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Daystar's original campus is close to Nairobi city centre, but there was no room to expand at that location. Therefore, in the last decade a new campus has been built at Athi River, some 40 km to the south-east of the city, on the Mombasa Road which became the main campus. This development has been largely as a result of work of the vice chancellor of Daystar, Professor S. Talitwala.
In 1967, Dr. Donald K. Smith, an American missionary, and Motsoko Pheko, an African journalist, founded Daystar Communications. Daystar sought to improve techniques used in communicating the message of Christ, to analyze the target audience of these messages, and to design more effective communication strategies for reaching such audiences.
Daystar began short-term training programs in 1971 to assist church leaders in developing cross-cultural communication strategies. It now has an enrollment over more than 4,400 students in 15 undergraduate majors, 7 masters programs, and 2 PhD. programs.
The university continues to produce graduates who are serving in various capacities in Africa.
Daystar University prides itself in training broad-minded critically thinking graduates. It has five schools and thirteen academic departments which include
School of Communication
- Language and Performing Arts
School of Arts and Humanities
- Theology and Biblical Studies
- Peace and International Studies
School of Science, Engineering and Health
- Computer Science
School of Human and Social Sciences
- Development Studies
- Psychology and Counseling
- Institute of Child Development
School of Business and Economics
- Institute of Leadership and Professional Development
Department of Language and Performing Arts
The Department of Language and Performing Arts, sometimes referred to as LPA Department, is the department in Daystar University that houses degree programs and classes in Music and in the literature and languages of Kiswahili, French and English.It is a member department of Daystar University's School of Communication, Language and Performing Arts.
The department was hived off the former department of Humanities in August 2010. Members of the full-time faculty are Ann Wachira, Bill Rowe, Brenda Wambua, Caroline Rugendo, Kithinji Kindiki, Larry Ndivo, Mike Kuria, Purity Kiambi, Rebecca Oladipo and Regina Gachari. Its head of department is Wandia Njoya.
At its creation in 2010, the department was challenged by low student interest and misleading information about the potential of the creative arts. The challenges included attacks on the arts as irrelevant to the Kenyan context, and students receiving advice not to take programs offered by the department. These attacks were in line with the larger Kenyan education philosophy that sees the purpose of school as solely to prepare people for employment.
The department thus embarked on an aggressive campaign to increase its visibility in the university and to persuade students to enroll in its classes as electives, minors and majors. The department's strategy included
- inviting writers, musicians, music producers and artists to speak to students about the doors opened by studying literature, language and music. So far, some of the guests hosted include Kinyanjui Kombani, Dominic Khaemba, Suzanna Owiyo, Boniface Mwangi, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and Onduko Bwa'Atebe
- teaching courses related to topical issues such as Hip Hop and African Political Thought and inviting members of the public to attend the classes
- Inviting speakers to talk on topical issues such as elections and citizenship (Boniface Mwangi), The structure of Marginalization in Kenya (Adam Hussein), The Soul of Sex (Curtis Reed), and the Mau Mau Compensations (Muoki Mbunga)
- holding a Creatives Academy workshop that connects students to writers, publishers and media personalities who share their experiences and insights on how one can make a living from writing, negotiate with publishers and brand themselves and their work
- increasing visibility and interaction through social media. The LPA department ranks as the most active Kenyan academic department on social media and the internet
- inviting visiting scholars to teach in the Department, such as Jack Ballard from Malone University and Helen Walker from Messiah College
- promoting online writing through the course "Creative non-fiction" taught in January 2014 by Prof. Helen Walker from Messiah College and launching the first university chapter of the Bloggers' Association of Kenya.Dr. Larry Ndivo also runs a blog called "Engage: Discourses on Kenyan Literature" which reviews recent Kenyan writings
- Establishing the Daystar University Book Club, moderated by Prof Mike Kuria, which discusses various books and invites writers, and which meets in a restaurant of the members' choice. Writers who have attended the Book Club so far include Ng'ang'a Mbugua, author and two-time winner of the Wahome Mutahi prize, Eva Kasaya, winner of the Jomo Kenyatta Foundation Prize, and Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, winner of the Caine Prize.
Daystar's LPA department is the most active Kenyan department on Twitter and Facebook, putting it a step ahead of most Kenyan universities in the integration of social media with education. It has held 38 graduations so far. Other than there being one graduation in a year, it added another graduation month which is December effective immediate in 2016.