2018 Annual Report of the University of Waikato
The Annual Report provides detailed information on the University's financial status and summarises the activities and achievements of the University.
It has been my privilege to serve as Chancellor of the University of Waikato in 2018, and to support the progress that the University is making on many fronts.
Progress is particularly notable in the advancement of three very important infrastructure projects. The largest of these projects is The Pā complex, which was approved to proceed to final design and consenting at the end of 2018. This project will create a new primary entrance to the University and a new marae, will be a focal point for large-scale University and community activities, and improve the quality and accessibility of the route along the main spine of the campus. The vision for The Pā has been strongly supported by students, and is based around their desire for more social learning spaces and a visible heart for the campus that will be attractive in all weather conditions.
A second infrastructure project is the construction of our new Tauranga campus, which will mark a milestone in the University’s history when it opens in early 2019. The construction of this campus has been generously supported by TECT, Tauranga City Council, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and the iwi of Tauranga Moana. The University of Waikato’s investment in the campus provides a strong signal of our commitment to enhancing social outcomes and economic growth in the Bay of Plenty, building on two decades of programmes offered in the region and our engagement with the Bay of Plenty Tertiary Education Partnership – comprising the University, Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology and Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi.
The new campus has a unique cultural narrative and identity - a multi-purpose space where students, researchers, the community and industry will all work together in the heart of one of the fastest-growing regions in New Zealand.
The Council has also approved the development of a new 53-bed block of student accommodation on University-owned land in Hamilton. Council supports the view of management that, if we are to continue to increase the number of students studying at the University of Waikato, then additional accommodation will be needed.
During 2018 the University conferred six Distinguished Alumni Awards to an outstanding group of people: the Honourable Dame Annette King, Clinical Psychologist Dr Sarah Calvert, archaeological scientist and radiocarbon dating specialist Professor Tom Higham, international business leader Jan Zijderveld, Miriam Dean QC and Dr Shane Legg, co-founder of DeepMind Technologies. Through their career achievements and engagement with the University and community, the success stories of our alumni set a standard to which our current students can aspire.
I wish to extend my thanks to the outgoing Waikato Students’ Union President Candra Pullon for her outstanding service to the University in 2018, and to Paul Adams whose term on Council ended during the year. Paul continues to support the University in a range of ways, including as Chair of the University’s Campus Development Committee, which focusses on University infrastructure and our maintenance, refurbishment and new building programme. During the year we also welcomed a new Council member, Scott Bartlett, CEO of State-owned Enterprise Kordia Group Limited, for a four-year term.
Over the last few years the University of Waikato has undergone a transformation in its strategy, infrastructure planning, investment in quality research and teaching, and engagement with students. I accept that some may have found the changes challenging, but to remain relevant to contemporary New Zealand society and the interests of our students, changes were necessary.
It has been my pleasure to work with the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Neil Quigley, and the senior leadership team of the University to develop and implement this process of change. I have appreciated the guidance and oversight provided by my fellow Council members, as well as their support for an organisation-wide aspiration for greatness in the service of our students and New Zealand as a whole. The University of Waikato has had a year of growth and new developments, with more exciting opportunities apparent for the year ahead.
Rt Hon James Bolger
It has been a very positive year for the University of Waikato, with growth in student enrolments and progress on a range of major projects.
Student numbers in 2018 increased by 3.5% over 2017 enrolments. Total EFTS in 2018 were 10,257, made up of 1791 international EFTS (an increase of 12% on 2017) and 8,455 domestic EFTS (an increase of 1.9%). This growth reflects our investment in new programmes, our commitment to enhancing the quality of our existing programmes, teaching, facilities and student services, and the hard work of academic and general staff across the University. The growth in international students is a result of our strategic partnerships with quality universities outside New Zealand, and increased student recruitment efforts in our priority markets, as well as new and emerging markets. Domestic student increases reflect our efforts to build greater national awareness of the quality of the academic programmes and student experience at the University of Waikato.
The University also adopted a major change to its organisational structure in 2018, with the decision to implement a divisional leadership structure, comprising four new divisions, each lead by a Pro Vice-Chancellor. The new structure includes a Division of Education, Division of Management, Division of Health, Engineering, Computing and Science, and a Division of Arts, Law, Psychology and Social Sciences. Previously the University was organised into numerous faculties of widely varying sizes, all of which were headed by a Dean who reported directly to the Vice-Chancellor. Moving to a divisional structure will provide the University with the strategic leadership capability necessary for it to survive and prosper in today’s highly competitive and rapidly changing tertiary education environment, as well as providing a greater level of transparency of operational performance across academic units of a similar size. Implementation of the leadership and administrative structure within each of the divisions will continue during 2019.
One of the great strengths of the University of Waikato is the open and collegial relationship between the Waikato Students’ Union (WSU) and the senior leadership team of the University. The President and Executive of the WSU are key contributors to University strategy on all fronts. This year the WSU led a consultation process on the areas in which students wanted increases in funding to be applied. As a result, the University has increased its investment in support for student health and wellbeing, including the appointment of a Mental Health Nurse, Violence Prevention Coordinator and a Health Promotion Coordinator.
Following an extensive process of curriculum review in 2016 and 2017 led by Professor Robyn Longhurst (Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic) and Professor Alister Jones (Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor), the University’s new curricula at 100 and 200 level were offered for the first time in 2018. The redesigned curriculum will help the University to deliver on its ambition for a distinctive student experience by requiring Waikato undergraduate students to complete a cultural perspectives component, a disciplinary foundations component, and a work-integrated learning component. This new curriculum has required that we strengthen relationships with local employers to ensure meaningful work-integrated learning opportunities are available for students.
The research performance of the University of Waikato, under the leadership of Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research, Professor Bruce Clarkson, was also substantially improved in 2018. The University was successful in a number of national research funding rounds, many of which provide funding that extends beyond 2019 to provide a strong pipeline of future research funding. The University was awarded funding from the TEC through its Entrepreneurial Universities fund, the Marsden Fund, the Ministry of Education, MBIE, other government agencies and many private sector organisations. We also undertake collaborative research with a wide range of Crown Research Institutes, universities and Centres of Research Excellence. There has been a notable improvement in the success rates of research funding applications during 2018 and the University’s new research revenue contracted in 2018 ($41.7m) greatly exceeded the $28.9m contracted in 2017.
This year we welcomed new members of the Executive team, Jim Mercer, Chief Operating Officer, and Nikki Thomas, Director, Organisational Development and Wellness. Ms Thomas has responsibility for organisational performance and staff training, for aligning workplace culture with the University strategy, as well as for staff satisfaction and wellness. Mr Mercer has responsibility for financial services and reporting, internal audit, risk and assurance, facilities and technology, marketing, communications and legal services. Also during the year Professor Don Klinger joined the University of Waikato as Dean (and, from 1 January 2019, Pro Vice-Chancellor) of Education.
Since my arrival at the University of Waikato four years ago, a great deal of attention has been placed on planning investment in the physical and technological infrastructure of the University. The first phase of our project to replace our core student administration system was trialled for Semester B 2018 enrolments, and is in use for the summer 2018-19 enrolment period. The construction of our new campus in Tauranga, and the investments we have made in anticipation of phase two of our development there have all proceeded on time and on budget. I am extremely grateful for the leadership that Professor Alister Jones has shown in both projects, as well as to Director of Regional Engagement, Joseph Macfarlane, for his leadership with iwi engagement and the cultural narrative for the Tauranga campus building.
I wish to extend my thanks to all University staff for their support of the aspirations and advancement of the University, and their commitment to the success of our students. In addition, I acknowledge the support of the Chancellor, the University Council, my colleagues in the Vice-Chancellor’s office and the Executive Team for their commitment in what has been a very busy, exciting and successful year for the University.
Professor Neil Quigley