Media Advisory March 3

The Faculty of Education has achieved a notable first for the University of Waikato, being ranked in the top 50 in the world in the latest QS Subject Rankings released last week. Education came in at 46 on the rankings, with four other subjects taught at the University - Computer Science and Info Systems, Economics/Econometrics, Law and Modern Languages – ranked between 101-150. Faculty of Education Dean Professor Roger Moltzen says the result is due to a lot of dedicated effort from all staff in the faculty. Last year Education was ranked between 51-100. The QS rankings are generally considered among the most influential of university ranking systems and are based on academic and employer surveys, research citations for each subject area, the ratio of students to staff and the number of international students and staff at the university.

The rise in extreme events, escalating urbanisation and the value of water to the economy means planners need to think of new ways for water and flood control. The University of Waikato will have some of its top researchers in Wellington on Thursday to discuss with stakeholders and policy makers the many and varied issues around water, and the different implications strategies will have on land, lakes, rivers and the economy. One of the forum presenters will be Waikato University’s new environmental planning Professor Iain White who says any approach needs to be integrated and planned for a much longer time period than is the norm. Other presenters at the forum will be Professor David Hamilton – the chief science officer of a 10-year, $10 million programme on lake biodiversity restoration, international conservation commentator law Professor Alexander Gillespie, Linda Te Aho who helped draft the Waikato River co-management plan, economist Professor Les Oxley and Professor of Agribusiness Jacqueline Rowarth. The Fresh Water – Fresh Thinking forum takes place on Thursday, March 6, 4pm–6.30pm at the InterContinental Hotel, Wellington.

Orientation activities continue this week. To celebrate the University’s 50th anniversary, tomorrow (March 4) about 300 students and staff will put on red t-shirts and form a number 50 on the grass which will be photographed from above. Waikato Students’ Union has begun its ORI2014 programme for the week that includes bands, performances, comedians, bodypainting, the meat pie mile, a movie on the Village Green, prize giveaways, Zombie Zumba and a mini-Olympics. Clubs Day is on March 5 - student clubs will showcase a diverse range of interests, including languages and culture, sports and hobbies, politics and academic pursuits. On March 8, the University and WSU will host their first family day targeting students with young families with a picnic, a magician and some games and giveaways. Find out more about what is happening at orientation 2014. For more on WSU ORI2014, visit

The University of Waikato's first inaugural professorial lecture for the year will focus on finance. Professor Stuart Locke wants New Zealanders to become more financially savvy. It concerns him that students leave school with little knowledge of how to handle money, and later there is little opportunity to get to grips with the likes of mortgages, floating and fixed interest rates, KiwiSaver, and the share market. Much of Professor Locke's research has focussed on aspects of governance and its impact on business. He says small businesses often fail because owners do not fully understand financial management, and in big business if you lack financial knowledge then you can’t participate in high-level decision-making. Professor Locke’s lecture is on Tuesday, March 11 at the Academy of Performing Arts at 6pm.The Inaugural Professorial Lecture Series at the University of Waikato introduces our newest professors to the community. The lecture are free and open to the public.

The University of Waikato’s Coastal Marine Field Station staff will lead a coastal bike ride ‘with a difference’ as part of the Marine Station’s annual Open Day on Saturday, March 8 in Tauranga. The family-friendly bike ride will follow trails around the harbour coastline, and parts of Waikareo Estuary. En route, Professor Chris Battershill and Caine Taiapa will talk about the area’s biodiversity and numerous ecological and cultural points of interest. Between noon and 4pm, the Marine Station will be open for people to come and learn more about our thriving marine environment. The free activities include observing microscopic marine life, searching sand core samples for small marine organisms, conducting simple science experiments and a scavenger hunt. The two-hour bike ride leaves the Coastal Marine Field Station, Cross Road, Sulphur Point, at 10am. To register for the ride, please email, or phone 07 577 5376. For more information visit the events calendar and click on community notices.

A chance meeting on Robben Island, outside the prison where Nelson Mandela was held for 27 years has led to a profitable and rewarding collaboration for Waikato law Professor Neil Boister. He has been awarded a Freidrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award by the German-based Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in recognition of his achievements in international and transnational criminal law research. Professor Boister was nominated by Dr Florian Jessberger, professor of criminal law at the University of Hamburg, Germany. They met by chance when visiting Robben Island in 2001, got talking and since then Professor Boister has visited Hamburg and they are now planning to work on a project on the EU’s influence on the development of transnational criminal law. The Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel award is worth €45,000 a year and in addition, the award winners are invited to carry out research projects of their own choice in cooperation with specialist colleagues in Germany.

March is book month in Hamilton and the University of Waikato is hosting a variety of events that celebrate authors and their writing. Science writer Rebecca Priestly will talk about her journeys to Scott Base in Antarctica and to Raoul Island in the Kermadecs and the challenges of writing about science and issues around science communication. This takes place on March 5 at the university chapel at 6.30pm. Also on campus, there will be a 'good reads' panel featuring various authors at 6.30pm on March 13 in the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts and on March 27 at 6.30pm in the Student Centre a panel of book collectors will talk about their book finds in a 'Collectors’ Road Show'. See the full programme of events.

WAIKATO SCIENCE STUDENTS TACKLE CANCER AND MEMORY RESEARCH Preventing breast cancer, reducing the toxicity of radiotherapy and chemotherapy side effects, and analysing memory function during anaesthesia, were the topics for three students from the University of Waikato, who have just completed summer studentships. Laura Bell, Kirsty Mayall and Stephen Evans were each awarded a Waikato Clinical School Summer Studentship worth $5000. Laura and Kirsty are about to embark on their second year of a Master of Science (MSc), while Stephen is in his first year of a PhD. All three students are focusing on biomedical science and will each take their studentship research topic to the next level throughout 2014, as part of their degree.

A seminar looking at children’s risk-taking in outdoor play will be held this Friday at the University of Waikato in Tauranga. Dr Helen Little from Macquarie University’s Institute of Early Childhood will discuss research which provides insight into risky play as a central feature of the outdoor play environment. She will also discuss the challenges faced in the area of Early Childhood Education in being able to support acceptable risk-taking that promotes children's social and physical development. Dr Little is a lecturer and trained early childhood teacher. Her current research focuses on how the space and physical features available in the outdoor environment impact on children's experiences of risk-taking in play. The free seminar will be of interest to early childhood and primary teachers, regional planners and playground designers. It will take place at 1pm on Friday, March 7, Room A.04, Windermere Campus, Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, Tauranga. Please register your attendance by emailing 

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