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22 August 2018
Prof Coetzee is retelling old stories in a new book
"Failing to Learn Doomed to repeat" was one of the bookworks on display.

The title of Prof Jan K Coetzee’s latest book, Books & Bones & Other Things, says it all. The book looks into the many aspects that have built our society by presenting in a new way the stories contained in old books collected over the years. 

Prof Coetzee is a Senior Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of the Free State (UFS). Books & Bones & Other Things was launched on 14 August 2018 and coincided with an exhibition of various “bookworks”   art installations by Prof Coetzee that feature old books, sculptures, artefacts, and fossils.
 
Book resulting from research programme 
   

“This is a book on books so the library is the perfect venue to launch a book on old texts as documents of life,” said Prof Coetzee.

For the past seven years he has been directing a Master’s and PhD programme in Sociology called The Narrative Study of Lives. His project, Documents of Life, from which this book came, focuses on a collection of old texts the oldest of which dates back to 1605.

“We live in storytelling societies and for as long as we can remember we have been telling stories. Over time the ability to produce books was born. Any collection of books can tell you a lot about your own life and the society you live in."

“I cannot read the stories of many of these old books because their narratives are closed. I have to re-narrate the books, change the narrative convention and present them in a way that makes sense to me. By combining the books with art and artefacts I want the books to tell their ancient stories in new ways.”

Book launches and intellectual discussions

At the book launch, Prof Corli Witthuhn, Vice-Rector: Research said: “What we have achieved with this launch and exhibition is unbelievable. We always try to create an intellectual space in the library.

“A book such as this is the pinnacle of an academic career. It is multidisciplinary and it looks at the world in a different way. That is what scholarship is about.”

A painting by Robert Hodgins was also handed over to the Johannes Stegmann Gallery, home of the corporate collection of the UFS, at the event. 

News Archive

New Academic Head at South Campus to expand distance learning programmes into the global arena
2016-02-10

“Critical area of focus: Diversify provision, based on open learning principles, to improve learning opportunities across the post-school education and training sector” - SA Department of Higher Education and Training Strategic Plan 2015/16-2019/20

Open and distance learning (ODL) programmes will play a critical role in shaping the landscape of higher education. Not only does the South African Department of Higher Education and Training emphasise the importance of ODL, it is also contained within the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. And now the University of the Free State (UFS) is becoming a major role player in the field through the cutting-edge ODL programmes offered by the South Campus.

Description: Jean Grundling  Tags: Jean Grundling

Jean Grundling has recently been appointed as the Academic Head of the South Campus.

At the helm of these programmes is the recently-appointed Academic Head of the South Campus: Jean Grundling. According to the new organisational structure of the South Campus, the Academic Head reports directly to the Campus Principal: Dr Daniella Coetzee.

“My role,” says Grundling, “focuses on developing and monitoring processes that will enable effective and efficient implementation of the three pillars of ODL.” These three pillars consist of:

• the design and development of quality learner-centred learning materials and tools during their ODL journeys;
• the selection, appointment, and development of competent facilitators to guide, coach, tutor, and support students; and
• the integration of administrative processes that will enable and support students to study at their own pace, place, and in their own time.

“Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education, and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

As part of her personal vision, Grundling would like to see the South Campus grow and develop into an institution that offers quality ODL programmes not only nationally, but globally. “I would like the South Campus to become an agent of social transformation in South Africa.”

Ultimately, Grundling’s wish is for the South Campus to contribute to the development and empowerment of people so that they can play a positive role in society.

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