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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

New Genetics building on Bloemfontein Campus spirals into new frontiers
2015-09-11

On Thursday 3 September 2015, the Department of Genetics hosted the official opening of its new offices on the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS).

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS, Prof Neil Heideman, Dean of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, and Prof Paul Grobler, Head of the Department of Genetics cut the ribbon, symbolising the opening of this building with its state-of-the-art facilities.

The new genetics building boasts a new administration block with a reception area, seven offices, a small committee room, and a seminar room for 50 people. Furthermore, the undergraduate laboratory block provides a laboratory for 150 students. The research block has facilities for 30 researchers.

This building also hosts a chemical waste sorting and storage facility. This is a first for the university.

Several sites were investigated for the new building, but due to its size and envisaged second phase, a “green fields” site was found on the western side of the campus. The main entrance caters for visitors from the north, students on foot, and those using the parking area in front of the library. The secondary south entrance is for those who use the dedicated parking area south of the building. The link between these two entrances is the spine of the building, a helix with services/buildings spaced on either side. The helix will be extended in the second phase to keep the circulation and linkage of buildings as simple as possible.

In his opening speech, Prof Grobler gave a breakdown of the history of the Department of Genetics. Today, this department, which opened its doors at the UFS in 1960, is proud of its 131 students and 46 honours students.

According to Major-General Edward Ngokha, Head of the Forensic Science Laboratory, students who graduate from the UFS in the field of genetics make excellent employees. The Forensic Science Laboratory has employed 25 honours students since the BSc Honours degree in Genetics was implemented in 2010.

“The UFS delivers education of high quality and high standards. Thank you for your contribution toward fighting crime by delivering well-prepared, committed employees,” said Major-General Ngokha.

The department presents programmes on population conservation genetics, plant molecular genetics, cytogenetics, forensic genetics, forensic science, human genetics, and behavioural genetics.

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