Media Advisory April 22

The University of Waikato and its students generated $791 million in the Waikato economy last year – slightly up on the previous year - and contributed 4.5% of the region’s annual revenue.Independent economist Dr Warren Hughes has analysed Waikato University’s contribution to the region and country for the last few years and the 2012 figures show spending by the university generated $860 million in the New Zealand economy overall.That figure includes direct spending, student spending, and the flow-on effect into other sectors, including retail, transport, energy, sport and recreation and personal and community services. The university has about 12,500 students and 1500 staff and for every dollar generated by its operations, there was another $1.22 flow-on revenue across the regional economy. Hamilton students spent an estimated $138 million in addition to their university fees and accommodation. In Tauranga, students spent $5.4 million on personal expenditure and that makes the university responsible for creating 63 additional jobs in that city on top of its teaching and resulting flow-on employment. Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford says the results are pleasing in what are difficult economic times.

For better or worse, the story of life on Earth starts with thermodynamics. It is the interplay of energy, information, evolution and life which is the topic for University of Waikato biologist Professor Vic Arcus’ Inaugural Professorial Lecture next week. During the lecture Professor Arcus will consider the quote from famous Oxford chemist Professor Peter Atkins who said of the second law of thermodynamics that ‘no other law of science has contributed more to the liberation of the human spirit.’ “I’ll discuss whether the second law of thermodynamics contributes to our spirit or indeed, contributes to life on Earth at all,” says Professor Arcus. His Inaugural Professorial Lecture, Energy, Information, Evolution and Life, takes place next week, on Tuesday 30 April in the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. The Opus Bar is open from 5pm; the lecture begins at 6pm. Inaugural Professorial Lectures are the university’s way of formally introducing new or recently appointed professors to the wider community. All lectures are free and open to the public.

The University of Waikato will host New Zealand's annual Moodle Moot, this week. In 2008, the University of Waikato was the first New Zealand university to adopt Moodle as its learning management system. Now in 2013, Waikato is the first New Zealand university using Moodle to host the national conference for Moodle users. Moodle is an internet-based system for delivering e-learning programmes for educational and training organisations which is used around the world. The moot is a chance for users from around the country to get together and share their knowledge and experiences, says organising committee member and Moodle specialist Teresa Gibbison. Moodlers will attend hands-on workshops and discuss the technical development, how Moodle can aid teaching, and more general study during the three-day conference being held in the Waikato Management School this week, from 22-24 April. For more information visit

University of Waikato Earth and Ocean Sciences Professor Louis Schipper will discuss how working with soil microbes could help overcome problems caused by human acceleration of the nitrogen cycle at his Inaugural Professorial Lecture next month. Professor Schipper, who started his career as a PhD student studying denitrifying microbes in riparian wetlands, will explain how his career has moved from simple research to creating systems utilising those microbes to return excess nitrogen to the atmosphere as a gas. “Human acceleration of the global nitrogen cycle has increased food production for billions of people,” he says. “We have converted nitrogen gas in our atmosphere to biologically-available forms that substantially increase plant and animal growth. However, when nitrogen is in excess its movement through the landscape leads to multiple unwanted environmental effects. Completing the nitrogen cycle to return excess nitrogen to the atmosphere requires us to learn how to work with soil microorganisms.” Professor Schipper’s Inaugural Professorial Lecture takes place at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts on Tuesday, 21 May at 6pm. For more information on Professor Schipper’s work, visit: Inaugural Professorial Lectures are the university’s way of formally introducing new or recently appointed professors to the wider community. All lectures are free and open to the public.

Nominations will close for the University of Waikato Distinguished Alumni Awards this week, Friday 26 April. The Distinguished Alumni Awards celebrate and honour graduates of the University of Waikato who have made outstanding contributions in their careers or communities. Past awardees include Sir Jerry Mateparae, New Zealand’s Governor-General; Warren Gatland, Welsh Rugby Coach; Theresa Gattung, former Telecom CEO and Dr Craig Nevill-Manning, Director for New York Engineering at Google. Graduates of the university holding a degree or diploma are eligible for nomination. All nominations are confidential and take into account excellence in the professional, cultural, creative and voluntary sectors. Nominations from alumni, current and former staff and friends of the university are encouraged by 26 April. Visit for further information.

University of Waikato’s Professor Richard Coll and Dr Karsten Zegwaard have won the Ralph W. Tyler Award for Outstanding and Distinguished Research and Publication in the Field of Cooperative Education, Internships, and Work-Integrated Learning. It’s awarded by the US-based Cooperative Education and Internships Association, and is based on international nominations. Nominations are considered annually, but an award is not made each year unless the review panel believes it is justified. The award recognises Professor Coll and Dr Zegwaard for their outstanding and distinguished scholarly research in compiling the International Handbook for Cooperative and Work-integrated Education: International Perspectives of Theory, Research and Practice. The winning book was completed last year and is a major resource for cooperative education professionals worldwide. The book provides a broad coverage of cooperative education and work-integrated learning with an emphasis on practice that is informed by research.

University of Waikato Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar Cassie Storey recently won the New Zealand 1m Springboard Diving title. Second-year Law and Business Management student Cassie won the title at the March North Island championships in Wellington. The competition was a stepping stone to qualifying for the Australian Open Championship competition. “Because I won the competition I've qualified by points for the Australian Open champs which are in December,” says Cassie. “Springboard Diving is similar to Olympic diving. In a competition you get five dives, and each has to be a different type of dive like inwards, and reverse.” Training consists of spending five days a week training in the pool, as well as doing 'dry-work' on trampolines and in gymnastics gyms. Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarships are the University of Waikato's most prestigious scholarships and are awarded to students who are high academic achievers and are also achieving in the arts or sport. Scholars have their course fees covered, receive specialist coaching and mentoring and take part in personal development and leadership programmes.

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