July 18th, 2016 - Round Table Discussion on how IAJBS can Help Africa. 22nd World Form of the International Association of Jesuit Business Schools. by Prof. James J. Spillane, S.J. St. Augustine University of Tanzania [SAUT]

 

  1. INTRODUCTION


Despite my global experience of Jesuit Higher Education in Iraq, Jamaica, Iran, Colombia, South Korea and Indonesia, my experience in Africa is limited to eight (8) years at St. Augustine University of Tanzania located in western Tanzania on the shores of Lake Victoria. Due to heavy teaching and administrative duties, I have not yet had a chance to travel much in Africa even in Tanzania itself. Hence my perspective is rather narrow and very limited. I am the Dean of the Faculty of Business Administration at a university under the Tanzanian Bishops and run by diocesan priests. It is not a Jesuit university. Our Faculty includes four departments: Accounting and Finance, Procurement and Logistics Management, Marketing and Tourism and Hospitality Management. I came to Tanzania in January, 2009 to establish the Department of Tourism and Hospitality and two years later became the Dean of the Faculty of Business Administration. It has been an “emotional roller- coaster” with many ups and downs. My experience in Tanzania has taught me to apply the spiritual principle of HALE = Higher Acceptance and Lower Expectations. One needs to often pray the Prayer of Serenity. Lord, give me the patience to accept what I cannot change, the courage to change what must be changed and the wisdom to know the difference.


  1. PRACTICAL AREAS OF ACTION AND SUGGESTION


  1. One of the major problems in Africa and especially Tanzania today is called “Donor Dependency Syndrome”. This means that in trying to help Africans we can unintentionally create dependences that are not helpful and stifle personal initiatives and perseverance.  The real solution to Africa’s many problems lies in empowering the people as much as possible through the “planting of seeds”. One needs to adopt the philosophy of a mature missionary = one who comes when he/ she is needed but not wanted and leaves when he/ she is wanted but not needed. These dependence relationships can develop on both sides.

  2. Scholarships are the most effective and efficient use of funds in Africa. About 70% of our SAUT students depend on scholarships or government loans. In the case of our Tourism and Hospitality Department, we had to ask friends and relative to contribute to the Abraham Scholars Program because the Tanzanian government did not give scholarships or loans to tourism students simply because it was a very new program and not on their list of priorities. The cost of a full Three Year Bachelor of Science program was only US $3,500 so many friends were happy to contribute. Many of the older ones remember annual tuition fees as high as US $50,000. Some of the donors preferred to know and contact the student receiving the scholarship while many were happy to simply contribute to a general fund. Fortunately we were able to make arrangements with the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus so that these contributions for scholarship were tax deductible. Jesuit Business Schools themselves could offer lecturers at SAUT a scholarship to get their MA or PhD degrees at their universities.

  3. Sabbaticals for Writing is a most feasible and realistic possibility. There is a nice, simple Guest House on the Mwanza campus of SAUT with reasonable internet connections and a quiet environment conducive to creative writing. Africa is one of the most under researched areas in the world today. Visiting lecturers could work with and mentor our Tanzanian lecturers. It would be easy to publish articles in our in-house journal, The Eastern Africa Journal of Hospitality, Leisure and Tourism. Tourism itself is a very multi-dimensional field. A large collection of Tanzanian and East African newspaper clippings has been accumulated during the last eight (8) years with a detailed classification system for filing them.

  4. Visiting Professorships is also a feasible and realistic possibility. One could come for 3 months, a whole semester or even a full academic year. Lectures are all in English and some students have access to laptops. Almost all now have a smart phone. The best candidates are newly retired lecturers who are free of tuition and housing mortgage payments. They have the time and experience to spend a long period of time away from home. We have also had very positive experiences with Ignatian volunteers who can afford to pay the high cost of air transport and only need free room and board.

  5. Similar to the Claver Group of mathematics lecturers at Jesuit schools who each vacation period come to a new location each year to share experiences and do research together, we could start a similar group interested in Business Studies. Whole family attend such meetings and a genuine tradition and family spirit gradually develops. The main focus is on research and peer learning with articles and even books coming out of the encounter. This might be a good forum for writing cases for the Global Jesuit Case Network.

  6. IAJBS lecturers could come for a short period to give very practical and useful hands on workshops that develop useful and important academic skills such as learning advanced uses of the power point program and skill in using the SPSS data analysis program. Such activities could take place during the semester itself or during vacation periods. It is very easy to get a three month visitor’s visa upon arrival and the cost is relatively cheap [about US $100]. There is no need to go through the process of getting a formal work permit.

  7. IAJBS lecturers could give their regular summer school course but in Mwanza. The students would receive the normal credits. Lectures are supplemented by practical field trips in the afternoons. Students might also want to study the Swahili language in the local environment. If there is a long break during the winter [example: the whole month of January] special intensive courses could be developed such as one on the History of German East Africa or the Swahili language course. In late May- early June, 2016, a group of 18 Creighton students, two lecturers [Church History and Social Psychology] and one child of a lecturer came to the Mwanza campus of SAUT for three weeks for such a program. The last week was on the island on Zanzibar for exposure to a predominantly Moslem culture. A pre-test and post-test on attitudes toward Africa and Africans was given. There was a noticeable improvement in perceptions of Africa and Africans. This was a somewhat hidden agenda behind the program. Creighton students thoroughly enjoyed their experience especially the chance to learn Swahili in an African country.

  8. Organize volunteer programs for IAJBS students in the areas of social service field experiences. There is a great deal of variety possible in this area. Planning can be done well ahead of time on both ends of the encounter.

  9. Plan, design, execute and evaluate practical, feasible and realistic entrepreneurship program that are expected to have a more or less permanent life. This is basically helping to set up businesses that are eventually profitable and thus sustainable in the long run. For example, students from the Ivey Business School at Western University in London, Ontario are currently spending their three month summer internship helping our tourism students set up a kitchen to produce yogurt and then sell it primarily to the 7,000 students on campus as well as a wider audience. SAUT is hoping to obtain revenue from this company that will offset the overdependence on tuition income as the sole source of revenue for the university.

  10. IAJBS lecturers and/ or students give workshops on the case method for Business Studies. Such a program has already been done three times by Ivey Business School undergraduates who come in early May for about a month. In the May, 2016 program with four female undergraduate students, there were 330 SAUT students who registered for the workshop and about 220 who obtained a certificate. There are attendance requirements for obtaining the certificate. The workshop took place in the late afternoons after their normal undergraduate course were finished.  A scholarship to spend a semester at the Ivey Business School is offered to the best students.

  11. IAJBS lecturers and/ or students give an intensive workshop on how to write cases and use the case method in teaching Business Studies to SAUT lecturers.

  12. Other practical suggestions:

    1. Retired faculty donate their personal libraries to African university libraries. Naturally the materials must be appropriate. For example, after he died, Prof. Thomas Bausch’s library was given to a Tanzanian diocesan priest who did his Management Ph.D. at Marquette under Tom’s supervision. The priest went to Milwaukee to get the collection from Tom’s wife Bernie.

    2. At the end of each semester, kindly ask students if they would like to contribute the hard copy of their basic textbooks to an African university library. The postal service in Tanzania is very reliable and trustworthy so the books can be send via the US Postal Service if properly addressed to a very specific address.

    3. Similarly, E-textbooks and E-articles can be sent to help build up an E-library at an African university.

    4. IAJBS lecturers and/or students could donate used but still useful laptops to make them available to African students and African libraries.