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Graduate Attributes 

The UFS strives to ensure that its graduates display attributes that are aligned to both national imperatives and the institutional ethos. At the UFS, graduate attributes include, amongst others, ensuring the inculcation of relevant skills, competencies, knowledge and attitudes essential for success in the workplace, regionally, nationally, continentally and globally. This is particularly important, given that the current context demands that a graduate should be resilient and adaptable and able to navigate complex, uncertain environments and futures to be able to make an impactful contribution to societal and economic development. 

The nine graduate attributes of the University of the Free State are critical thinking, problem solving, oral communication, written communication, ethical reasoning, community engagement, entrepreneurial mindset, and digital skills and competencies, as shown in the Figure 2 below: 

Academic Competence

Figure 2: The 9 UFS Graduate Attributes

Student-facing initiatives for students to be aware of graduate attributes

First-year students are introduced to graduate attributes in UFSS1504 and UFSS1522, and receive a development plan for them to reflect and work intentionally on these attributes. The attributes are also woven into the Career Development and Employability Pathway for students, an initiative funded by the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation and piloted in 2023. The purpose of this was to clearly articulate to students the value of investing in their degree to intentionally and strategically work towards their future career goals. Part of this pathway is the EDED module , which was approved to roll out to students as an off-curricular, credit-bearing module in 2023. Funding was secured to present this module for free to students. Additionally, the Digital Skills and Competencies  graduate attribute was launched in 2023 as a learning pathway for students to work through and receive certificates upon the completion of each level in the pathway.  
Staff-facing initiatives to be aware of Graduate Attributes

We conduct regular workshops with academic as well as support staff to map their modules and programmes against the attributes, as well as work towards intentional integration of the attributes into curricular and co-curricular spaces. If you are logged into Blackboard as a UFS staff member, then you can access multiple faculty-specific examples of how to integrate the graduate attributes into your outcomes, assessments and teaching and learning activities in this Graduate Attributes Portal: https://ufs.blackboard.com/ultra/organizations/_10605_1/cl/outline 

The main purpose of the Graduate Attributes Project is to enhance the employability of our students through the intentional integration of these attributes into curricular and co-curricular spaces. It is key that our staff are invested in helping our students become more employable by being academically competent in their field of study, but that they also have the competencies that the workforce requires of our graduates to be successful. We also want our students to exercise their agency through reflecting on their development of the graduate attributes, and upskilling themselves when and where necessary. 

Contact us
Lauren Oosthuizen
E: hingLL@ufs.ac.za

Chrisna van Heerden
E: BlaauwC@ufs.ac.za

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