Welcome to the academic year 2017. This year we are entering a new phase in the growth of Divine Word University, namely, the third decade of its development. DWU’s entry into the new decade with new strategic master plan represents several significant elements regarding its existence in the higher education sector. First of all, it implies that we are moving towards the goal of achieving international standards. Secondly, we adopt changes on a fast pace to achieve that goal. This second factor is particularly highlighted in the theme of the year: Advancing quality collaborative e-learning accessible to all. The theme reflects our commitment to the people of Papua New Guinea to bring as many people as possible to the world of academic knowledge creation and exchange. This is with a view to equipping our nation to achieve competitive advantage in the contemporary world where time is equated with money and knowledge with power.
Looking back, we can see a number of milestones we have already crossed, and it would not have been possible without our stakeholders, partners, sponsors and benefactors. Our collaboration with them and their support to us have substantially contributed to the development of DWU and our faculty. Along with them, our staff and students of the past have worked hard in making this institution in its present form. Keeping that rich past in mind, I wish to welcome all staff and students of the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences (FASS) to this new year. In a special way, I welcome the new staff, Mr David Glama (DGL), Ms Natasha Turia Moka (CA), Ms Calista Hamadi (PGIR) and Prof Maretta Kula-Semos. I would like to cordially welcome Ms Leonie Baptiste back into our team after her studies overseas for the last two years. I extend a warm welcome to the year one students, and later year students, who are the most important members of our community.
We are rightfully proud of our faculty for the achievements we made in the recent past. Among those achievements, it should be highlighted that a total of 165 students graduate this year. Out of these 165 graduands, 16 graduate with a Master’s degree. Another achievement is that the faculty is administering its exams online, consistent with the new DWU policy on conducting paperless exams. Moreover, selected units are offered in online/blended mode, which are envisaged to be forerunners of full-fledged online programs offered by the faculty. Another achievement is that besides two Master’s programs and six undergraduate programs including the English language program, the faculty has currently three accredited external academic programs, namely, Diploma in Customs Studies (DCS), Diploma in Justice Administration (DJA), and Diploma in Pastoral Ministry.
The faculty’s Operational Plan for 2017 based on the university’s third decade strategic master plan is centered on the eight DWU Core Values which provide the philosophical, intellectual and ethical foundations of WHY and HOW we do things that we do at DWU, and at the faculty and department levels. Based on the Operational plan, we are planning to develop and offer short courses on various topics this year. We also plan to provide substantial entrepreneurial training to our students to enable them to initiate business enterprises after they graduate. The Communication Arts department has been successful in obtaining the preliminary license for our Radio Diwai, and we hope that further formalities to start broadcasting will be complete soon.
The faculty looks forward to exploring opportunities for national and international partnerships. Under this initiative, in view of developing a partnership with the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of PNG, department of Social and Religious Studies is working currently to develop a Diploma program in Social Work. The department is also in discussions with PNG Counselors’ Association to develop and offer a program in Counseling in the near future. Apart from this, the faculty is in touch with the Catholic University of Lublin with a view to establishing stronger partnership with them. We hope to achieve considerable progress in partnership programs in the current year.
Before I conclude, I would like to share the following thought with you, namely, that challenges are not hindrances for hard working visionaries, but they open new vistas before them. Let us convert the challenges before us into golden opportunities for developing our beautiful nation, Papua New Guinea.
May God bless all our endeavors.
Associate Professor Jose Kurian
Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences