Media Advisory June 27


The University of Waikato has appointed Professor Alister Jones as its new Deputy Vice-Chancellor. He will be responsible for research development, the academic curriculum, quality assurance and will continue to progress teaching and research collaborations at national and international levels. He also officially takes on responsibility for the university’s engagement with the Bay of Plenty including its current academic programmes and consideration of a new campus. Professor Jones has been Dean of the Faculty of Education since 2007. Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford says Professor Jones has established and maintained an excellent record for innovation in the field of education and is a key academic leader in the University. “Under his direction the Faculty of Education has earned substantial external contracts in research, curriculum and teacher development and he’s now been asked to extend his influence and expertise for the benefit of the whole university.” The Deputy Vice-Chancellor role includes looking closely at how to engage with stakeholders, particularly at regional level but at national and international levels as well.


Award winning film maker Gaylene Preston is one of the keynote speakers at a communication conference being held at the University of Waikato next month. The public are invited to join delegates at the Australia and New Zealand Communication Conference to hear her presentation and attend a screening of her latest film Home by Christmas. The conference theme is Communication on the edge: Shifting boundaries and identities and one of the organisers Professor C. Kay Weaver says Preston’s capacity to tell important New Zealand stories that combine entertainment and social message values, plus her experience on industry boards will bring a significant creative communication perspective to the conference. Overall, says Professor Weaver, the aim of the conference is to capture the spirit of communication in a rapidly changing world and to consider the impact of such change in communication on communities and organisations, particularly in the context of Australasia and the Pacific. Preston’s lecture takes place on Wednesday 6 July at 4.00pm and the film screening will be at 6.30pm. At another public address, communication expert Dr Cynthia Stohl (University of California, Santa Barbara) will talk about interaction and engagement in an era of technological change – how new social media and new communication technologies can be used to effect better communication in organisations. Her talk is at 10.15am on Wednesday 6 July and has been made possible by the Waikato Graduate Women’s Charitable Trust.


The University of Waikato Te Piringa-Faculty of Law student Rohan Wanigasekera has won the Environmental Defence Society (EDS) University Essay Competition for 2011. The essays could cover any environmental law topic. Wanigasekera’s essay, Aquaculture Reform – Consenting to a New Gold Rush?, looked at proposed reforms of legislation relating to aquaculture in light of the Government's renewed commitment to support aquaculture growth. Wanigasekera is currently in his final year of a Bachelor of Laws with honours degree at Waikato. As the winner of the competition, Wanigasekera had the opportunity to attend the recent EDS environmental conference: Coastlines, Spatial planning for land and sea, which was held at the SKYCITY Convention Centre in Auckland earlier this month. The EDS is a not-for-profit environmental organisation comprising resource management professionals who are committed to improving environmental outcomes within New Zealand.


What do disposable nappies have in common with catalytic converters? Both are based on the concepts of green design’. Green chemistry is sometimes referred to as “Benign by Design” and is the application of a set of principles that eliminates the use or generation of hazardous substances in the design, manufacture and application of chemical products. Gavin Cherrie, a chemical engineer who advises industry on redesigning processes to imitate the systems we see in nature, joins Dr Martin Markotsis who is a polymer scientist/chemist at Scion, to discuss green design at the next Tauranga Café Scientifique taking place tonight, Monday June 27 at 7.30pm at Alimento Cafe, 72 First Avenue, Tauranga. Café Scientifique is a place where, for the price of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology. Meetings have taken place in cafes, bars, restaurants & even theatres, but always outside a traditional academic context. For more information visit


Two inspirational speakers will tell secondary students about their experiences with pushing the limits and reaching goals at an afternoon tea hosted by the University of Waikato in Tauranga tomorrow. Project Analyst at Priority One Michelle McCarthy and current Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar Cynthia McNabb will talk about how they have created the opportunities to get them where they are today. They will be joined by university staff who will talk through the options available beyond secondary school in regards to scholarship funding and support, and pushing your “Edge of Stretch”. The Bay of Plenty Polytechnic will also present information about scholarship opportunities for those students who wish to start their study in the Bay through a partnership programme. Students will have an opportunity to speak with scholarship experts, current Hillary scholars and recruitment staff. The Tauranga High Achievers' Afternoon Tea will take place on Tuesday June 28, 2.30pm – 4pm at the Baycourt Community and Arts Centre, Durham Street, Tauranga.


In a perfect world every New Zealand adult should be literate and numerate, but that isn’t the case. The National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults, part of the Faculty of Education at Waikato University, is hosting a symposium later this week (Thursday June 30 – Friday July 1) which will highlight the many issues faced by adult learners, literacy and numeracy in the workplace, research being done in the field and new methods for teaching adults. The Centre’s Associate Director, Niki McCartney, says there has been substantial progress made in the last year. “We’re seeing some good results. A symposium like this lets us acknowledge our successes, but it is also a good time to consider what else needs to be done, to find out what’s working, what needs to be improved upon and to explore collaborations for further research.” The Minister for Tertiary Education, Steven Joyce, will speak to delegates on Thursday afternoon at 4pm.


Professor Dawn Penney from the University of Waikato's Faculty of Education holds her inaugural professorial lecture on July 12 at the Academy of Performing Arts. During her lecture, Making a Difference: Policies, People and Pedagogy in Physical Education and Sport, she will discuss how politicians, educators, parents and members of the public have various expectations for what young people will learn as a consequence of participating in physical education and sport. Research shows that for better or worse, experiences of physical education and sport at school do make a difference to young people’s lives. Drawing on research and addressing international developments in physical education and sport, this lecture directs attention to policies, people and pedagogy in addressing what and who influences learning opportunities in physical education and school sport, and how provision for all young people can be enhanced. The lecture begins at 6.30pm on July 12 and is free and open to members of the public.


Waikato University psychology lecturer Dr Robert Isler, a road safety expert, is overseeing a student team project which aims to understand more about just why young drivers speed. They need volunteers, male and female, from different stages of their licence. This includes people on a restricted licence, on a full licence but under 25 years of age, and finally, drivers on a full licence but older than 25. Dr Isler has been researching the subject for 22 years and says the safety message doesn’t seem to be getting through. New Zealand Transport Agency figures show teenagers are more at risk of a serious crash in the first six to 12 months of driving solo on a restricted licence than at any other age. It also says road crashes are the single biggest killer of 15 to 19-year-olds. “We want to run this experiment because we’re concerned about these drivers, very often they are speeding and drinking and driving. We want to find out why they are so vulnerable and why people are speeding, even though they know they shouldn’t,” Dr Isler says. He would like to see drivers spending more time being supervised by parents or instructors. “More than just 10 or 15 hours. It should be up to 120 hours, at the very least. They should be practising every day, and not just going up to the dairy. They need to practise, they need experience.” The experiment is expected to get under way in early or mid-July.

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