victoria.