2. Vice-Chancellor's Overview

The 2010 year was one of important connections, milestones, and recognition for the University of Waikato. It was an extremely successful year on many fronts.

The University continued to manage enrolments carefully in a capped funding environment, ending the year on 102% of the Equivalent Full-Time Students target agreed with the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC). Negotiations with the TEC resulted in extra places for 2011 and 2012. The successful negotiation of additional funding for 2011 and 2012 will underpin the University’s ongoing efforts and initiatives to deliver the outcomes prioritised by Government.

The University celebrated two major milestones in 2010; 50 years of teacher education and 20 years since the Law School was established. Both events brought large numbers of former students on campus to reminisce and experience the changes to the campus. One of the largest visible changes, of course, is the creation of the new Student Centre which in 2010 was awarded a prestigious five-star rating from the New Zealand Green Building Council. It is the first educational building in the Waikato region to attain a five-star rating. This recognises the environmental and sustainable features of the design, which include specially selected and recycled materials, sophisticated lighting and heating controls and energy-generating lifts. Once complete in 2011, this magnificent building will enhance the student experience, and become the social heart of campus.

The Student Centre was also one of the many highlights remarked upon in the University’s Cycle Four Academic Audit, carried out in 2010. The final report commended Waikato for its Māori distinctiveness, its student pastoral care, its commitment to the regions it serves and its focus on research-led teaching. Also noted was the important contribution the University is making through its strong links with the Bay of Plenty region, the sustainability principles that are incorporated into a wide range of University activities, the commitment and achievements of the University’s research leaders, and the strong community engagement with a wide range of stakeholders.

Connecting with stakeholders is a vital part of the University’s role in the community and a major focus of mine. In 2010, as in every year, the University hosted a breakfast for regional business and community leaders. This is an excellent way to engage with stakeholders and inform key regional leaders about the University of Waikato’s social and economic contribution.

The University continued to engage with the Hamilton and wider Waikato community by hosting the Nightglow event of ‘Balloons Over Waikato’, taking part in Fieldays as a strategic partner and exhibitor in the premiere feature area, and supporting the Gallagher Great Race. The University also supported the Kudos Awards promoting excellence in science in the Waikato, and a range of performing arts events in Tauranga and in Hamilton. The community continued to enjoy the Academy of Performing Arts, where the outstanding acoustics and spaces cater for music, art and public seminars.

The University hosted its second Kīngitanga Day in 2010, marking Kīngi Tuheitia’s birthday. The University of Waikato also hosted the Te Amorangi National Māori Academic Excellence Awards, held at Tūrangawaeawae Marae. These events are an acknowledgement of the University’s very close ties with Tainui, Kīngi Tuheitia and the Kīngitanga movement. I also had the pleasure of visits to the East Coast and Northland to strengthen our many strong linkages with iwi throughout New Zealand.

Connecting internationally has remained a major focus for the University and specifically for my role as Vice-Chancellor. I visited India, and the Chancellor and I visited Taiwan and China during the year. As well as meeting alumni and friends of the University at various points, we were very pleased to sign agreements with leading Chinese universities, Renmin University in Beijing and Shanghai-based Tongji University. These agreements align particularly well with our focus on forging partnerships with a small number of top international universities.

As my role takes me off campus many times a year, I launched a new initiative called ‘VC on Demand’. It is a staff-only website and it helps me stay connected with staff and provides an opportunity for me to update staff on a whole range of issues. It also provides a forum whereby staff can pose questions on any topic and receive a response directly from me.

The University launched two new Research Centres in 2010 - the National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis (NIDEA) and the Institute for Business Research (IBR). More will be launched in 2011. All researchers across the organisation spent time in 2010, and will continue in 2011, preparing for the 2012 round of the Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF) quality evaluation.

Alongside research, teaching is crucially important at the University of Waikato. I am pleased to report that staff members Te Kahautu Maxwell and Dr Alison Campbell won two of 11 national Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards in 2010. The annual awards recognise practices that are student-focused and committed to promoting effective learning.

Marsden research funding of $5.5 million was secured in 2010 for nine different projects - the most successful year to date for University of Waikato academics. Meanwhile, our commercialisation arm, WaikatoLink, continued to build its portfolio of spin-out companies based on the innovative work by University researchers. At the end of 2010 WaikatoLink farewelled CEO Mark Stuart, Board Chair Dr Gerald Bailey and Board member Peter Schuyt.

The finalisation of the University’s reorganisation saw several new senior internal appointments that recognised the calibre of our staff and their willingness to take on new challenges.

I would like to publicly thank all our staff at the University of Waikato for another productive and successful year. I also congratulate all of our graduates for the successes that they are achieving both nationally and internationally.

Professor Roy Crawford
Vice-Chancellor, The University of Waikato

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