Divine Word University Structure

Governance of Divine Word University refers to the internal structure, organization and processes by which the university is formally organized and managed as a public university but privately administered.

The University internal governance is composed of the University Council, University Council Committees, the President, the Vice Presidents and Director for Quality Assurance. The university Cabinet, Academic Board, Faculty Boards, Leadership and Management Board, and Student Representative Council comprise the administrative team.

DWU's Vision

DWU is a national university, open to all, serving society through its quality of research, teaching, learning and community engagement in a Christian environment.

DWU is a public, government-supported ecumenical and coeducational university that is privately administered. Its primary purpose is to serve national goals. With support, partnership and collaboration from both public and private organizations, DWU commits itself to offer special training programs in response to current and emerging needs of Papua New Guinea and the South Pacific. DWU’s services are offered with a high level of ethics and respect of individual rights.


The DIVINE WORD UNIVERSITY (DWU) is a non-profit national educational institution. It is governed by a Council of not more than 13 members, who are vested with the corporate powers of the DWU In-corporation. The Council appoints the President as the Chief Executive Officer of the University.

Divine Word University Council

The overall governing body of DWU is the Council. The membership of the Council as established by the Divine Word University Act 1999 is:

  • a Chairperson appointed by the Head of the SVD in PNG;
  • the President of the University;
  • the Head of the PNG Province of the SVD;
  • four other members appointed by the Provincial Council of the SVD; and
  • not more than six other persons appointed by the DWU Council.

Adviser status on the Council is extended to:

  • the Vice Presidents
  • the University Bursar and Price WaterHouse Coopers
  • the Vice President, Student Affairs

The Council meets at least three times a year. The functions of the Council are: (Extract from section 7 of the DWU Act 1999)

    1. to promote and ensure attainment of the objectives of the University; and
    2. to determine University mission and monitor the performance of the University in terms of its mission; and
    3. to formulate university policies and planning guidelines for University management; and
    4. to appoint University officers and academic, administrative and other staff of the University; and
    5. to have the charge of the management and administration of the revenue, property and personnel of the University, and the conduct of all matters relating to the University not otherwise provided for in or under the By-law made in accordance with this Act; and
    6. to approve the Annual Report, Annual Accounts, Audit Report thereon and the budget of the University for the next financial year; and
    7. to exercise such other powers and perform such other duties as may be conferred on it by this Act; and
    8. generally, to take such action in a manner as appears to it best calculated to promote higher education in Papua New Guinea and in particular the interest and purpose of the University.

Organizational Chart


University Structure

The diagram above depicts the overall organizational structure of Divine Word University (DWU) as a National University, with campuses in different provinces of Papua New Guinea.

The DWU University Council is a policy making body responsible for the overall direction of the University. It approves all academic programs, confers degrees, diplomas and other awards, the operating and capital budgets, and approves academic and physical planning. The Council meets at least three times a year to:

  • ensure the University maintains its philosophy, vision, mission, has broad educational aims with clear and specific objectives
  • ensure the University maintains quality of its academic programs, and develops its unique culture and creativity
  • ensure that all functions planned for the University are carried out
  • be responsible for the way these functions are carried out
  • ensure the University is managed efficiently and effectively
  • set policy, monitor its implementation and performance
  • ensure that DWU keeps its institutional autonomy and acts with responsibility.

The Council liaises directly with the President who is advised by the University Cabinet. Where a need arises, the Council may call on any of the Vice Presidents or Head of an administrative division to report or clarify matters to the Council.

The Cabinet is the Advisory Body to the President. It is composed of each of the Vice Presidents from the different campuses and Heads of key divisions such as the Bursary, Library, Information and Communication Technology, Human Resource, Student Services, Vice President of DWU and Vice President Development and Self-Reliance. The Cabinet is expected to meet at least three times a year.

All staff holding the key positions such as Vice President or Director of main departments are expected to coordinate and liaise with each other and they may communicate with the University Council as well.

In this organizational structure, the Council has different perspectives of the different functions and activities from the Executives and principal officers of the university. Thus there is a clear outline on the communication processes among the Executives of the University and the University Council and showing internal structure, organization and processes by which the University is formally organized and managed as a National University.

An appointed Governing Council is composed of 12 people from outside the university and the President appointed by the Council. They have governing responsibilities for the University. However the University Council is advised by the Vice President Academic concerning academic matters, the Vice President Research and Postgraduate Studies regarding research and postgraduate programs, the Vice President Student Affairs about student services, the President concerning leadership and management of the entire University and the University Bursar in relation to financial division. Those above perspective of staff and students perform an advisory role in the governing structure of DWU. This approach to governance stimulates creative, engagement and enthusiasm of the academic and administrative staff and the students instead of introducing more regulations.