Media Advisory March 05

O-WEEK KICKS OFF AT WAIKATO UNIVERSITY

Waikato University’s Semester A kicks off today, March 5, with several orientation week activities planned for new and returning students. Activities include a daily breakfast held on the university’s Village Green from 8-10am and a clubs day on Wednesday March 7 featuring club performances and stalls. About 500 international and domestic students were formally welcomed to the University of Waikato last week with a pōwhiri held at Te Kohinga Mārama Marae. Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford welcomed all new students saying “you are all now a part of the University of Waikato and we know that you will enjoy your time here”. For more information on Waikato University’s O-Week activities visit the O-Week website.

SOCIAL RESEARCH INSIGHT INTO RENA VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE

Understanding the experiences of volunteers who helped clean up oil following the grounding of cargo ship Rena in October last year is the subject of a research project being conducted in collaboration with the University of Waikato, Bay of Plenty Polytechnic and Bay of Plenty Regional Council. The aim of the research is to provide insight into the volunteer experience and to assist with future volunteer planning and volunteer response efforts. Registered Operation Beach Clean volunteers were invited to participate in an online survey and the 164 responses have provided the first insight into their experience. University of Waikato researchers from the School of Psychology and the Social Work Programme said the survey captured the demographics of volunteers and collected a snapshot of what motivated people to volunteer and how they found the experience. The report will be made available at www.boprc.govt.nz.

WAIKATO ANNOUNCES NEW SCHOLARSHIPS FOR TAUGHT POSTGRAD STUDY

The University of Waikato has announced a new scholarship valued at up to $6,000 for students looking to undertake taught postgraduate study. The Taught Postgraduate Fees Scholarship will target students studying taught 500 level papers and who plan to head down a research path in the future. It is available for domestic and international, full and part-time students. About $200,000 has been earmarked for these scholarships in 2012. The university’s Pro Vice-Chancellor Postgraduate, Professor Kay Weaver, says postgraduate students are very important to the culture of a university, and are the nation’s future cutting-edge researchers and academics. She says the new scholarship completes a suite of postgraduate scholarships available at Waikato. “It complements our existing masters and doctoral scholarships that are research-based. This new one-year scholarship is one of our most accessible scholarships – it is an option for full-time students, people working and studying part-time, or those students who are taking Honours.” Students already enrolled for A Semester, which begins today, March 5, can apply for Round One of the scholarships before March 19.

WAIKATO STUDENTS CREATE SAILOR THE PUFFER FISH APP

A team of students from Waikato University have developed an Apple app to teach kids with asthma how to best manage their condition, with the help of a puffer fish called Sailor. Computer graphics design student Stephen Sherman and computing and mathematical sciences students Benjamin Squires, Billy-Jo Hunia and Daniel Loomb have been working with Asthma Waikato to bring to life the Apple application PUFF'D. The game is part of a project aimed at raising awareness of asthma among 5-10 year-olds. PUFF'D, which is now available to download on the app store, sees Sailor the Puffer fish inside a pair of lungs bouncing into and destroying asthma triggers such as cold, pet dander and smoke. Team leader Daniel Loomb says the students got involved as part of a software engineering paper which involved connecting with businesses in the community.

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN JOURNALISM AND PR THAWING

A University of Waikato student’s study has found the tumultuous relationship between public relations practitioners and journalists isn’t as rocky as it once was. Summer Research Scholarship student Steven Hitchcock has been examining the shifting dynamic between journalists and public relations practitioners, and has found that journalists are becoming increasingly reliant on public relations (PR). Hitchcock’s research is part of a larger study being undertaken by Professor Kay Weaver looking at the changing face of journalism and the impact this has on the news media in New Zealand. “Traditionally, or maybe anecdotally, people think journalists and PR practitioners are quite opposed,” says Hitchcock. “This comes from the impression that PR practitioners aim to get their corporate agenda into news media. In a similar way we have this belief that journalists are this public watchdog, always relaying the objective and absolute truth.” Hitchcock says financial pressures, the tabloidisation of news and more demanding deadlines have changed journalists’ minds, and now instead of seeing a move to PR as a “move to the dark side”, many journalists see this as a fairly normal and understandable career change.

OUTSTANDING EMERGING SCHOLARS

Two academics, one an economist who is researching the impacts of liquor outlets and the other who is an expert in transformational leadership have been named outstanding emerging scholars at Waikato University Management School (WMS). Population and health economist Dr Michael Cameron works with the Institute of Business Research at Waikato Management School and has recently been working with the Alcohol Advisory Council researching the impacts on communities of liquor stores. He has also studied wellbeing and ageing, and the economics of HIV/AIDS in developing countries. He consults to a wide range of organisations. Dr Peter Sun is the Associate Dean Enterprise and is responsible for the Corporate and Executive Education at WMS. His speciality is leadership. Before coming to academia, Peter worked in a number of high profile organisations, particularly in Sri Lanka and India. His background is mechanical and industrial engineering but he subsequently moved into knowledge management, organisational learning and transformational and servant leadership and has consulted widely in this area. The researchers each receive $2500 to put towards research.

WAIKATO UNI FEATURES IN PACIFIC FESTIVITIES

The University of Waikato will feature at Pasifika Festival 2012, being held this week at Western Springs, Auckland. The festival is a celebration of Pacific cultures and will include a night concert of Pacific stories, dances and songs on March 9. The concert is followed by a day of festivities with music, food, arts and dance from 10 Pacific cultures. Waikato University will have a strong presence at the festival with onsite enrolment facilities and recruitment advisers on hand to assist with enquiries and enrolment information. The university will also have a presence at next month’s Polyfest in Manukau, March 14-17.

This page has been reformatted for printing.