STRATEGIC VISION 2023 TO ENHANCE CUIB’S MISSION
WHAT EXCELLENCE LOOKS AND FEELS LIKE AT CUIB
The Catholic University Institute of Buea (CUIB) is a Diocesan, Catholic, professional and entrepreneurial university founded by His Lordship Bishop Immanuel Bushu on the 17th of April 2009 to train job creators instead of job seekers who will contribute to the sustainable development of their communities. It is open to all those who are searching for knowledge irrespective of nationality, religion, sex, race and language. Hence it is non-discriminatory.
The purpose of training job creators instead of job seekers is rooted in the roles of creating a solution to the unemployment situation that has afflicted the African Continent, particularly Cameroon in recent years. Colleges and Universities are graduating students that cannot find jobs and there is an alarming number of students that have become a burden on the society and their families. We at CUIB intend to train, develop, mold and encourage students to become entrepreneurs who promote and achieve integrated social, economic, spiritual, cultural and environmental goals as defined by our communities, governments, international bodies and professional organizations.
A CATHOLIC ENTREPRENEURIAL UNIVERSITY
CUIB’s Visionary Goals for 2023 is grounded on its identity as a Catholic Entrepreneurial University. Like every true Catholic university as articulated in Pope John Paul’s II Apostolic Constitution on Catholic universities of 1990 titled Ex Corde Ecclesiae (from the heart of the Church,) CUIB “is an academic community which, in a rigorous and critical fashion, assists in the protection and advancement of human dignity and of a cultural heritage through research, teaching and various services offered to the local, national and international communities (Ex Corde Ecclesiae no. 12). She also “possesses that institutional autonomy necessary to perform its functions effectively and guarantees its members academic freedom, so long as the rights of the individual person and of the community are preserved within the confines of the truth and the common good(Ex Corde Ecclesiae no. 12). CUIB’s statutes and by-laws clearly articulate the Catholic Entrepreneurial character of the University founded to train job creators versus job seekers. While it possesses “institutional autonomy”, CUIB works in close collaboration with the Diocesan Bishop and the Catholic Diocese of Buea. In addition, besides the teaching, research and services common to all Universities, CUIB as a Catholic University, by institutional commitment, brings to its task the inspiration and light of the Christian message especially the Economy of Communion Philosophy of the Focolare Movement. In CUIB “Catholic ideals, attitudes and principles penetrate and inform university activities in accordance with the proper nature and autonomy of these activities” (Ex Corde Ecclesiae No. 14). This makes CUIB both a university and Catholic.
CUIB’s visionary goals of 2023 is also inspired based on its Afro-American educational Model. This model is very unique as it embraces two systems in one, namely the Afro-American University model. First, as African or Afro or African-Centered it seeks to reflect the high values that existed in African universities prior to the slave trade and the Colonial period where education was considered as both the formal and informal process wherein a people rationally guide and systematically guarantee the reproduction and refinement of the best of themselves. These universities developed an educational system based on the African world view which holds dear and sacred the belief in the human perfectibility, the belief that humans could indeed become more like God. Basic skills were merely the lowest level of education and the development of character, humanity and spirituality were higher levels of attainment. Students were trained to become Godlike, specifically in adhering to the principles of excellence, harmony, order, reciprocity, communion and justice. It fostered an education that endures which was reflected in the concern for the everlasting, the continuity of the African culture and the Divine imperative. Soul education as you find in this visionary goals was Africa’s calling in the pre-slave trade and colonial period.
Second, CUIB is also American as it seeks to reflect the current United Sates of America (USA) experiential and high-level management university system in terms of governance, curriculum, grading, university structure and aspiration as influenced by the American Philosopher, Psychologist, and educational reformer John Dewey (1859-1952). Dewey known today as the Modern Father of Experiential Education believed that learning ought to be active, practical and focused on real, guided experiences, real-life tasks and challenges that will enable learners develop the capacity to contribute to society. What a good mix to have soul education (Africa) and Experiential and hands-on (US) brought to one. There is no doubt that the Afro-American model is in line with CUIB’s mission, identity and character to prepare Job creators versus Job seekers with spiritual and moral values who will contribute to the sustainable development of their communities. Accordingly, we affirm our Mission and Vision Statements which were articulated at the beginning of the creation of the University, namely,
“To prepare professional servant leaders with moral and spiritual values who will contribute to the sustainable development of their communities”.
“To bring hope to students and awaken in them a sense of purpose and direction so that they may achieve social, economic, spiritual, cultural and environmental well-being in their communities, the nation and the world.”
As a Catholic University we also affirm our seven Convictions.
- Spiritual and Moral values: We value soul education that enables the person to be sincere, honest, God-fearing, truthful, respectful and conscientious.
- Academic Excellence: We create a culture among faculty, staff and students that recognizes the power of ideas and the importance of doing the best they can in every situation which culminates in the fulfillment of a destiny of excellence. It is about going the extra mile to give the best to God. Instead of driving each other towards excellence, we strive to free each other to grow and express excellence that can be quantified, among our entire faculty, staff and students.
- Entrepreneurial Spirit: Empowering our students to be job creators and masters of their destinies through experiential learning (learning by doing). Our entrepreneurial culture means three things: a vocation, an “attitude” or “mind-set” and a sense of doing business on one’s own account and at one’s own risk.
- Scientific and Technical Know-How: This enables the students to acquire new techniques and skills in order to meet the needs of a rapid and changing world especially in the area of Digital transformation.
- Social and Environmental Awareness and Responsibility: The education that enables the students to be accountable to their communities, foster volunteerism, promote the common good, respect creation and preserve the environment.
- Integrated Education for Life: The education that helps students to seek a balance in life by living out the BOTH/AND Culture – which values the fundamental compatibility of faith and reason, prayer and work, physical and spiritual exercises, knowledge and virtue.
- The Economy of Communion: We strive for the formation of a new people, “men and women”, business leaders, scholars, entrepreneurs, administrators, students, faculty, rich and poor, and families who would be called “homo donator” capable of putting into practice the culture of giving in a new society which puts solidarity and sharing at the heart of its understanding of relationships.
While the Mission and Vision is timeless, as an institution of higher education, we must deliberately review how we make the mission come alive for each new generation of students. We have already articulated the University’s vision statement that summarizes what we aspire to be. However, through our visionary goals for the next 5 years, we intend to enhance our Mission guided by our Vision Statement. We have identified 5 priority elements that we will keep at the forefront as we formulate specific changes, or strategic priority, that we will address over the next 5 years in order to realize this vision. While our Mission and convictions remain our solid foundation, and our vision expresses our aspirations, the 5 priority areas will plot out the road we will construct to journey towards that vision with the theme: “What Excellence Looks and Feels like at CUIB.” The 5 priority areas we have chosen are the basis of my spiritual, personal and professional journey. A hallmark of this journey begun with my inauguration as the First President of CUIB after four years of its existence on Saturday 6 December 2014, a day that I was ordained as a Priest (6 December 1992) into the Roman Catholic Church and now my Silver Jubilee Priestly Anniversary celebration coming up this year on the 6th of December 2017. Hence vision 2023.
RATIONALE FOR CUIB VISION 2023
I have identified 5 areas, known as the 5 E’s – Excellence as a culture, Education for Eternity, Entrepreneurship, Economy of Communion and Eucharistic Community. Under these themes, I will tie strategic priorities which are specific programs and objectives we will pursue in order to approach our vision. Each strategic priority is complex, requiring multiple initiatives to achieve, often involving units across the schools and colleges to collaborate, and sometimes necessitating organizational and/or financial changes. The University will also foster the seven ways of becoming true faculty, staff, students and stakeholders of the 5 Es.
THE 7 WAYS OF KEEPING ALIVE THE CULTURE OF THE 5 Es
- Put God First (Source of all life, power, health, excellence, innovation, and creativity, soul culture)
- Aspire to perfection (commitment to Excellence and hard work, continuous improvement, give your best)
- Berakah (share the blessing, receive and remember goodness, speak to good purpose; a life based on gratitude, appreciation and joyful praise)
- Failure always improves learning (FAIL) – (Humility, readiness to learn, no one is born wise, preventive, subdue Pride and Arrogance).
- There is a time for everything (Both/And Culture, Seek Balance in Life, virtue lies in the middle, avoid excesses, )
- Be a solution provider (hope, characteristic of an entrepreneur, positive and growth mindset)
- Enjoy the ride (fun and entertaining journey, joie de vivre; this is what CUIBY is all about)
THE 5 PRIORITY AREAS OF VISION 2023
- Excellence as a culture in CUIB
God is excellent and we are created in his image. Therefore, if we are to reach our full potential in him we must also choose to be excellent in all we do. God has an excellent plan in mind for our lives. That culminates in the fulfillment of a destiny of excellence. Excellence is about doing the best we can in every situation and being the best version of ourselves. It is, as Booker T. Washington say, about “doing a common thing in an uncommon way”. It is going the extra mile to give the best to God. It is unthinkable that we can say that we love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30) without seeking to do our very best to glorify him. Excellence is fulfilling the mandate of Christ that we should be perfect as our heavenly father is perfect. Perfect in the original Greek language is “to grow into complete maturity of character.” God wants us to grow and make progress. He is patient with us if we have not grown as much he expects. In the next five years, our goal is to make excellence our culture at CUIB. Making excellence a culture is one of the ways we obey and glorify God. It is also one of the ways we represent him here on Earth. Excellence is not just a way of promoting yourself or to be noticed and praised by others here on earth. There is joy, satisfaction and consolation in doing something excellently or with excellence. We all know that the name Stradivarius is synonymous with fine violins. This was not done randomly. It is because Antonio Stradivari insisted that no instrument constructed in his shop be sold until it was as near to perfection (excellence) as human skill and care could make it. Stradivari observed, “God needs violins to send his music into the world and if those violins are defective, God’s music will be spoiled.” His work philosophy was summed up in one sentence: “Other men will make other violins, but no man shall make a better one.” Stradivari had a commitment to excellence because he wanted to do his best for God. Our goal is to enable our students become other Stradivarius – excellence being the hallmark of the CUIB student and the CUIB graduate. While Excellence will become a prevailing attitude at CUIB, it will also be a perfecting process. So, we believe that it is not an option. Colin Powell said, “If you are to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little things.”
We will achieve this by doing the following:
- Develop and maintain a culture of computerized system to handle the daily processes across all units of the university, including integrated planning and budgeting, requisition, purchase, document approval systems, work attendance systems for employees, and other forms of internal/external communication systems like emailing, telephoning and video conferencing; and an appropriate data backup system. This will go a long way to reduce the use of paper and other office stationery in CUIB, and also improve on the efficiency of workers drastically.
- Work towards an 85% digitally transformed CUIB and a paperless university of excellence and accountability.
- Build and recruit a new, strong, competent and mission-driven faculty and staff that will undergo continuous formation, orientation and training in the culture of excellence.
- Review the Statutes and Articles of Incorporation of the university to meet with the current Afro-American model of the University.
- Creation of Centres of Excellence in order to foster the culture of excellence in all domains in the University and beyond.
- Making CUIB a “Talent Magnet Center” by developing enrollment management plans to attract not only academically strong students especially those from underprivileged backgrounds but those who are talented integrally and to expand recruitment efforts regionally, nationally and internationally.
- Create a master plan that is the product of an innovative vision and strategy for the new buildings and use of the University’s lands that represent the best physical manifestation of CUIB’s vision and strategic plan into the future. The master plan will also elaborate how might more efficient use of existing buildings and the surrounding environment at both campuses be accomplished as well as ensure order as the university expands rapidly.
- Design CUIBY as a practical and marketing arm to promote and exemplify what excellence looks and feels like in CUIB.
- Adopt the Stradivari approach to help students see excellence as doing the best for God through monthly inspirational speakers, seminars or workshops.
- Engage the intellectual curiosity of all students and develop critical thinking and creative problem solving skills with courses and other experiences that emphasizes active learning, interdisciplinary approaches, diverse perspectives, appropriate classroom technologies and formats, entrepreneurial skills and opportunities within the context of sub Saharan Africa.
- Work towards making CUIB a University of Excellence through setting up a strong internal and external Quality Assurance and Enhancement system.
- Use banners, notices, screens and billboards to foster the culture of excellence.
Education for Eternity
CUIB intends to provide in the next five years a university education that is truly African. As Afro, African or African-centered, it will seek to reflect the high values that existed in African Universities prior to slavery and the colonial period. The traditional African University emphasized three elements which this theme intends to highlight – Concern for the everlasting, for the continuity of the African culture, and for the Divine imperative. In CUIB as in any true African University, education is meant to feed the soul of the student with what endures. While the most popular paradigm that drives western higher education system, especially in its North American variety directs attention to a tripartite division of “cognitive”, “affective” and “psychomotor” objectives, or mind, emotions and body, African higher education system prior to slavery and the colonial period always included the soul and it set education for the soul at the pinnacle of the education process. Mind, emotions, and body education/socialization was always linked to spiritual aims, a fourth level. This is what this theme is all about and which I have termed “Education for Eternity.” While thinking in North American universities has led to the de-spiritualization of the world, Africans strongly observe that human beings have souls. “Education for eternity” will be reflected in our concern for the everlasting, for the continuity of the CUIB culture, and for the Divine imperative that fosters a learning that endures. In an age where information is critical for human flourishing, we must look for ways to create a distinctive academic experience for our students. This can only be possible when we consider learning as Divine since it highlights the spiritual growth, transformation or inspiration of the student. The vision of the Lecturer or Coach in CUIB would be one of a selfless healer intent on inspiring, transforming, and propelling students to a higher spiritual level. The role of the Lecturer or Coach in this system is to help the student to be the best version of who he or she is in the divine plan. Learning is about coming into being, a creation. A student reflects, becomes and creates. It is a process of human transformation – a process of becoming more like the divine. This is what will make our students true Job creators. As CUIB is intended to be an institution that will last into perpetuity, learning and teaching must be linked to eternity. Teachers must learn to touch the spirit of their students. True education for eternity begins when the lecturer or Coach “touches the spirit” of the student and opens up the passion for knowledge and inspires the student to love learning. This is what I have termed the “Divine Dance” – where learning is perceived and lived as a joyful and fulfilling experience. In this way CUIB will be a place where there is a systematic practice of inspiring greatness. What has pervaded our country and kept it complacent today are the lack of ethical standards and the practice of ethics in daily life. In all sectors, at all levels including academia, people are constantly practicing dishonesty, embezzlement, blackmail and a host of soulless practices. Our society needs a soul culture. This is what “Education for eternity” means in CUIB.
Some of the elements central to this effort include
- Help our students affirm their “Africanness”; affirm and respect their ancient traditions through the teaching of Ancient African University Education/Socialization practices to all freshmen and women and new faculty and staff. This will be integrated into the University Entrepreneurial Mindset development program.
- Join and foster the STEM Africa Initiative project spearheaded by the African Studies Centre of the University of Michigan by creating a STEM Centre in CUIB.
- Rebuild a strong Office of Institutional Advancement and Development in Cameroon that will be able to spearhead the collaborative spirit and philanthropic culture necessary to lead integrated fundraising and raise integrated funds to sustain the university into perpetuity.
- Work towards the creation and functioning of a CUIB Foundation in the US with an International Office of Advancement and Development in order raise funds, attract and establish a pipeline of high-net-worth donors for the university.
- Develop a system of corporate champions nationally and internationally, within the Corporate Cluster model, to integrate and increase philanthropic, marketing and CSR support from corporations that support Industry Clusters.
- Build a team of inspiring and motivational administrators, lecturers, coaches, and trainers in all domains who will “touch the spirit “of the students, open up in them the passion for knowledge and inspire them to love learning.
- Work with STUGA to foster “Rites of Passage” from freshmen through to Senior Class based on the African educational and socialization process of collective apprenticeship.
- Creation of the Michael and Teresa Naughton Institute of Leadership and Professional Development to foster and promote soul education, peace building, social justice, Servant Leadership and Professionalism within and beyond the University.
- Will recognize and award monthly exceptional soul related practices such as honesty, truthfulness, respect for others, integrity, volunteerism and community service.
- The university will recognize its responsibility to sustain inter-religious and ecumenical dialogue, while constantly seeking new opportunities to engage faculty, staff and students of all faiths both on campus and in the broader community.
- Create a curricular model that encourages student collaboration and socialization with faculty, celebrate innovation and reward it.
- Develop programs in both undergraduate and graduate level that will serve students in a contemporary world that is constantly changing and provide them with skills needed for a lifetime of work for their professional, personal and spiritual lives.
- Foster a good security system that will facilitate and ensure that our environment is very conducive for learning and safe for all employees and students of CUIB.
- Create a strong student experience culture in CUIB where students are considered as VIPs, the most important stakeholders in the University, who deserve courteous attention and support in every aspect of their lives, development and growth.
As an Entrepreneurial University we are consistent in expecting to meet the rigors of excellence not only in the academic context but in the vocational sense. For us, Entrepreneurship is realizing the both/And culture which represents the Heart and Soul of our entrepreneurial Education. The heart refers to “techne”, that is the skills that the students have to acquire in a particular discipline. The needed skills within business for instance of reading a balance sheet, calculating cost of capital, providing statistical analysis, targeting and segmenting markets, managing group dynamics, generating creative thinking, mediating conflicts, and so forth are imperative. Approximately 75% of the small businesses in Cameroon where the university is located end up bankrupt after a couple of years. Without basic business competence, we will never improve this number. Yet while such skills provide the Matter or Heart of Business competence which true entrepreneurs need to change the world, they don’t provide the Soul of business or entrepreneurship. In CUIB we admit that without skills and techniques, organizations will stumble to the detriment of their own survival. However we believe that this alone is not enough. Entrepreneurship has a SOUL, which is the character, the ethics, the integrality of the entrepreneur. Without this aspect, CUIB will be training crooked accountants.
Accordingly, the Heart and Soul of entrepreneurship is central to who we are as a Catholic entrepreneurial institution. It is for this reason that we view entrepreneurship in three dimensions: first, a vocation, a divine calling from God to be a co-creator, to serve others, to work for solidarity and to respect creation, the environment, the surrounding society and the needs and rights of future generations. Second, it is an attitude, a mind-set that looks at problems and challenges as opportunities for innovation, creativity and growth. In CUIB three words are considered harmful to the entrepreneur known as the ABC words – Accuse, Blame and Condemn. Also, the phrase “The problem is…” is banned from usage in CUIB for “The Solution is…” An Entrepreneur must have a positive, growth and solution-provider mindset towards life challenges. Third, the readiness to do business that consistently helps CUIB to meet the standards necessary for local, national, regional and worldwide integration as an institution of Excellence. Through the creation of the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, students are trained from day one to be Job creators. Being an Entrepreneurial University, we have developed and articulated the “Triple Helix Concept” – Linking the University (knowledge base) to the Industry and Society. This concept allows for a flexible curriculum which is linked to industry and society in order to foster the culture of Job creation and employability. Our entrepreneurship programme is also comprehensive as we train and build entrepreneurs at all levels – Micro Level, that is the level of the student giving them the right mindset; the Meso Level, the level of the University and the Macro Level, the level of government and society.
Some of the elements central to achieving this comprehensive and integral human development approach to entrepreneurship include:
- Engage faculty, staff and students at the Micro level through creating a mind-set that does not accuse, blame and condemn but fosters creativity, innovation and research.
- Engage faculty, staff and students at the micro level with the mindset that can uphold the economical utilization of resource, i.e. making use of resources at their own personal level.
- Ensure that each student from Sophomore year is introduced to the business world and must run a business before he or she graduates from the university in the areas of contract research, consulting, external training, spin-off firms, small businesses and research marketing. The Sophomore Convocation will articulate this philosophy.
- Help students understand through periodic programmes and guest speakers that entrepreneurship is a vocation, a calling, a mindset and an attitude to self-reliance by doing business while taking educated risks.
- Bring in monthly guest speakers who will inspire students to develop a positive and growth mindset by learning to see the glass half-full and not half-empty.
- Promote the Hebrew Berakah spirituality whose central mission is to help its members develop a sense of gratitude, appreciation and joyful praise towards God and others by learning how to remember and receive goodness.
- Foster the culture of authentic entrepreneurship as articulated in the Pontifical council for Justice and Peace document Vocation of the Business Leader: A reflection.
- Develop a curriculum model that will promote the “Triple Helix” Concept of interaction from university, industry, government or society. This should flow from bottom-up as well as top-down.
- Establish CUIB- owned incubation centres of innovation, scientific and business know ledge.
- Provide and encourage a more flexible delivery of curriculum while developing partnerships with businesses and agencies for contextual and applied learning.
- Foster interactive learning, create social networks and provide commercial information.
- Review and Realign the full operation of the University’s Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) to enable it to operate fully and independently as the commercial and Business arm of the university through the acquisition of its own land and infrastructure.
- Foster a curriculum where needs assessment will be the norm and not the exception in all courses or programmes run in CUIB.
- Encourage and support “Venture Capital Activities” through the Khumbah Venture Capital Fund and similar avenues.
- Support schools to build a strong industry cluster model with each school having an industry advisory board.
- Work towards the creation of a TOEFL, SAT, GRE and GMAT center in CUIB in order to help students prepare, register and write these examinations while in School thus positioning them to have the same competitive advantage with their peers in other countries all over the world.
- Create CUIBY which will act as the marketing and public relations unit of the University.
- Encourage and support informal entrepreneurial activities such as STEMpreneneur and AGRIpreneur clubs and associations.
- Establish a STEMpreneur Elementary, Secondary and High School that will foster entrepreneurship and talent at all levels of the academic ladder thus leading to the establishment of a unique entrepreneurial university family.
- The organization of the Annual Entrepreneurship and Educational Trade Fair -to bring in business partners locally, nationally and internationally and to provide a platform for International conferences and Business exchange.
- CUIB will become a pro-active player in local, national and global interactions to enable knowledge flow from university into business and society, linking global and local partners through working with Diaspora and affinity groups like the TMG London, and Friends of CUIB in America, Europe and the world.
- The creation of the CUIB Sports Academy as one of its business and community engagement initiatives to foster talent development and community growth.
- Setting up of an online multi-purpose digital platform that will provide many services both for the university and the community and also generate income for the University.
- Work towards the initial take off and functioning of the University’s Business Park.
- Advocate for and promote the creation of a Micro-Finance Unit owned by the university.
- Work towards the creation of two new schools for CUIB based on the USA model: the SMLEndeley School of Law and a Nursing School.
Economy of Communion
CUIB is an Economy of Communion University. We are a unique university with two logos – the logo with Christ on the Globe and the EOC logo. In CUIB, we do not train any kind of entrepreneurs. We train Economy of Communion entrepreneurs. It is about a new breed of men and women who will make sharing the center of their lives and not the expectation of receiving and having which fosters a culture of greed and selfishness. Some of the infrastructural work done in our University campus is executed thanks to our faculty, staff and students. Students are expected to do 16 hours of School organized Community Service and 100 hours of volunteerism before graduation. As EoC entrepreneurs, they are expected to offer solutions that conform to Catholic Social Thought (CST) and Practice. Our society today needs a new kind of man called “homo donator” who will put sharing and not having or receiving at the center of their lives. Only then can we be talking about eradicating corruption and poverty in our society.
Some of the elements central to achieving this include
- Ensure an 85% participation of faculty, staff and students during the daily EOC hour.
- Formation of an EoC team of faculty, staff and students that will foster the EoC culture and promote religious dialogue and integration amongst faculty, staff and students.
- Intensify the volunteerism and community service culture by dedicating a special period during the weekly curriculum for volunteerism and community service initiatives both at the personal and communal level.
- Work with the EoC international commission in Rome to strengthen the EOC culture within the university.
- Develop partnership with other EOC businesses and institutions around the world.
- Foster Social Entrepreneurship by working with national and international groups such as the USA embassy in Yaounde and the E4impact –Altis Graduate School of Business, Catholic University of Milan.
- Create the Chiara Lubich Centre for the Economy of Communion to foster the EoC culture in CUIB.
The concept of a Eucharistic community is at the heart of the realization of vision 2023. A true Eucharistic community is one in which all the core activities and initiatives of the community proceed from and are ordered to the celebration of the Eucharist. If we consider the constitutive moments of the Eucharist, you see that there is a rhythm and a structure of the celebration, namely the community is gathered, instructed, communicated, and sent. Let us briefly look at these four elements. First, the community is gathered; and so there are the ministries and initiative of the Parish community that are ordered to that gathering – ministries such as music, hospitality, administration, and pastoring that gather the community together. Second, having been gathered, there follows the liturgy of the Word. Here, the community is instructed in the faith in all its diversity; and all of the catechetical and faith formation programs of the Parish are ordered toward and proceed from the proclamation of the Good News at the liturgy of the Word. Third, having been gathered and instructed, the community is then nourished by the body and blood of Christ. Again you have all of the ministries of the Parish that are directed towards charity, and all that involve direct communication of the Eucharist, find their source and end in the liturgy of the altar. Finally, having been gathered, instructed, and nourished by the body and blood of the Lord, the community is sent into the world to proclaim what they have tasted, seen and heard. They are sent to gather others to be instructed, nourished and sent.
From the above analysis, we see that living out the Eucharistic Community philosophy in a concrete way means setting out the pastoral structure within the University in the lines of gathering, instruction, nourishment and Mission. For instance, gathering will involve the academic, spiritual, social, and cultural spheres. In instruction, the campus ministry team, lecturers and staff are called to see their role as Models to the students and having a Divine mandate to impart eternal knowledge to them be it in the classroom or beyond. In all our interactions in Campus and beyond, our students who are VIPs must experience the “divine dance” and also reciprocate it. In nourishment, the community is called to care for one another physically, intellectually, psychologically, socially, and emotionally. In mission, the University’s office of volunteerism and Community service and other outreach services are called to work towards reaching out to the needy and spreading the culture of communion.
Further the Eucharistic Community is not just solely about celebrating the mass as the highest act of communion daily at noon, but one that balances and live in concrete the Both/And Culture of Faith and Reason, Work and Spirituality and Spiritual and Physical exercises. Many choices today are presented as either/or and conflict-driven – profit or social impact, the workforce versus management, north against south, poor against rich. The solutions are one-sided – the winner takes it all. The Eucharistic community philosophy offers a different approach. Think of the Eucharist where we have at the same time the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, but also bread and wine. Is this an either/or situation? At first glance these seem to be mutually exclusive states, but with the eye and reason of our Eucharistic faith, it becomes a wonderful both/and. What is perceived to be opposed becomes a beautiful and complimentary unity. Applying this now to CUIB, this both/and approach means that our interactions are not designed for conflict; God meant them to be complementary, productive, fruitful, and peaceful. God did not create the universe with conflict on His mind, but with peace and harmony. Thus our interactions in CUIB be they economic, academic, civic, social, spiritual, cultural, religious, environmental or personal are not aimed at winner-takes it all, but at win/win collaboration. We need each other like the body needs every part. The gifts are many, but the Spirit is one.
Another aspect of the Eucharistic Community is its approach to life. Forming and building a Eucharistic Community is not merely about teaching students a way of making a living (Entrepreneurs) but also teach them how to live a good and holy life – Hence our Motto Sancti et scholari(Saints and Scholars). In CUIB we believe that Good leadership starts with leading a good life. Living the values of a Eucharistic Community requires Balance. No one leaves school intending to have a bad marriage or broken relationships with their children and parents, but it happens all too often as a result of an unbalanced life. In educating our students, our goal in the next five years is to help them learn how to seek balance in life. We will remind them of the Sabbath and of Ecclesiastes 3:1-12, “There is a time for everything”, and this means taking time for family, friends and oneself, taking time for study, hard work, recreation and relaxation, taking time for physical and spiritual exercises, taking time for volunteerism and community service. It is in the balance of these aspects that we find meaning and joy.
Above all the Eucharistic community is about forming the minds and hearts of its members to think and live Eucharistically. It is my conviction that Vision 2023 can only be truly and effectively realized if the entire CUIB community and its stakeholders are grounded in the Eucharistic thinking and mindset which has its origin in the Hebrew
Spirituality, worship tradition and lifestyle as lived by Jesus and passed on to the Church at the Last Supper in obedience to the Father’s will. The Hebrew word Berakah, which the Greek world will later translate and call “Eucharist”(thanksgiving) has three distinct meanings which are often interchangeable when used. It means either to praise, to thank or to bless. Summarily “Berakah” captures in some ways the foundations of all Hebrew faith in God: an abiding sense of appreciation, gratitude and Joyful praise. God had given so much to them, done so much for them, stood by them so consistently, that the only possible response was Berakah! – we praise you, we thank you, we bless you for all that you have done for us. The truly pious Jew was encouraged to exclaim or recite Berakah one hundred times each day as a conscious attempt to notice life’s goodness and to acknowledge God as the source of it all. Jewish prayer always begun with blessing God for his ongoing generosity (Luke 1:46; 1:68; 10:21) and only then did it transition to petition.
The scriptures recount that Jesus had grown into such an appreciation of God’s goodness and loyalty that he himself could not give up even at the cost of his life. The abiding sense of maturing appreciation (contained in the word Berakah) is nowhere more clearly portrayed than in the different accounts of both the Last Supper and the Feeding stories of the Gospels. The scriptures recount that he took bread, and later on wine, raised his eyes to heaven and gave thanks (or said the blessing). In Jewish faith the prayer of praise and thanksgiving (Blessing) rises to God and returns as a blessing! Wow!!! The Berakah of Jesus at the Last Supper became a blessing and transformed the bread and wine into the Body and blood of Jesus. In the bread and wine Jesus communicated his own self. In the Eucharist, the church responds to Jesus’ command to “do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19); she repeats the prayer of thanksgiving and blessing of Jesus. In CUIB we try to foster this culture of receiving life as a gift and offering it in thanksgiving daily at midday. Unless we as a community can grasp the inner dynamics of praise, thanks, and blessing, we will never appreciate the core meaning of the ritual which the Greek world would call Eucharist – Hence Eucharistic Community. What a community and nation that we will have if we begin to approach life from the perspective of gratitude, appreciation and joyful praise? Would it not be awesome!
Some of the elements central to this effort include:
- Establish a strong campus ministry team of Priests, Religious men and women, the Laity, EoC Base group Facilitators and Peer Ministers to spearhead and foster the Eucharistic Community culture and approach to life.
- Foster the organization of spiritual, social, cultural, academic, and physical activities around the values of the Eucharist as gathering, instruction, nourishment and mission both in and out of Campus.
- Create a Eucharistic Ministry, the Catholic Berakah Ministries, that will keep alive the Eucharistic Community philosophy, spirituality, culture and lifestyle in the University and beyond.
- Through its Catholic Studies curriculum will promote academic work that is shaped by and makes distinctive contributions to Catholic intellectual tradition through publications, seminars and collaborative ventures across the nation.
- Collaborate with the Centre for Catholic Studies, University of St Thomas, Minnesota, USA to train more personnel in Catholic Studies at the Graduate Level to foster the Catholic Intellectual Tradition which values the fundamental compatibility of faith and reason, work and Spirituality while fostering meaningful dialogue directed toward the flourishing of human nature.
- Seek meaningful collaboration between the university and the Diocese of Buea, The Catholic Women Association, Diocesan apostolic groups, Catholic Institutions and agencies, religious congregations and other groups.
- Expand the teaching of Catholic Studies within and beyond the University in collaboration with the Catholic Studies Centre, University of St Thomas Minnesota and the International Association of Catholic Studies spearheaded by the founder of Catholic Studies, Dr Don Briel..
- The University will seek partnerships and relationships with Catholic institutions and agencies, both educational and service/justice oriented, around the globe.
- Foster the training of priests and religious, brothers and sisters in non-theological disciplines.
- Establish a strong liturgical culture in CUIB that is truly Eucharistic (Berakah), vibrant and meaningful.
- Run Programmes in CUIB that will help employees and students to seek balance in life and lead a Good Life.
We have articulated the 5 priority areas, their rationale and concrete elements that will make the vision and mission of CUIB come alive for our next generation of students in the next five years. One thing is certain that vision 2023 is a continuous and unbroken cycle. It is the unbroken cycle of Excellence back to Excellence. Excellence leads to education for eternity. An education for eternity (soul persons) will produce inspiring and transformative Entrepreneurs. These new entrepreneurs, business men and women, will establish their enterprises based on the Economy of Communion philosophy, a philosophy which fights greed and puts sharing and collaboration at the centre of every economic activity and social interaction. The Economy of Communion is living the ideal of the Trinity, the ideal of perfection. This ideal cannot be lived effectively without putting the Eucharist at the center of the University’s life – hence the Eucharistic Community. CUIB as a Eucharistic community reminds us that life is not either/or but both/and; that God did not design it for conflict but God meant life to be complementary, productive, fruitful, harmonious and peaceful. Accordingly, living out the “Body and Blood culture” will enable our students not only make a living but live a good life of “Saints and Scholars”, the University’s motto. A balanced life which is the outcome of a genuine Eucharistic Community will produce true entrepreneurs who find joy and meaning in life. This way of living takes us back to where we began, the culture of excellence. In the next five years we intend to create ourselves and our university in God’s image of Excellence. This is a priority if we are to reach our full potential in him, not only as a university but as individuals who heed God’s call to live in the fulfillment of a destiny of Excellence. Join us therefore in the next five years to train a new generation of young men and women who will speak excellence, play excellence, walk excellence, dance excellence, jump excellence, pray excellence, meditate excellence, worship excellence, cherish excellence and above all celebrate excellence. Amen