2021 Annual Report of the University of Waikato

The Annual Report provides detailed information on the University's financial status and summarises the activities and achievements of the University.

2021 At a Glance

From the Chancellor

Sir Anand Satyanand ChancellorE tēnā koutou katoa, ngā mihi nui

I have been extremely proud to represent the University of Waikato as Chancellor throughout another very challenging year. In the second year of the Covid-19 pandemic, things that were once deemed ‘unprecedented’ have become business as usual, and once again we have seen students and staff of the University rise exceptionally well to the challenges presented.

This year the University Strategy was due for renewal, so it was timely for us all to consider the aspirations of the University over the coming years. Council agreed that the current Strategy has allowed the University to make progress on a range of fronts, however in emerging from the global pandemic it is important to have a Strategy to guide our responses to the challenges and opportunities that are now ahead of us.

A new Strategy (2022-2024) was approved at the end of this year and lays out our focus on recovering from the impacts of Covid-19 and on investment in work programmes that will ensure a sustainable future for the institution. A shorter than usual timeframe was adopted for this Strategy as Council focused on recovery from the impacts of the pandemic. The University’s Academic Plan and Research Plan were also renewed this year and are underpinned by the direction laid out in the new University Strategy.

Council membership underwent considerable change during the year. Its membership is a mixture of people either appointed by the Government or who are elected to office within the University on four year terms, or who are specifically appointed by the Māori King, or the Māori governance committee of Council, Te Rōpū Manukura, for two year terms.

This year saw the terms of professional director, Margaret Devlin, Te Rōpū Manukura representative, Ngareta Timutimu, and student representative, Kyla Campbell-Kamariera, come to an end. I have greatly valued their commitment and contribution to Council. At the end of 2021 Council welcomed professional director and accountant, Meleane Burgess, and in early 2022 welcomes Te Rōpū Manukura representative and Distinguished Alumna of the University, Parekawhia McLean (Ngāti Mahanga - Hourua, Waikato, Ngāti Maniapoto), and student representative, Lushomo Thebe. Their individual backgrounds demonstrate a range of capabilities to aid the work of the Council.

The University maintains a tradition of acknowledging significant high-level contribution to the New Zealand community with the conferral of Honorary Doctorates, the University’s highest honour. This year two well known New Zealanders received Honorary Doctorates at special ceremonies: Dr Paul Hunt, Chief Human Rights Commissioner and Sir Harawira Gardiner, soldier, civil servant and author.

In my report last year, I made mention of the University’s response to specific and broad concerns about racism. A Taskforce was established in 2020 following this, and was comprised of student and staff representatives from across the University community, as well as an appointee of Kīngi Tūheitia Pōtatau Te Wherowhero Te Tuawhitu. In March 2021, the Taskforce presented its detailed report to Council, with all recommendations accepted. The University appointed senior leaders, Dr Sarah-Jane Tiakiwai and Professor Alister Jones, to lead a work programme to progress the recommendations made and report to each Council meeting.

The work programme comprised three major end outcomes: that systemic and casual racism no longer have a place, that The Treaty of Waitangi is at the heart of the life and work of the University, and that mātauranga Māori is treasured. Further information on the progress of this work is included in this Annual Report, however of particular note:

  • 2021 saw the establishment of thought leadership groups across the University which will be instrumental in supporting the broader work programme of transformational change within the University and will ensure that discipline-specific attributes are included in the University response.
  • The development of the new University Academic and Research Plans throughout 2021 drew on the importance of incorporating mātauranga Māori into teaching, learning and research.
  • The Vice-Chancellor has independently led a project to produce a statement explaining The Treaty of Waitangi in the context of the University. This has in turn been subject to wide consultation with staff and students and once approved by Council will be published in English and te reo Māori.
  • Lastly, in 2021 the University appointed the well-known and respected public sector leader Parekawhia McLean, to the role of Chairperson of Te Rōpū Manukura; under Ms McLean’s leadership Te Rōpū Manukura will be reinvigorated and empowered to advance its contribution to the governance of the University.

A particularly special moment for me was in March when the University’s community of Pacific students and staff held a unique veiqaraqaravi vakavanua event to formally welcome me as Chancellor. In recognition of my own Fijian heritage and Pacific roots, I was honoured to receive gifts including a tabua (whale tooth). It was a truly special occasion that demonstrated the University’s distinctive Pacific culture and the commitment to creating better outcomes for Pacific people.

The year will be remembered for the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, with fewer overseas students but increased domestic enrolments, active research activities, the development of new and innovative global partnerships, and the advancement of digital delivery of many teaching programmes.

The words of a well-known saying or whakataukī sum it up – “Te Toia Te Haumatia.” “Nothing can be achieved without a plan, a workforce and a way of doing things.”

Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand GNZM QSO

Vice-Chancellor's Overview

Neil QuigleyE ngā mātāwaka o te motu, e rau rangatira mā, tēnā koutou katoa.

Rarau mai ki Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato, ki te ahurewa o tūmanako, o wawata, o moemoeā.

Pike mai, kake mai, whakatau mai ā te ngākau ki a koutou katoa.

The second year of the Covid-19 pandemic presented new challenges for the University of Waikato, and New Zealand. This year the University continued to operate throughout several outbreaks of the Covid-19 virus, including its Delta strain, fluctuations in Government restriction levels and other public health responses to contain the virus, as well as a sustained period of lockdown.

In addition to the overall disruption to teaching, learning, research and wider operations this caused, the University also operated the Hamilton and Tauranga campuses at different Covid-19 Alert Levels for several weeks. We also supported a large cohort of students in Auckland and Northland who were under different restrictions and unable to come to campus for an extended period.

Once again the University responded by putting students at the forefront of all decisions, including ensuring a flexible approach to teaching, accommodation and wider support services, and providing responsive and informative updates throughout lockdown and transitioning into the new traffic light system.

Feedback from students has reflected this experience. In particular, student satisfaction with the University’s Covid-19 response was 93%, compared to a global average of 80% (Student Barometer Survey). Staff satisfaction with respect to the University’s Covid-19 response was also high, with 75% saying the University had done its best to deal with challenging circumstances over the past two years.

The University was early to support the rollout of vaccination clinics, holding its first community clinic on Kīngitanga Day in partnership with Māori and Pacific health providers. As the Government began to highlight the increasing role that vaccine passes would play in mitigating restrictions, the University was also one of the first to announce a vaccine requirement for our campuses and sites. The decision was made on the basis of a comprehensive health and safety risk assessment, and reflected majority feedback from staff and students. The University’s vaccine mandate signalled our commitment to keeping our community safe, and to providing an excellent student experience with minimal disruptions.

As a consequence of strong additional demand from domestic students in 2021, the University made an application to TEC based on its year-end forecast for funding of up to 8,781 funded EFTS; this application was approved.

While a significant proportion of the growth in enrolments were as a result of enrolments in one year postgraduate programmes - most likely as a consequence of people looking to gain additional qualifications in response to changes to the job market under Covid-19 - the University has forecast a meaningful increase in pipeline over the next two years.

The University achieved 100% of its increased 2021 Student Achievement Component Funding. This represented achievement of 107.1% of original funding for 2021.

Growth through the University’s Tauranga campus remained strong with EFTS up 16% over 2020.

Although international enrolments have continued to decline, the University has made good progress with international partnerships and collaborations, including the launch of a new China Learning Centre, a strategic partnership with Cardiff University, and several new partnerships in India and Vietnam. This cements our progress as a global organisation and in developing pathways of future international students when travel allows.

The University’s overall financial result was testament to hard work across the organisation to be fiscally responsible, and achieving close to break even in a year that was predicted to have further deficit in the millions was a very pleasing outcome.

This year the University pioneered a number of new academic initiatives, garnering national exposure and positioning the University as offering innovative programmes in areas that are in high demand. These included the launch of the world’s first Bachelor of Climate Change degree, launch of Te Ipu o te Mahara, New Zealand’s first Artificial Intelligence Institute, and Te Raupapa, Waikato Management School’s inaugural economics forum, bringing together economists, business and social leaders, and public sector officials to discuss policy in a post-Covid-19 world.

At the beginning of 2021 the University welcomed its first cohort of Bachelor of Nursing students, following an unprecedented number of applications for the 2021 intake. The strong demand for places was in part recognition of the high quality of the teaching programme and its development jointly with the Waikato DHB. We also launched a new collaboration with Pūhoro Charitable Trust, to inspire more Māori students into science and technology career pathways.

New leadership appointments included Associate Professor Sandy Morrison, Acting Dean of Te Pua Wānanga ki te Ao - Faulty of Māori and Indigenous Studies, Professor Lynda Johnston in the newly created role of Assistant Vice-Chancellor Sustainability, Professor Craig Cary, who also took up a newly created role of Assistant Vice-Chancellor Performance-Based Research Fund, Professor Karin Bryan who joined as Dean of Graduate Research, and Michelle Blake who joined as University Librarian.

The University of Waikato has managed through another challenging, and at times incredibly disrupting, year with a focus on supporting student learning and student life at the highest level possible under pandemic conditions.

A lot of hard work by our staff has ensured that the quality of teaching and learning at the University has been maintained, and the grades of our students over the past two years reflect continuing high levels of achievement and student success, while also advancing the broader goals of the University.

My thanks to my colleagues on the University Council, to the University leadership team and to all staff members across our organisation for supporting the success of the University and our students.

Professor Neil Quigley

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