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Massey Uni's Online News

Issue: 6. 2 May, 2003 News Briefs

A new national centre of music excellence would be established under a proposal before Massey and Victoria universities. The proposal, for a new, joint School of Music, reflects the strong upsurge of interest in music studies within Wellington. The two universities have signed an agreement to explore co-operation, opening a six-week consultation period. They say would demand a high degree of commitment, co-operation and trust. It already has support from the Wellington City Council and the NZSO.

A biocommerce centre planned for the Manawatu could have a major impact on the region's future. Building on the agricultural backbone of the province, it will draw on the research and technical expertise of the University, the adjacent CRIs and existing local business to create a 'one-stop shop' for new business development. It is expected to cost up to $7 million over five years and will receive $2 million in funds from Industry New Zealand.

Renowned botanist Dame Ella Campbell has lent her name to the University's herbarium, based at the Palmerston North campus. Dame Ella, now 92, was the University's first woman staff member, starting in March 1945. She is internationally known for her study of liverworts and her vast collection of the species is held at the herbarium.

A multi-university project is producing an electronic tutor that will use non-verbal cues as clues to a student's comprehension. Researchers are fast coming up with the world's first intelligent computer tutor that assesses a student's state of learning using non-verbal cues. The Next Generation Intelligent Tutoring System is being developed by computer scientists, information systems developers and neuropsychologists from Massey's Albany campus, the University of Auckland, AUT and the University of Canterbury, with educational multimedia specialists, The Learning Curve.

The Vice-Chancellor Professor Judith Kinnear is reviewing the University's senior management structure. She says the purpose is to identify a management structure that will best equip the University to move forward in circumstances where it must be proactive in shaping its academic future as well as suitably reactive to Government policy initiatives.

King launches Research School of Public Health. The University's new Research School of Public Health "Dream team" is on a roll, says Health Minister Annette King.

Massey educationalists note warning signs in an international survey on children's reading which shows a dramatic drop in the performance of New Zealand children over the past 10 years. College of Education Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor James Chapman and Professor of Educational Psychology Bill Tunmer say it is particularly disturbing to find New Zealand almost the lowest of the English speaking countries. We also have one of the largest gaps between good and poor readers.

Professor Bob Jahnke's tomb design has been judged a fitting tribute to New Zealand soldiers killed in World War I. Professor Jahnke, head of the School of Mäori Studies, conceived his design to sit as a "simple yet monumental" sculpture complementary to Wellington's Carillon tower, in front of the campus Museum Building. The stonework, of imported black granite and South Island pounamu, was the winning design for the National War Memorial's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.


This year's Auckland graduation season produced a number of milestones. The ceremonies were the last for foundation Albany Principal Professor Ian Watson. They were the first for Chancellor Nigel Gould and Vice-Chancellor Judith Kinnear. They coincided with the tenth anniversary of the opening of the campus. And, in a further sign of changing times, there was a record number of Auckland-based extramural students - almost 260 - from a total of more than a thousand graduating.

Palmerston North graduation ceremonies start next Monday. They will see the award on honorary doctorates to former Chancellor Morva Croxson and three groundbreaking Massey science graduates. They are Professor Jock Macmillan, who has increased dairy herd production in New Zealand, Australia and the United States, Dr John Reid, a member of the NY-based Centre for Global Development, and US-based Dr Wayne McIlwraith, a pioneer in arthroscopic surgery for horses.

The University is now five years into a project to grow, preserve and commercialise Maori potato or Taewa varieties. Co-ordinator Nick Roskruge says people throughout the country want to contribute heritage potato strains to the Massey seedbank. About 15 varieties were grown at the University's fruit crops unit this year, some at least 100 years old.

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