Media Advisory October 8


The latest set of university world rankings has seen the University of Waikato at its highest ranking ever. The 2012-2013 UK-based Times Higher Education rankings of the world’s universities puts Waikato at 302, up from 318 last year. University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford says the new ranking of 302 for Waikato is a solid achievement. “We are an excellent university that regularly does well in these all-important rankings. As we look ahead to celebrating 50 years since our 1964 founding, it is pleasing to see all our hard work gaining international recognition.” The rankings are based on teaching, research, citations, industry outcome/innovation and international outlook. Waikato climbed 16 places in the latest world rankings, more than any other New Zealand university. Professor Crawford says the university has come a long way in its first 50 years due to the excellence of its staff. “If you consider that the Times Higher Education is reviewing about 5000 universities around the world, this is a strong endorsement of the work Waikato staff are doing to deliver internationally benchmarked and highly regarded teaching and research.”


A Waikato academic is providing a new approach for becoming a ‘global citizen’. Professor Tina Besley, Director of the University of Waikato’s Centre for Global Studies in Education, says despite the best efforts of various institutions, global citizenship is not yet a reality. “Recent incidents such as the explicit anti-Westernism expressed by much of the Muslim world over one rogue filmmaker’s action, and the simmering issues between Māori and others in New Zealand over the notions of ‘ownership’ and ‘rights’, show that there is still plenty of work to be done in addressing issues of interculturalism and dialogue.” She says schools and universities promote global citizenship to their students through emphasising themes such as social justice, diversity, human rights and sustainable development, while corporations emphasise the global marketplace, international management strategy, cultural competencies and business ethics. Professor Besley will discuss the topic further at her free Inaugural Professorial Lecture taking place tomorrow, 6pm, Tuesday 9 October, at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. Inaugural Professorial Lectures are the university’s way of formally introducing new or recently appointed professors to the wider community.


This Friday the Wallace Corporation University of Waikato Blues Awards take place. The Blue is a prestigious award for excellence in sport or creative and performing arts and recognises national excellence through to world champions. Thirty six University of Waikato students will be recognised for their athletic achievements this year, alongside 16 students who are achieving in the creative and performing arts world. Among the awards to be given out will be the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year, Māori Person of the Year and Creative and Performing Arts Person of the Year. The Wallace Corporation University of Waikato Blues take place this Friday, October 12, at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. For more information visit


A Waikato University computer science student has been awarded a prestigious Woolf Fisher Scholarship, worth about $100,000 a year for up to four years, to study for a PhD at Cambridge University in the UK. Katie de Lange is one of three recipients and only the second Waikato student to win a Woolf Fisher Scholarship, which rewards brilliant young New Zealand graduates who possess leadership skills, boldness of vision and exceptional zeal, keenness and capacity for work – qualities admired by the late Sir Woolf Fisher, co-founder of Fisher and Paykel. De Lange’s field of interest is biomedical informatics, and she’s excited that Cambridge is home to the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, one of the leading world centres for analysing and understanding genomes. De Lange is a keen sailor and holds a Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship for University of Waikato students who excel in academia, sports or the creative and performing arts. She is also the recipient of a three-month Google scholarship at the company’s Sydney office, which she will take up before she heads for Cambridge to start her doctoral studies in October next year. The Woolf Fisher Scholarships were established in 2003 by the Woolf Fisher Trust and are now also supported by the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust. Up to three scholarships are awarded each year to outstanding New Zealand graduate students for doctoral study at Cambridge University.


A man who’s played a big part in Hamilton’s art scene for more than 60 years will receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Waikato next week. Campbell Smith, artist, poet and playwright is a life member of the Waikato Society of Arts and a former Art Gallery Director of the Waikato Art Museum. He is one of New Zealand’s most noted wood engravers and many of his works reflect the river and its bridges. A book called Lines of Light features 110 of his wood engravings and his work is in collections at the Waikato Museum and Te Papa. “Mr Smith’s contribution to the arts in Hamilton and the Waikato, as an administrator and a practising creative artist, has been huge, and we’re delighted to acknowledge that by conferring our top honour,” says University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford. “Mr Smith has been referred to as the elder statesman of the arts in Hamilton, and he and his colleagues laid a strong foundation for a thriving arts community we have today.” Mr Smith will have his honorary doctorate conferred during the first of two University of Waikato graduation ceremonies on 17 October at the Claudelands Arena.


A leader in the development of New Zealand’s internationally respected analytical testing industry is to receive the University of Waikato’s highest honour. Dr Roger Hill, founder and managing director of Hamilton-based Hill Laboratories, will be awarded an Honorary Doctorate at the University’s graduation afternoon ceremony on 17 October. Hill Laboratories, which Dr Hill established in 1986, is now New Zealand’s largest privately-owned commercial laboratory with more than 250 employees. “The honour is in recognition of Dr Hill’s substantial contributions to the regional and national economy, and his services to science, to the University of Waikato, and to the wider community,” says University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford. Roger Hill trained as a chemist before setting up an agricultural and horticultural testing service in Hamilton East with his wife Anne. Today, his company Hill Laboratories has four divisions – agricultural, environmental, and food and bioanalytical, plus a satellite laboratory in Christchurch and a sales office in Japan.


A three-year, FRST-funded study into positive ageing has wrapped up with employers and research participants keener to work together to ensure older people are better served and can better participate in their communities. Researchers from the University of Waikato Management School and Massey University worked with representatives from Hamilton’s Age Concern, home-based older people and members of the Rauawawa Trust, and different businesses to learn about what happens when elders and representatives interact and how these interactions can be improved. Society’s move towards self-service is problematic for some of the older people and the lack of face to face contact with some organisations can lead to elders feeling frustrated. From their study, the researchers carried out face-to-face interviews and focus groups with 123 elders and kaumatua, and got some to keep observation logs. They also interviewed frontline staff at a variety of organisations and businesses – including medical and health organisations, retail outlets and banks. The researchers have now developed a set of practices to facilitate interactions and make them more positive. “There were three areas that we considered,” says Dr Margaret Richardson from Waikato Management School, “the levels of complexity in an organisation, and with things like online or phone instructions, the physical environment including technology, and the flexibility of systems. And there are things older people can do to help themselves, such as asking for help, using disability aids, avoid banking and shopping at peak hours and being open to new products and new ways.”


Waikato University is hosting a range of events during October as part of its annual Postgraduate Month. Throughout the month the university is holding seminars and workshops for students considering postgraduate study, those midway through or finishing their research, and those starting their careers outside academia. Staff workshops are also being held for doctoral supervisors and exam conveyors. Back again is the ever-popular Thesis in 3 competition which sees doctoral students outline their theses in just three minutes and carries a $5000 prize to go towards their research. The final takes place at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts on 24 October at 7pm, and is free and open to the public. For more information visit


The University of Waikato has been offering performance music courses for 25 years and to celebrate is hosting two public concerts this weekend – a variety showcase that will feature past and present music students and a gala concert where Music Programme staff will perform – including New Zealand Chamber Soloists, Dame Malvina Major and composers David Griffiths, Martin Lodge and Michael Williams. “We’ve come a long way in 25 years, and we’re still growing,” says Programme Convenor Associate Professor Martin Lodge. “Every member of staff is a practitioner – a professional composer, a professional performer or a published musicologist. Our focus has always been on quality – that’s what we’re good at.” Dr Lodge says they place a lot of emphasis on benchmarking what they do to a strong international level, and on what it takes to achieve on the world stage. “Students need to realise that more than just technical expertise is needed to be a really successful, creative musician.” For the 25th celebrations, the student and alumni Variety Showcase takes place this Saturday, 13 October, and the Gala Concert is on Sunday, 14 October. Both concerts will be held at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts and tickets can be purchased there or from Ticketek.


University of Waikato political science Professor Dan Zirker will hold a public lecture next week discussing the significance of the upcoming United States election. Most New Zealanders are aware the November US election will be significant – New Zealand has close ties with the US government and people, and our countries have had close trade relations. Professor Zirker will outline the complex rules that govern US elections and address what this elections issue are and whether New Zealanders should be concerned. The lecture takes place next week on 16 October, in S.1.02, from 7-8.30pm, and is free and open to the public.


Cambridge University Physics Professor Sir Richard Friend will speak at the University of Waikato this week. He pioneered the study of organic polymers and electronic properties of molecular semiconductors and his work has led to the development of LEDs and photovoltaic cells used to develop flat panel displays and screens. He was knighted for his services to physics in 2003. As the 2012 Royal Society of New Zealand distinguished speaker, Sir Richard will be lecturing around New Zealand throughout the month and speaks at the university’s Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts at 7.30pm, Friday 12 October. The lecture is free and open to the public.

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