The roots of the university go back to 2001 when a group of American intellectuals originally from Cameroon decided to start a US-style university in Cameroon. In 2009, the Professional Training Center (PTC) went operational in Bamenda, Cameroon, approved by the Ministry of Employment and Vocational Training. It provided training in sustainable energy, especially solar energy. In 2012, Saint Monica University replaced the PTC, with the incorporation of the university in Hawaii in the United States as a non-profit institution offering Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral programs.
In the same year (2012), Saint Monica University began seeking authorization to operate in Cameroon and was granted Authorization to operate as SMU Higher Institute.
SMU Higher Institute, Buea was therefore created by Ministerial Order No.14/0028/MINESUP/SG/DDES of 11 March 2014 and authorized to operate by Order No. 14/0398/MINESUP/SG/DDES of 4 July 2014.
The Mentorship of SMU Higher Institute, Buea, was supposed to begin on 26 October 2015 when the institute was issued authorization by the Ministry of Higher Education through letter No.1509643/L/MINESUP/SG/DDES/ESUP/SDA/MM of 26 October 2015 to offer foreign degrees in partnership with two foreign institutions. Nevertheless, recognizing the obvious difficulties of assuring normal standards of mentorship of SMU Higher Institute, Buea, by the two foreign institutions, the institute also sought mentorship from a Cameroonian state university to fulfil the requirements of Decree No. 2001/832/PM of 19 September 2001 on common rules applicable to private higher educational institutions (PHEI) and of the implementing Ministerial Order No.17/00260/MINESUP/SG/DAJ/DDES of 28 April 2017 on the organization of educational tutelage control by homologated state universities or establishments on PHEIs and of the Ministerial Circular No. 13/0003/MINESUP/CAB/DAUQ/DAJ of 22 October 2013 on the modalities of the exercise and conditions of academic tutelage control of PHEIs by state universities.
Thus, although mentorship by the two foreign institutions was previewed and gained, SMU Higher Institute, Buea, actively sought and obtained national mentorship from a Cameroonian state university, namely the University of Douala. After intense deliberations by a team of top management experts of SMU Higher Institute, Buea (Dr. Ndeh Ntomambang Ningo, Provost and Chief Operating Officer, Ms. Tah Magdaline, Associate Provost, Administration and Finance, Dr. Ndaleh Wozerou Nghonjuyi, Associate Provost, Academic Affairs, Mrs. Ngwa Magdalene, Associate Vice President, Human Resources, Ms Bih Delphine Beyam, Associate Vice President and Registrar), an informal exploratory contact, the first formal application for mentorship was submitted to the University of Douala (UD) on June 6, 2017.
After the thorough reviews and recommendations made by the experts in the establishments of UD assuring academic mentorship, the academic programs were approved and as a result mentorship agreements between the University of Douala and SMU Higher Institute, Buea, were signed on July 20, 2020, at UD and endorsed by the Minister of State, Minister of Higher Education on 28 August 2020. These documents covered the programs in engineering, education, communication, and philosophy. An amendment covering business and health programs was signed on 21 December 2021 at UD and endorsed by the Minister of State, Minister of Higher Education on 17 March 2022.
With the signing of the mentorship agreements, the name of the institution was changed to Saint Monica University Higher Institute (SMUHI), Buea.
Since September 2020 as required by the mentorship accords, the University of Douala has been actively providing the stipulated quality assurance of the academic activities of SMUHI, Buea, ranging from the admission of its qualified students into UD, vetting, supervision and approval of results of examinations and review of master’s degree theses and supervision of their defences.
The academic mentorship of SMU Higher Institute, Buea by the University of Douala, has planted a solid foundation for the growth of the former with proper implementation moving forward.
The explicit and implicit procedures and attitudes embodied in this history, which led to mentorship by UD, point to the reconstruction of SMUHI, Buea, in a bit to regain her place as the pre-eminent PHEI in Cameroon.
The SMUHI ground or permanent campus in Cameroon is located in the Bulu neighbourhood in Buea, and this campus has been christened “Civitas Dei,” Latin for “The City of God.”
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