Member from January 29, 2019

Divine Word University


The Divine Word University’s educational philosophy is enshrined in the Divine Word Institute’s Charter (1977), which crafts a vision of an academic community in search of truth, with a religiously oriented and socially conscious environment as the setting for the learning experience. It draws on the charism of St Arnold Janssen SVD, in its emphasis on mission, service and growing together in faith and learning. DWU serves the nation by placing emphasis on the spirituality of work, self-reliance and service. DWU aims at full and inclusive human development.

It accepts all persons who meet the entry requirements, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender or social status. The University places great value on providing educational opportunities for women, encouraging them to improve their status in society and to take an active part in the nation’s life.

Distinctive Characteristics of our Mission

DWU commits to the following mandate:
a) Providing an authentic model for national unity by continuous dialogue and partnership with all levels of community, business, government and PNG cultures in the life and work of the University;
b) Harnessing the power of information and communication technologies for knowledge creation, knowledge sharing and for sustainable development practices of care for people and the environment;
c) Promoting research and postgraduate studies while addressing the issues of quality, relevance, access, equal opportunity, peace and social justice;
d) Enhancing standards of excellence in learning and teaching, and research for all students and staff;
e) Emphasising the development of moral and ethical behaviour in public, private and professional life based on Christian values;

Core Values and Graduate Attributes

Core values such as integrity, social responsibility, and academic excellence underlie the University’s development and enliven its identity. DWU graduates impress by demonstrating such values in attributes whereby they achieve levels of knowledge and skill appropriate for their careers. They pursue lifelong learning sustained by a commitment to Christian personal and professional ethics.

Divine Word University – The First Twenty Years

Divine Word University (DWU) is a Catholic University, successor of the Catholic High School, co-founded in 1968, and Divine Word Institute (DWI), founded in 1977, by the Papua New Guinea Province of the Society of the Divine Word Missionaries and the Missionary Sisters, Servants of the Holy Spirit. The Institute started in 1979 with 17 students. Divine Word University (DWU) was established in 1996 with the first tertiary class starting in 1981. By 1983 there were 64 students and 8 teaching staff.

DWU was recognised as a “Private Catholic University” by the Government of Papua New Guinea (PNG) in a decision of the National Executive Council on 21 August 1996 (NEC Decision No. 134/96, Meeting No. 34/96). The Divine Word University Act (Act No. 27 of 1999) was certified on 19 April 2000. Student numbers have gradually increased, from just several hundred students in 1996 to over 4,000 students on five campuses in 2016 (including those registered for flexible learning).

The main objective during the first decade (1996 – 2006) was to develop academic programs and to implement the nine standards for quality assurance. The University was in search of an academic identity as it transitioned from the Institute to a University. DWI had begun humbly with only two streams: Communication Arts and Business Studies. In 1985 and 1986 Religious Studies and PNG Studies enriched the curriculum. The University expanded with the inclusion of the Institute of Paramedical Studies and the Lutheran School of Nursing. Further development saw the introduction of Education programs with the affiliation and amalgamation of teacher training colleges in Kaindi (Wewak) and Kabaleo (Rabaul). Later, development of a campus in Port Moresby provided more facilities for Flexible Learning programs.

In the second decade (2006 – 2016), DWU envisioned itself as a national university open to all and serving society through its quality of research, learning and teaching, and community engagement in a Christian environment. The decade was marked by rapid expansion, with post-graduate degrees, development of ICT facilities, and flexible Learning programs. The University focused attention on conditions necessary for quality and the implementation of seven strategic objectives. As part of a drive for International standards the University underwent an external academic audit in 2011. The DWU community took ownership of the findings of the audit panel and set out to implement their recommendations, to the extent that the audit review panel of 2013 was satisfied with the rapid progress made in two years.

DWU have five campuses throughout the country in Madang, Wewak, Rabaul, Tabubil and Port Moresby. There are five faculties, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences has four Departments and three affiliated entities; Faculty of Business and Informatics has five Departments; Faculty of Education has one Department in Madang, three Departments in Rabaul, and three Departments in Wewak, and one affiliated college. Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences has six Departments in Madang, one Department in Rabaul and one affiliated college. The Faculty of Theology has one affiliated college, the Good Shepherd Seminary in Banz, Jiwaka Province.

The challenge ahead for the third decade is for DWU to be recognised nationally and internationally by its value-based innovative application of technology to enhance learning and teaching. DWU welcomes the opportunity for collaborative research and for developing a scholarly culture that recognises research as an essential part of University life.

In 2018, DWU will undergo the third external audit of all campuses.

Cecilia Nembou PhD

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