The University of Waikato
The University of Waikato/Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato was established in 1964 by the people of the region to enhance their social well-being, and to create a sustainable economic future for the region. The University's motto 'Ko Te Tangata' (for the people) symbolises our commitment to our region, and our role under the Treaty of Waitangi. It also emphasises the importance we place on people and that we exist for the benefit of our people.
From modest beginnings, the University now provides an educational experience that is multi- and interdisciplinary, comprehensive, research-led and student-focused to prepare graduates for careers and leadership in a global marketplace. High-quality teaching is a cornerstone of the University of Waikato and we have a student population of approximately 12,500, of who more than 3,700 complete a qualification annually.
The University of Waikato is committed to the region, but is an internationally connected, relevant and recognised university, creating and disseminating knowledge to the world and transferring global expertise to New Zealand. We are committed to meaningful partnerships and to providing leadership in research, scholarship and education that is highly relevant to the needs and aspirations of iwi and Māori communities. The University of Waikato is a national university, but with a focus on meeting the needs of its primary region – the central North Island, with campus facilities in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty, but also encompassing Hawke's Bay, Taranaki, East Coast and Northland.
The University is also a global institution sustaining on-going interactions and partnerships with international researchers and institutions. It services the needs of the Pacific, nation and region through engagement with iwi, industry, business, communities and government. In this way it fulfils its mission to connect and create and disseminate knowledge, and to create enhanced economic, sustainable and social outcomes in New Zealand and around the world.
Approximately 1,500 full-time staff are employed at the University of Waikato and it makes a major contribution to the New Zealand economy, particularly in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions. The University is a major driver of the Waikato region’s prosperity, contributing nearly $800 million in revenue to the Waikato economy last year, and $938 million for the New Zealand economy. That figure is expected to reach $1 billion in the next two years. Every dollar spent by the University resulted in $1.31 of flow-on revenue, and every job at the University generates another 1.2 jobs in New Zealand.
It is widely recognised that future economic growth and wealth in the Waikato and the Bay of Plenty depend heavily on the educational success of our people, and the creation of knowledge to drive innovation. These in turn depend on strong connections between the University and the communities we serve. Located as we are in the heart of Waikato Tainui country and on Tainui land, we are committed to working in partnership with Māori and towards the needs of iwi. As part of the Bay of Plenty Tertiary Education Partnership, with Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi and Waiariki Institute of Technology, we are progressing plans to build a new tertiary education and research facility in the Tauranga CBD to increase its capacity to deliver targeted research and tertiary education.
The University's Vision for the future has three key themes: Excellence, Distinctiveness and International Connectedness. We are committed to delivering a world-leading education and research portfolio, providing a full and dynamic university experience which is distinctive in character, and pursuing strong local and international linkages to advance knowledge.
We are building for this future on a foundation of excellence in teaching and research. Our students are taught in a research-intensive environment, by world leaders in their fields. We foster excellence in learning and scholarship, and as the creators of world-changing knowledge, we encourage our students to be leaders and innovators. We produce critical-thinking, future-focused graduates who are globally competitive and we do this by attracting and nurturing academic staff who are internationally connected and benchmarked and by providing world-class facilities. We are located in our region but we are working internationally to produce excellence in educational and research outcomes.
Our size allows us to focus on interdisciplinary programmes and solutions, provide professionally oriented study on and offshore, and ensure our students benefit through entrepreneurship and international placements resulting from our strong drive for internationalisation.
And we are already reaping the rewards of our focus on excellence. In 2014, the UK-based Times Higher Education rankings of the top universities under 50 years old placed the University of Waikato 44th in the world - top in New Zealand. The University of Waikato is also ranked in the top 2% of all universities in the world by Times Higher Education.
The University has a strong reputation for its excellent and innovative approach to student learning support and a track-record of effectiveness in supporting students in the transition into university study, particularly Māori, Pacific and first-generation tertiary students. We provide strong and accessible pathways from schools to university, and we work closely with polytechnics and wānanga to increase progression into degree-level study. As well as offering effective learning support to all students, Waikato Pathways College, in the Faculty of Education, offers English language and foundation programmes that are specially tailored to the needs of international students.
The University of Waikato invests heavily in the pastoral care of our students. The development and well-being of every student as an individual, and as a 'whole person', is an important dimension of the University's uniqueness. The Halls of Residence on campus, where pass rates of students are significantly higher than average, are a clear example of the University's focus on a supportive learning environment. Our campus environment in Hamilton is shared with the wider community, and we work closely with the Hamilton City Council and other local government agencies in the region to foster a dynamic student culture.
The University invests heavily in capital programmes to support learning, teaching and research and enhance the student learning experience. Our Student Centre, which opened in 2011, provides a 'first-stop-shop' for services to students; a Halls of Residence refurbishment programme is underway; and construction began in 2014 for a new Law and Management building. Meanwhile, the University of Waikato has entered into a partnership with the locally-based Avantidrome which will give staff and students access to top-level sports facilities and enhanced research and consultancy opportunities.
Several strands are brought together at the University of Waikato to deliver excellence, distinctiveness and international connectedness. Key among these is developing innovative researchers and providing world-changing research; a focus on internationalisation; supportive and relevant national and regional partnerships; sustainability in what we do paired with a culture of innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership across the organisation; and delivering a refined and future-proofed curriculum that keeps at its heart a world-class student experience.
Of great importance to us is our desire and drive to use relevant and responsive research to deliver a range of benefits to the region and nation, and to partner with Māori. Already on our journey we have embedded interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary programmes at the University and we place great emphasis on our research platforms including research centres and institutes. It is this interdisciplinary approach that is vital to helping solve national and global issues such as food supplies, population growth and decline, and access to clean water. We must maintain a focus on blue-sky research but also embrace a culture that allows for knowledge transfer to partners and to commercial markets. It is this that makes us a connected and connecting University that benefits our students, our staff, our region and our nation.
In 2015, following our jubilee year, it is obvious that the future for the University of Waikato is exciting. Our financial base is sound and we have mapped out for ourselves a clear and agreed framework for well-informed strategic investment decisions over the medium-term. We embrace our responsibility to future generations to build on what has been achieved during our first 50 years. We will continue to work closely with our stakeholders to create effective engagement and play an increasingly distinctive role in teaching and research. We are proud of the way in which our institution is strongly connected to the solving of national problems. We are proud of our region, and equally proud of our evolution into a truly New Zealand institution which, as our motto reflects, supports our country's nation-building policies and reflects our nation's identity.