Dear Friends of St. Augustine,
UPDATE ON ST AUGUSTINE COLLEGE
Greetings to each of you in this already-not-so-new year.
It seems important to bring you up to date with what is happening at the College.
The last two years of the covid-19 pandemic have resulted in the College having to make some very hard decisions. Unfortunately, Professor Garth Abraham (who had done sterling work for the College under very difficult circumstances) resigned during 2021. However, I am very pleased to say that Prof Terry Sacco has stepped into the breach with great aplomb, supported by the heads of departments.
Notwithstanding the tough 2020/2021 the Board, in consultation with the South African Catholic Bishops Conference and the Nuncio, decided that the College has an important role as a Catholic Institution. In order to achieve its laudable goals, it has been decided that the College will continue as a post–graduate institution and offer the Higher Certificate of Biblical Studies. It will also meet its obligations to the undergraduate students by teaching out those students currently enrolled to enable them to earn their degrees. The undergraduate programmes, however, will be put in abeyance at the end of this year. A decision to reinstitute these undergraduate programs will depend on how future circumstances unfold.
We re-opened on the 3rd of January 2022 and held our first post-graduate teaching week from the 10th – 14th of that month. Modules taught included The Dignity of the Human Person, ‘The Christian Spiritual Tradition’, Foundations of Ethics, and Themes in Christian Doctrine. Three more post-graduate teaching weeks are scheduled throughout 2022. All modules are being delivered virtually, with thanks to Google Suite for Education!
This week we are registering our undergraduate students for their final year of studies in both the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Theology. These classes will resume on 14th February and also take place online. Our Higher Certificate in Biblical Studies programme has already begun, and is conducted primarily via correspondence.
We continue to conduct classes and administration, relying heavily on ‘sessional teachers’ to supplement the modules. We are grateful to all who continue to engage with the College and its students in carrying out this mission.
The financial situation of the College remains difficult, as is the case with many similar institutions, exacerbated by the pandemic. The Board is working on a number of initiatives to be implemented in the immediate future to ensure that the College is financially sustainable and capable of achieving its objectives.
We believe that an institute such as St Augustine has a significant contribution to make to the Church and to South African society. Both staff and those students who have found a home here at St Augustine testify to its enduring value in their lives and ministry, as do our many friends and associates.
We ask for your sustained prayer and support, that all who are responsible for the College remain postive throughout the coming year and be directed in their work according to the mind of God.
With gratitude for all you do to support the College, the Board of Directors, the SACBC and Nuncio and particularly the very dedicated staff for their very positive outlook in these very difficult times.
Chair, Board of Directors, St Augustine College