Victoria University of Wellington

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Victoria University of Wellington
Te Herenga Waka
Victoria University of Wellington logo.svg
MottoSapientia magis auro desideranda (Latin)
Motto in English
Wisdom is more to be desired than gold [1]
Type Public
Established1897;124 years ago (1897)
Academic affiliation
ACU, AACSB, AMBA, EQUIS
Chancellor Neil Paviour Smith [2]
Vice-Chancellor Grant Guilford [3]
Students22,273 (2017) [4]
Undergraduates 16,787 (2012) [5]
Postgraduates 4,829 (2012) [5]
Location,

New Zealand
Campus Urban
Colours  
Website www.wgtn.ac.nz

Victoria University of Wellington (Māori : Te Herenga Waka) is a university in Wellington, New Zealand. It was established in 1897 by Act of Parliament, and was a constituent college of the University of New Zealand.

Contents

The university is well known for its programmes in law, the humanities, and some scientific disciplines, and offers a broad range of other courses. Entry to all courses at first year is open, and entry to second year in some programmes (e.g. law, criminology, creative writing, architecture, engineering [6] ) is restricted.

Victoria had the highest average research grade in the New Zealand Government's Performance-Based Research Fund exercise in both 2012 and 2018, having been ranked 4th in 2006 and 3rd in 2003. [7] Victoria has been ranked 215th in the World's Top 500 universities by the QS World University Rankings (2020).

History

The Hunter Building, Victoria University of Wellington Hunter Building 2014.jpeg
The Hunter Building, Victoria University of Wellington
The original 1903 plan for Victoria University Victoria University plan (14849525480).jpg
The original 1903 plan for Victoria University
The Te Toki a Rata building was completed in 2017, and houses the School of Biological Sciences Te Toki A Rata Building, Victoria University of Wellington.jpg
The Te Toki a Rata building was completed in 2017, and houses the School of Biological Sciences

Victoria is named after Queen Victoria, as 1897 was the 60th anniversary of her coronation. There was a dispute initially as to where to site it, and it opened in temporary facilities in Thorndon. It was eventually decided to place it in Kelburn, where it still has its primary campus. This decision was influenced by the Cable Car company's offer of a donation of £1,000 if it were located in Kelburn so that students would patronise the Cable Car from the city. [9] Several of the Company investors like Martin Kennedy were supporters of Seddon, who stalled on releasing land on the alternative Mount Cook Gaol site for the university, although this site was widely supported in Wellington. [10]

The foundation stone of the historic Hunter Building was laid in 1904. The original name was Victoria University College, but on the dissolution of the University of New Zealand in 1961 Victoria or "Vic" became the Victoria University of Wellington, conferring its own degrees.

An extramural branch was founded at Palmerston North in 1960. It merged with Massey College on 1 January 1963. Having become a branch of Victoria upon the University of New Zealand's 1961 demise, the merged college became Massey University on 1 January 1964. [11]

In 2004, Victoria celebrated the 100th birthday of its first home, the Hunter Building.

Victoria has expanded beyond its original campus in Kelburn, with campuses in Te Aro (Faculty of Architecture and Design), and Pipitea (opposite Parliament, housing the Faculty of Law and Victoria Business School). Victoria also hosts the Ferrier Research Institute and the Robinson Research Institute in Lower Hutt, the Coastal Ecology Laboratory in Island Bay and the Miramar Creative Centre, in Park Rd, Miramar.

In 2015, Victoria opened a new campus in Auckland to service the growing demand for its courses and expertise. [12]

Name-change proposal

In May 2018 it was reported that Victoria was exploring options to simplify its name to University of Wellington [13] (as distinct from Wellington University in Fort Collins, Colorado and other entities). [14] Vice-Chancellor Grant Guillford said that the university was pursuing a name change in order to reduce confusion overseas, as several other universities also carried the "Victoria" name. [15] On 27 July 2018, the Victoria University of Wellington Council agreed in principle to the name change, as well as replacing the Māori name with Te Herenga Waka. [16] Of the 2,000 public submissions on the name-change proposal, 75% strongly opposed it. Alumni and students strongly opposed the name change, staff gave mixed feedback, while other university stakeholders[ which? ] favoured the name change. [17] [18]

On 24 September 2018 Victoria University's Council voted by a majority of nine to two to change the university's name to the University of Wellington. The council also voted to adopt the new Māori name of Te Herenga Waka. The University's Vice-Chancellor Grant Guilford abstained from the vote, citing a conflict of interest. Critics such as Victoria University law professor Geoff McLay criticized the name change for erasing 120 years of history. By contrast, Chancellor Neil Paviour-Smith defended the outcome of the vote as "one decision in a much broader strategy to try and help the university really achieve its potential". [19] [17] The council would submit its recommendation to the Minister of Education to make the final decision. [20] [17]

On 18 December 2018 the Minister for Education, Chris Hipkins, announced that he had rejected the University Council's recommendation, stating that the proposed change did not have sufficient support from Victoria's staff, students or alumni, and that such a change would not be in keeping with institution accountability or be in the national interest. [21] [22] On 6 May 2019 Victoria University's Council announced that it would not contest the Education Minister's decision to reject its name-change proposal. The name change had received exceptionally strong opposition from faculty, alumni, students, and the Wellington City Council. [23] [24]

Governance and administration

From 1938 to 1957, the head of administration was the principal. Since 1957, the head of administration has been the vice-chancellor. The following people held the role of principal and/or vice-chancellor: [25]

Campuses and facilities

Victoria University of Wellington's Kelburn Campus: the Hunter Building Hunter Building.jpg
Victoria University of Wellington's Kelburn Campus: the Hunter Building
Victoria University of Wellington's Pipitea Campus: the Faculty of Law Old Government Buildings, Wellington.JPG
Victoria University of Wellington's Pipitea Campus: the Faculty of Law
Victoria University of Wellington's Kelburn Campus VUW-Kelburn.jpg
Victoria University of Wellington's Kelburn Campus

Victoria University of Wellington has three campuses spread out over Wellington city. It also has premises in Auckland.

Wellington

  1. The main campus is in the suburb of Kelburn, New Zealand, overlooking the Wellington Central business district, where the Faculties of Humanities and Social Sciences, Science, Engineering, Education and Health are based. Additionally, it is the location of the universities Central Library and the site of its administrative offices. The campus has a range of amenities including cafes, the university book store VicBooks, a pharmacy and health services, childcare facilities, and a sports and recreation centre. The Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association is based here.
  2. The Pipitea campus consists of the Wellington School of Business and Government, which includes the School of Accounting and Commercial Law, School of Economics and Finance, School of Government, School of Information Management, School of Management, School of Marketing and International Business, and the Faculty of Law. [29] The Campus is located near the New Zealand Parliament Buildings, consisting of Rutherford House, the Old Government Buildings and the West Wing of the Wellington railway station. It is the location of the Commerce and Law libraries. Student services available at the Pipitea campus include Student Health and Well-being, the Recreation Centre and VicBooks.
  3. The Wellington Faculty of Architecture and Design Innovation is located in the Te Aro Campus. [30] The campus contains an Architecture and Design library.

Auckland

The School of Business and Government offers selected courses at the Auckland premises, which is located in the Auckland CBD.

Other facilities

The Victoria University Coastal Ecology Laboratory supports research programs in marine biology and coastal ecology on Wellington's rugged south coast.

The Miramar Creative Centre is located by the Weta Workshop buildings on Park Road, Miramar. The Centre offers access to work experience and connections with New Zealand's film, animation and game design industries.

Library

The library was established in 1899. [31] The collections are dispersed over four locations: Kelburn Library, Law Library, Architecture and Design Library and Commerce Library. The library is also has a collection of digital resources and acquires full text material online. In addition to electronic resources, printed books and journals, the Library also acquires works in microform, sound recordings, videos and other media consistent with the University's academic programme needs. [32]

The library holds approximately 1.3 million printed volumes. It provides access to 70,000 print and electronic periodical titles and 200,000 e-books. It is an official Depository Library (DL-296) of the United Nations System (DEPOLIB), one of only three in the country. The J. C. Beaglehole Room is the official repository of all archival and manuscript material, and provides a supervised research service for Rare Books, for fine or fragile print items, and for 'last resort' copies of University publications.

The New Zealand Electronic Text Centre (NZETC) is a digital library of significant New Zealand and Pacific Island texts and materials, and is arranged according to the library of Congress classification system. The library has two online repositories: the ResearchArchive is its open research repository, which makes the university's research freely available online and the RestrictedArchive, which is the university's private research repository and is accessible only to Victoria University staff and students. [33]

Between April 2003 and February 2010 the library was home to two locally famous residents, Tessa Brown and Sandy Rankine, a pair of library cats. [34]

Campus Developments

Te Huanui and 320 The Terrace

In September 2014, the university announced that it would purchase the abandoned Gordon Wilson Flats from Housing New Zealand. [35] It was subsequently revealed that the purchase price was over $6 million NZD. [36] The university bought the site due to its close proximity to the Kelburn campus, with the potential to create a link between Ghuznee St and the Terrace to the campus.

The Gordon Wilson Flats, with Victoria University of Wellington's Kelburn Campus visible on the hill above. Gordon Wilson Flats from Willis St.jpeg
The Gordon Wilson Flats, with Victoria University of Wellington's Kelburn Campus visible on the hill above.

In July 2015, Urban Perspectives Limited, on behalf of Victoria University, lodged an application with Wellington City Council to rezone the area from "Inner Residential Area" to "Institutional Precinct", remove the Flats from the City District Plan’s heritage list, and amend the Institutional Precinct provisions of the District Plan. [37] Residents supported the removal of the flats from the area, as it was a significant case of urban decay in the area, while various groups, such as the Wellington Architectural Centre opposed the demolition of the flats, noting their architectural significance.

The Gordon Wilson Flats have exceptional architectural significance. Not only are they associated with F. Gordon Wilson, one of the most prominent , powerful and influential architects in New Zealand from the 1930s through to the 1950s but they are the last of a line of highly important high rise social housing projects built by the state. They were initiated by the first Labour Government of 1935 and they reflect and have a direct connection with international modernism.

This issue bought up wider debate on whether it was worth retaining mid-century public housing for heritage purposes, when the building in question had itself paid scant value towards the past.

In April 2016, a Wellington City Council panel approved the rezoning of the flats, allowing Victoria University to demolish the building. However, in July 2016, the Architectural Centre lodged an appeal in the Environment Court against the Wellington City Council's decision to remove the Gordon Wilson flats' heritage status under Wellington's District Plan. [38] The appeal was successful with the court determining that the heritage listing should stand in August 2017. [39]

in 2018, Victoria University students Jessie Rogers and Hannah Rushton mapped the building using LIDAR mapping technology. [40] This data was then used to create a computer generated model of the flats, allowing for them to be explored in a virtual reality environment. This virtual reality experience was them displayed at an exhibition named Immersive Legacies: 320 The Terrace, at the Wellington Museum, allowing for users to see information about the building, the building in its prime state, and the current deterioration of the structure [41] .

In July 2020, Victoria University unveiled plans for what they called 'Te Huanui'. [42] The plan showed that the university could be rezoning the site for institutional use, demolishing the Gordon Wilson Flats, while retaining the nearby McLeans Flats. The area would then be used to create a gateway between the hilltop Kelburn campus, and the city below, including an outdoor plaza and new teaching and research facilities. The development would also create a pedestrian and elevator link up to the Kelburn campus. [43]

Renovation work commencing on Wellington Town Hall. Wellington Town Hall renovation (2).jpg
Renovation work commencing on Wellington Town Hall.

National Centre for Music

In 2019, Victoria University, on behalf of the New Zealand School of Music, signed an agreement with Wellington City Council and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra to establish a new National Music Centre based in Wellington Town Hall. [44] This would be established once refurbishment work on the town hall had been completed.

Victoria University vice-chancellor Grant Guilford believed the national music centre would provide a real uplift for music and music education.

The state-of-the-art teaching, rehearsal, research and performance spaces that it will offer will enable an outstanding education for the next generation of musicians

The Living Pā

The Living Pa will be a redevelopment of the marae and surrounding area of the Kelburn campus. [45] This will involve the removal of five buildings from 42 to 50 Kelburn Parade and the creation of a new building employing principles based on the Living Building Challenge.

Organisation and administration

Day-to-day governance is in the hands of the University Council, which consists of 20 people: four elected by the Court of Convocation, three elected by the academic staff, one elected by the general staff, two appointed by the student union executive, four appointed by the Minister of Education, four selected by the Council itself, and the Vice-Chancellor. The Court of Convocation is composed of all graduates who choose to participate. Charles Wilson, at the time the chief librarian of the parliamentary library, was a member of the original council and its chairman for two years. [46]

For New Zealand residents entry to most courses is open, with a few exceptions. Performance Music requires an audition. There is selection for entry into the second year in degrees such as the LLB, BArch and BDes. BA in criminology and creative writing is also based on selection.

It is one of only three institutions (University of Auckland and Unitec being the others) to offer a degree in architecture in New Zealand. It owns the New Zealand School of Music.

Faculties

Faculty of Law on the left, Houses of Parliament on the right. VUW-Law.jpg
Faculty of Law on the left, Houses of Parliament on the right.

The faculties are:

Faculty of Law

The Faculty of Law is located in the restored Old Government Buildings at the centre of the country's law-making precinct, in close proximity to Parliament, the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, and the District and High courts. The Faculty is rated 19th in the world in the 2013 QS World University Rankings [56] and led New Zealand's law faculties for research in the most recent Performance-Based Research Fund Evaluation. [57]

Academic profile

University rankings
Global – Overall
ARWU World [58] 401-500 (2020)
CWUR World [59] 657 (2019-2020)
QS World [60] 223 (2021)
THE World [61] 501–600 (2021)
National – Overall
ARWU National [62] 3-4 (2020)
CWUR National [63] 5 (2018-2019)

Academic rankings

World University Rankings
Year QS World University Rankings [64] Academic Ranking of World Universities [65] Times Higher Education World University Rankings [66]
2020215301–400501–600
2019221301–400401–500
2018219301–400401–500
2017228301–400351–400
2016229301–400351–400
2015275276–300

Research centres and institutes

Victoria University Coastal Ecology Laboratory Vucel 1.jpg
Victoria University Coastal Ecology Laboratory

Victoria has more than 40 research centres and institutes, including

To see more, browse an A-Z List of Research Centres and Institutes [68]

Student life

Offices of the Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association. VUWSA Offices.jpg
Offices of the Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association.

Students' associations and student media

Halls of residence

Victoria operated
Privately operated

[69] [70]

Controversies

In July, 2016, a Victoria University of Wellington staff member Rebekah Proctor was jailed for two years and five months for defrauding the university out of $480,000 – as of 27 October Proctor has appealed her sentence. [71] [72] In October 2016 students protested the cut of several European languages, including the German language department losing 43% of staff. [73] Also in 2016, Victoria University of Wellington was embroiled in a row with the Tertiary Education Union, when it was discovered that union members were being paid less than non-union members. [74] This led the TEU to characterise the Vice-Chancellor Grant Guilford as being anti-union, and resulted in a one-day strike. [74] [75] [76]

In late 2015, academics and students at Victoria University of Wellington spoke out at the university hosting Israeli Defence Force troops for a public lecture. [77] [78] The opposition for this public lecture came about because of the soldiers' involvement in Operation Protective Edge, which is thought to have killed at least 2000 Palestinians, most of them civilians. [77]

In 2012 a Facebook page that is associated with Victoria University of Wellington students, Overheard @ Vic, was in the media for the many rape comments that were made. [79] These included comments like "you've got to rape the paper, man, you can't let the paper rape you" and "at least ugly girls don't get raped". [79] In response to this, a spokesperson for Victoria University of Wellington said that "student safety was a key focus, and the university had partnered with police and Wellington City Council to promote awareness of personal safety". [79]

In 2010 there was widespread condemnation of Victoria University of Wellington removing the Gender Studies department. [80] In 2017, a minor in Gender Studies was made available.

In April 2020, during the COVID-19 outbreak, the university came under fire from students, politicians, and media for suddenly announcing at 48 hours notice that they would be charging students a "placeholder fee" ($150 per week) for student accommodation that they had been forcibly removed from, despite emails from the university previously telling those same students that they would not have to pay. [81] [82] [83]

Notable academics and staff

Graduation ceremony VUWGraduation.jpg
Graduation ceremony

Notable alumni

Panorama of the view from the fifth floor stairwell of the Cotton Building, Kelburn Campus. WellingtonPano.jpg
Panorama of the view from the fifth floor stairwell of the Cotton Building, Kelburn Campus.

See also

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Coordinates: 41°17′20″S174°46′06″E / 41.28889°S 174.76833°E / -41.28889; 174.76833