1. Chancellor's Overview

It is my pleasure to again be reporting to you about the University of Waikato’s success for another year. The University, as it heads towards its 50-year celebration in 2014, is robust and healthy and is cementing a strong national and international reputation.

Despite the global recession, which in 2010 continued to put pressure on many sectors, and the tight tertiary funding environment, the University of Waikato had another good year. We finished 2010 with very strong enrolments and a financial surplus. It is a credit to the University’s planning and financial management that the surplus of 4.5% exceeds the 3.5% target set out in the Strategic Plan and is well within the 3%-5% range recommended by the Tertiary Education Commission. This is a strong outcome. The Tertiary Education Commission’s assignment of a “Low Risk” rating as part of its new Financial Monitoring Framework is an important affirmation of Government’s confidence in the management and viability of the University.

As part of the University’s ongoing development of its strategic planning framework, Council approved several key plans in 2010. I am pleased to say all the plans that make up the University’s strategic planning framework are nearly complete and I look forward to the balance being approved in 2011.

The Investment Plan is the basis for the organisation’s funding for the next two years. The Tertiary Education Commission’s approval of the University’s new Investment Plan, and the subsequent funding associated with it, is a positive endorsement of the University’s strategic direction. It shows a high level of trust and confidence in the University’s commitment to achieving outcomes that are aligned with Government’s Tertiary Education Strategy.

The University delivered a strong overall performance against its 2010 Investment Plan Key Performance Indicators, which are reported in the Statement of Service Performance in this Annual Report. Of particular importance as the University moves into a performance-linked funding environment, are the indicators relating to student academic achievement. Council is pleased to note the wide range of activities and programmes in support of student retention, pass rates and completion rates.

The University of Waikato continues to contribute strongly to the Bay of Plenty’s Tertiary Action Plan. The University works in partnership with the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic to deliver education solutions for the region and in 2010 Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi joined the partnership. The Bay of Plenty remains an area of real interest as well as potential growth for the University and the trio of education providers, plus civic and business organisations, are investigating the development of a Tauranga university campus.

The University appointed new internal auditors in 2009 and carried out a full internal audit programme in 2010 of the University’s most significant risk areas. External auditor, Audit NZ, was pleased with the University’s progress in strengthening its internal controls, which resulted in higher ratings.

In 2010 a new approach was developed for the University managing and reporting its major risks; I am pleased to report that as a result of this, risk management will be better integrated with the strategic planning process.

The University has also recognised the need to build on its fundraising opportunities. In tight tertiary and economic environments, donations help us deliver a world-class experience for students. It was pleasing to see a successful 2010 alumni appeal, and the University anticipates building further on this in coming years.

I have enjoyed meeting alumni throughout 2010 and seeing the enthusiasm they have for their University. It is especially gratifying celebrating the many successes of so many graduates. In particular in 2010 the University acknowledged three Distinguished Alumni - Dr Craig Neville-Manning from Google; the first CEO of Kiwibank, Sam Knowles; and leading businessman Lt Col Tenby Powell - at an annual black-tie awards dinner.

The University’s prestigious Honorary Doctorate was conferred in 2010 on Max Gibbs, Margaret Bedggood QSO, Jon Mayson CNZM and Roka Paora QSM.

The University’s Professor Ngahuia Te Awekotuku was named a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2010 New Year’s Honours list. Later in the year Professor Terry Healy was awarded the same honour in the Queen’s Birthday Honours; sadly Professor Healy died just weeks later. Senior retiring staff were acknowledged by the University, with three new Emeritus Professorships bestowed in 2010 upon Tamati Reedy, Ian Pool and Jane Ritchie.

I thank outgoing Council members, Professor Alexandra Barratt and Tony Dicks, for their strong contributions to the governance of the University, and I look forward to welcoming new members to Council in 2011. Already in 2010 Council has welcomed the new chair of Te Rōpū Manukura, Timoti te Heuheu and Dr Brian Linehan, having been appointed to Council for a further term by the Minister of Education, was re-elected Pro-Chancellor for 2011.

My sincere thanks go to the Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford and Council for a successful year. I am extremely pleased with the achievements in 2010 and the progress the University has made. I look forward to another equally successful year in 2011.

Rt Hon Jim Bolger ONZ
Chancellor, The University of Waikato

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