University of Waikato announces new member to Council

University of Waikato Librarian Michelle Blake has been appointed to the University of Waikato Council starting in her new role this month.

10 Aug 2023

University of Waikato Librarian Michelle Blake has been appointed to the University of Waikato Council.

Michelle’s election to council was confirmed in June and she officially started in the role on 1 August.

She brings with her a wealth of committee, board and advisory group experience from across the University, in addition to her role leading the Library team.

In her two years at the University Michelle’s impact can be felt widely from mentoring other women in the University’s Women in Leadership Programme, to undertaking a transformation of the Library team to Indigenise its services.

Michelle also sits on the Academic Board, Research Committee, PostGraduate Research Committee and Academic Quality Committee. She is on the Teaching and Learning Strategic Advisory Group and Chair of the Information Governance Group. She represents the University on the Tauranga City Library and Community Hub Steering Group and is the Executive Sponsor for Archives NZ for the University.

“I’m certainly not one to shy away from a challenge. I like constructive conversation. I like things that will stretch me, if I know I also have the support around me,” says Michelle.

“I have been interested in how governance works for some time and I saw the opportunity to step into that space.”

Michelle has always worked in library roles. After studying Classics at Otago University, she spent time working at Victoria University before she went overseas for 15 years working first at the London School of Economics and later University of York.

“The thing I love about libraries is they have this bridge across all other areas of the University. A lot of what we do is very student focused, but we also do a lot for teaching staff providing resources they need to support students, the physical space and skills teaching,” says Michelle.

Work with research staff is also key and her hand was behind the launch of the Open Access Equity Fund which prioritises Māori and Pacific and early career researchers. Nationally she has also been involved in the development of a pan-University Statement with the aim of increasing publicly available research outputs to 70% by 2025.

“I am passionate about the power of universities to transform lives as I believe access to information and knowledge is key to addressing the challenges we face as a society,” says Michelle.

“I like to relook at things and see how we can do things better. I have seen first-hand the commitment of staff to making this a great place to study and work and I’m excited for this new challenge on the University Council.”



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