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06 August 2018 Photo Sonia Small
Karen Lazenby WomenofKovsies
Dr Karen Lazenby strives for a stronger, rule-based, and consistent governance structure.

A transformed University of the Free State (UFS) will be one that promotes social justice in everything it does, a university where its diverse people feel a sense of common purpose and engagement. The UFS is developing this through its Integrated Transformation Plan (ITP) introduced in January 2017. 

“The majority of the current systems and processes in student administration at the university are still manual. This lack of automation leads to inconsistencies and service failures,” says Dr Karen Lazenby. As Registrar for Systems and Administration, Dr Lazenby is responsible for ensuring a smooth and efficient student lifecycle across all three campuses. 

With the ITP, the Governance: Systems and Administration work stream strives to have a stronger, rule-based, and consistent governance structure with a single line of accountability in student administration across all faculties and relevant support departments on the three campuses. By ensuring this ease of use and access there will be an integrated student experience and greater empowerment of students.

“Our focus is on automation and self-services for students (such as the time-table, requests for additional and ad hoc exams and appeals), to ensure transparency and accessibility of rules and policies, decisions relating to admission, progression rules, awarding of qualifications and graduation and faculty and general rules,” Dr Lazenby said.  It will also entail the optimisation of PeopleSoftCampus (the Enterprise Resource Planning system).

“Through this automation, I would also like to get the university’s student administration to such a level that academic staff can focus their energy on teaching and research and student administration staff can focus more on quality assurance,” said Dr Lazenby.

News Archive

A model of resilience – Dr Anja Botha probes into the ability to recover from trauma
2014-12-02

She may have been awarded her doctorate degree only in July 2014, but Psychology lecturer at the University of the Free State (UFS), Dr Anja Botha, is already making a name for herself with her latest research.

Her study aims to develop a model of resilience for South African adolescents exposed to trauma. “The broad field, within which I work, is that of Developmental Psychology, with a specific focus on child and adolescent development and therapy,” says Dr Botha. 

Resilience studies are situated within Developmental Psychology since normal developmental tasks – such as achieving self-confidence and building supportive relationships – contribute greatly to children’s resilience. Resilience broadly refers to the individual’s ability to ‘bounce back’ after being exposed to adversity.

“The model of resilience which I compiled was a good fit for my participant group, indicating that the model explains the development of resilience in these adolescents well. The factors that I found to promote resilience in the South African context include various coping skills, intra- and interpersonal strengths, family involvement, and school engagement.

“Thus, aside from my passion for resilience studies, I am also very much interested in coping, strength-based interventions, parental guidance and school-based programmes.”

Dr Botha was awarded a Donald J Cohen fellowship in August 2014 during the 21st World Congress of the International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists and Allied Professions. The fellowship is in recognition of her work as an emerging international scholar in the field of child and adolescent mental health. This award was based on both her research as well as her involvement in the training of postgraduate students in child psychology.

She is currently supervising a number of master’s students’ research on various constructs related to resilience.

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