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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

Prof Mary Kay Blakely from the Missouri School of Journalism (USA) speaks about the age of misinformation
2015-03-10

 

Prof Mary Kay Blakely  

Living in an age where misinformation is as common as loadshedding in South Africa, we all tend to ask who we can trust when reading or hearing the news media.

Prof Mary Kay Blakely from the Missouri School of Journalism (Columbia, USA) presented a public lecture recently entitled The age of misinformation: Who do you trust? at the UFS. She stressed the point of how, with the social media revolution and the rise of the citizen journalist, our news interests of old are being fed by many more new channels, influences, and opinions. This leaves us to question what is still true and what is still objective

For example, Blakely mentioned that “gossip, scandal, and celebrities have always been our fascination – even more so today.”

“But nowadays, we have to become even more critical thinkers.”

During Blakely’s presentation, she stated the harsh reality that objectivity is extremely difficult. True objectivity, which means keeping  yourself completely out of the story you cover, is virtually impossible.

“It is not just about covering both sides of the story. Often, there are far more sides to a story than just two, probably even five.”

Therefore, it comes down to fairness, balance, and truth, which are really important in covering a story. Hence, it is the obligation of the media to be fair, balanced, and truthful while recognising their own biases. 

Prof Mary Kay Blakely – Short Bio:

Prof Mary Kay Blakely is the author of the critically-acclaimed books Wake Me When It's Over, American Mom and Red, White and O So Blue. Her essays on social and political issues have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Mother Jones, LIFE, and Vogue, among others.

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