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News In Brief From Massey

News In Brief From Massey

A new chair in the field of sport will provide leadership for academic sport programmes. The chair will be one of few such in New Zealand and will coordinate programmes and research in academic colleges. With resources such as the adidas Institute of Rugby, the all-weather athletics track and the equestrian centre at Palmerston North, the new chair will position the University as a leader in sport education.

Public health research is taking a quantum leap forward. Three existing research centres within the University - the Auckland-based SHORE Centre, Te Pümanawa Hauora and Wellington's Centre for Public Health Research - are being joined by a new Sleep/Wake Research Centre, led by Professor Philippa Gander. The team was previously with the University of Otago's Wellington School of Medicine. The centres are now linked under a new Research School of Public Health.

A new survey shows strong support for euthanasia - with medical supervision. More than 70% of New Zealanders support assisted suicide for someone with a painful incurable disease, provided a doctor helps. But support drops to just under 50% for suicide assisted by someone else, and opposition increases from 17% to 38%.

New Zealand's first space satellite will launch from Russia in 2005 at the initiative of an amateur satellite group backed by the University. Albany research fellow Fred Kennedy is leading the construction of KiwiSat, a cube-shaped, spring-loaded satellite weighing between 5-10kg. It will launch attached to a larger Russian satellite and connect global amateur radio stations and is also an ideal vehicle to study the ozone layer.

Researchers from the College of Education are to look at how effectively our schools cater for gifted and talented children. The team has won a Ministry of Education contract to investigate the extent, nature and effectiveness of provisions for gifted and talented students in New Zealand. The need for research was recommended in a report to the Minister of Education.

Animal behaviourist Dr Kevin Stafford says the number of dog attacks appears to have decreased since the Dog Control Act was introduced in 1996. But he says the number of attacks always increases during summer when more dogs are taken for walk. Dr Stafford says the current legislation is sufficient but the issue is how to enforce it effectively.

Auckland businessman Dick Hubbard and former MP Dr Liz Gordon are new members of the University Council. The two were elected as representatives of alumni, from an outstanding field. Wellington businessman Nigel Gould is the new Chancellor. In other changes, new Vice-Chancellor Professor Judith Kinnear takes up the position in early March.

Bachelor of Social Work coordinator Jenny Jakobs is currently researching the reality of parenting teenagers. She is interested in "teenage messy bedrooms" as typical settings where parents' and teenagers' views may differ. She says it's a 'safe' topic in the sense that parents are prepared to talk about it.

In Wellington, Fringe NZ has celebrated the launch of this year's Ten Fast Years festival with an opening party in the Museum Building's Great Hall. The invitation-only event celebrated a decade of Fringe in the capital. Fringe NZ Director Tim Renner says the Massey Great Hall was chosen because it's an icon venue that's close to the heart of Wellingtonians.

Students benefit from farming bequest. A $500,000 bequest from a South Auckland farming couple will be used to give Massey students a 'hand up'.

The University has reached agreement with the NZ School of Dance to jointly teach a Graduate Diploma in Dance Studies. It will build on the University's reputation for education in performance, established through the Conservatorium of Music and the Bachelor of Maori Performing Arts. It will complement a planned Bachelor of Performance Design in partnership with the New Zealand Drama School.

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