Media Advisory May 20

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 tomorrow, Tuesday 21 May. 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. "We have converted nitrogen gas in our atmosphere to biologically-available forms that substantially increase plant and animal growth. 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 tomorrow, Tuesday 21 May, 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.

World-renowned clinical psychologist Dr Lenny Kristal is holding a leadership seminar at the University of Waikato today, 20 May. Dr Kristal is co-founder and president of Cognisess Ltd, a company that specialises in the way people process and respond to information around them. He has developed game-based, scientifically robust assessments which can be used to find the best person for the job as much as finding the best job for the person. And based on "neuroplasticity", the company also "brain trains" individuals to help them sharpen their cognitive strengths and improve their deficits. Dr Kristal's seminar, The Impact of Cognitive and Emotional Factors in Emotional Leadership, is in MSB.4.02 at 1pm.

The Consul-General of China, Mr Niu Qingbao, speaks on China's Foreign Policy and the Sino-New Zealand Relationship at the University of Waikato on 23 May. Mr Qingbao will be accompanied by the Education Consul of China, Professor Hu Yanchu, and will deliver the presentation at the invitation of the university. Pro-Vice Chancellor International, Associate Professor Ed Weymes, says it is honour to have the Consul-General of China visit the campus, and the presentation will be of value for anyone with an interest in doing business in China. The presentation will be held on Thursday 23 May from 1.30–2.30pm in the WSU Room, Level 1 of the Student Centre (M Block). The public are welcome to attend.

Waikato's Te Piringa - Faculty of Law hosts the 11th IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Colloquium from 24-28 June this year. Hosting international environmental law conferences in New Zealand is a rare event, and the 2013 colloquium will be only the third international environmental law conference to be held in New Zealand since 1991, and the first time that the colloquium has been hosted in this country. The Academy was established by the International Union for Conservation (IUCN) in 2003, and has grown to become a network of more than 500 environmental law academics from more than 160 universities based in more than 50 countries. Trevor Daya-Winterbottom is Associate Dean Research at Te Piringa - Faculty of Law and chair of the organising committee for this year's colloquium. He says for a country that has significant economic focus on primary production, developing a coherent body of sound environmental law is an important foundation for future growth and prosperity. "Hosting the colloquium in New Zealand provides a unique opportunity for thought leadership, exposing our environmental law academics to leading international developments in the field from other countries, and similarly providing an opportunity for overseas academics to learn something from us." For more information go to

A group of University of Waikato academics say rather than narrowing the New Zealand curriculum through assessment driven teaching and reporting to standards, schools should be focusing on engaging, challenging and inspiring their students; do that and achievement will follow. Drs Deborah Fraser, Viv Aitken, and Barbara Whyte from Waikato's Faculty of Education have just released a new book called Connecting Curriculum, Linking Learning. The trio is advocating integrated learning where the arts, including a drama technique called mantle of the expert, play a major role in the classroom. Dr Fraser says the levels of student engagement in a subject can be outstanding when working this way. The academics worked with five primary schools of varying deciles in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty, and outline seven case studies in the book. "This type of teaching can work alongside current Ministry demands," says Dr Fraser. "But it reminds teachers that they don't have to sell their souls - it's a creative, responsive form of teaching that serves the needs of students and is relevant to them. It also offers students multiple opportunities to initiate, collaborate with others, and contribute to their communities." She says it's so much more than ingesting knowledge.

University of Waikato music students June and Jarvis Dams, soprano and baritone, have both been selected for this year's Astoria Music Festival Vocal Apprenticeship Program taking place in Astoria, Oregon next month. The pair auditioned (online) at the suggestion of senior teaching fellow Dame Malvina Major and will now spend three weeks in Astoria focussing on opera; they'll receive voice coaching, attend daily German or Italian conversation classes and stage two full operas. They've had their parts confirmed for Gianni Schicchi by Puccini and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and have been frantically learning their roles in advance. June, the elder of the siblings, is in the final year of her Doctor of Musical Arts at Waikato and is a Hillary Scholar at Waikato. Jarvis, a Hillary alumnus, graduated with a Masters of Music last year and is now studying towards a Postgraduate Diploma (Music) in professional performance practice.

Domestic violence and its influence on the mental health of victims and their families is being addressed as part of a new masters thesis by Waikato University psychology student Claire Troon. Specifically, Claire will investigate how men who are perpetrators of domestic violence perceive the effects of violence on children, the mothers of those children and on their own role as parents. The research will also consider the far-reaching effects of psychological abuse and other tactics of power and control. Claire's been awarded a $500 scholarship by the Waikato Health Memorabilia Trust to assist with her research which is being conducted through the Hamilton Abuse Intervention Project (HAIP). Alongside her masters, Claire is in the second year of Waikato University's three-year clinical psychology programme.

The granddaughter of Māori Battalion commander Sir James Henare is one of three Waikato University students to be awarded 2013 Ngārimu VC 28 (Māori) Battalion Scholarships. Te Rina Popata says she was inspired to apply, (in te reo), knowing the history of her grandfather who not only rose to commander in the Māori Battalion but was also a major leader in the kōhanga movement. Te Rina is a first-year law student and has been awarded $10,000 a year for the duration of her undergraduate degree. Kiharoa Milroy, grandson of noted Māori language Professor Te Wharehuia Milroy, has been awarded an undergraduate scholarship while he studies for his Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Teaching degrees. Across campus, PhD student Curtis Bristowe has been awarded $25,000 for his research into the formation of a kaupapa Māori-inspired strategic framework to guide and focus Māori filmmaking practice. He hopes his thesis will be used by Te Ao Pāpāho Māori (the Māori broadcasting world) to contribute towards the survival and prosperity of Māori language and culture.

Waikato Management School lecturer Associate Professor Jens Mueller has been named "Professor of the Year" by Executive MBA participants at Northern Illinois University's College of Business where he also lectures. Dr Mueller was presented with the award for his Global Business Management course and it’s the fourth time he's received a teaching excellence award from the American university. NIU's MBA director Dr Ann Carrell says the fact Dr Mueller has won the award four times is a sign of his teaching excellence. "He has the ability to connect to business leaders, no doubt coming from his decades of chair and CEO experience in global firms." Next year, Dr Mueller intends to combine some of the Waikato participant groups with those in Chicago, to have each cohort learn the unique problem-solving skills of the other group.

The University of Waikato is sending Deans and senior academic staff to Christchurch and Auckland to promote postgraduate and undergraduate study at the University. The expo-style events, which will run from 4-7pm, will be held in Christchurch on 29 May at the Chateau on the Park and in Auckland on 10 June at the Viaduct Events Centre. They will be attended by recruitment, enrolment and scholarship staff, as well as Faculty Deans and other senior academic staff, giving participants the opportunity to speak directly with faculty heads and lecturers.

A University of Waikato alumnus will brave ice, snow, and altitude when he takes on the highest race in the world - the Tenzing Hillary Marathon. Qualified snowboard instructor, international level wake-boarder, action sports fanatic, and former Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar Chris Dunn will travel to Nepal to complete the marathon. The Tenzing Hillary Marathon starts on 29 May at Everest Base Camp (5364m) and travels 42km through the Himalyas to Namche Bazaar (3446m). The marathon was created to commemorate the first successful ascent of Everest by Tenzing Norgay and Sir Ed in May 1953. Chris was a Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar for two years. The University of Waikato is supporting Chris, helping cover his training costs and being in Nepal. The Sir Edmund Hillary scholarships are the University of Waikato's most prestigious scholarship for students who are high academic achievers that are also achieving in the arts or sport and display leadership qualities. It was created to mirror the values of Sir Edmund Hillary. To see how Chris is getting on visit

Victoria University Associate Professor Mark McGuinness will give a free public lecture at the University of Waikato this week on 22 May discussing volcanoes. It is the third of the Royal Society of New Zealand’s 10x10 lecture series. Dr McGuinness will discuss how mathematics can be used to help understand how expanding gases break rock and cause hot rock and ash to erupt violently from earth to air in huge black clouds. Recent mathematical modelling has been inspired by laboratory observations of exploding rocks and dusts, and this lecture will explain the implications of this modelling for the homogeneity of ejected materials. The lecture is free and open to the public and takes place in S.G.01 on 22 May, starting at 7.30pm. For enquiries, contact 04 470 5770 or

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