Monday, January 17, 2011

LCCT Visit to the University of Dar es Salaam

On July 26 and 27, 2010, I was part of a four member delegation from the Lutheran Colleges Consortium for Tanzania that visited the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM). We discussed with UDSM officials the current state and the future of the cooperation between LCCT and UDSM, a program that has lasted over twenty years. Under this program, many American students have studied at UDSM, and dozens of Tanzanians have visited LCCT institutions, advancing their graduate studies or enhancing their administrative skills and experience. Some of these Tanzanians are now prominent figures in government, education, and other sectors.

During our two days at UDSM, we met various officials. We had detailed discussions about key aspects of the LCCT program, such Swahili courses, the academic calender, student orientation, dormitory life, travel opportunities, safety, interaction between American and Tanzanian students, and the visiting scholar program.

We affirmed the value of the program and expressed the desire and determination to continue it, even in the face of challenges posed by the current world economic environment.

For me, this was another opportunity to reconnect with former colleagues, since I taught at the UDSM before going to St. Olaf College. Indeed, as we moved around the UDSM campus, we met a number of people who had been to the USA on the LCCT program.

People who have visited or studied at the UDSM will recognize the buildings on the left. The Arts and Social Sciences Tower is on the far left, and the Administration building is in the forefront, next to the parking lot. This is a main stop for "dala dala" minibuses going to Mwenge and Ubungo.

Here is the library, whose East Africana section contains the world's largest collection of Swahili manuscripts. This library also hold the Hans Cory collection, well known to anthropologists studying East Africa.

Here are two of the student halls of residence. On the left is Hall Two and on the right is Hall Five. As an undergraduate at UDSM, 1973-76, I stayed in Hall Five, on the seventh floor. I don't remember the room number, though. Visiting UDSM brings back fond memories of those days.

The UDSM has changed much since the days I studied there. A number of academic units and departments have grown and become faculties. The Faculty of Engineering has become the College of Engineering and Technology. The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences has become the College of Arts and Social Sciences. The Faculty of Science is now the College of Natural and Applied Sciences. The Faculty of Education has become the Dar es Salaam University College of Education, a constituent college of UDSM, located miles away, in the city of Dar es Salaam. The UDSM has also established another constituent college, the Mkwawa University College of Education, several hundred miles up-country. The faculty of Medicine in down town Dar es Salaam has become the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences. The list goes on.

On the left is the University of Dar es Salaam Business School (UDBS). During my undergraduate days, it used to be the Department of Commerce and Management, housed in the Arts and Social Sciences Tower, not in its present location, which was a vast parking lot for University vehicles.

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