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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

Regional winner designing her way to Architectural Student of the Year Award
2016-03-09

Description: Corobrik award Tags: Corobrik award

Musa Shangase, Corobrik Commercial and Marketing Director, and Nilene van Niekerk.

For 29 years, Corobrik has been celebrating the most outstanding architectural talent in South Africa. This year, Nilene van Niekerk – a master’s graduate of the University of the Free State (UFS) Department of Architecture – features as one of the regional winners.

Deciding on a dissertation topic, Nilene contemplated how she could use architecture as a tool to address a non-architectural contemporary problem specific to post-apartheid democratic South Africa. Her answer was born from her passion for freedom of speech. “Freedom of speech and the intimidation of journalists by the controversial Secrecy Bill were at the forefront these past few years,” Nilene says. “Although freedom of expression are generally protected practices in South Africa’s constitution, the persistent role of the government to protect state information is a substantial threat to citizens’ constitutional right of freedom of expression.”

This resulted in Nilene’s dissertation topic, Freedom of Expression Forum. This architectural concept envision a building, in the vicinity of Constitutional Hill, that symbolises protest against the Secrecy Bill. The building will provide “protection to journalists and become a pivotal point where classified information can be sent and archived. It will also establish a public space that encourages communication – all in the name of fostering the right of freedom of expression within this human rights precinct,” Nilene says.

Nilene will now go on to compete for the national title at the Corobrik Student Architect of the Year Awards in Johannesburg in May 2016.

“The project also rethinks the idea of sustainability as it focuses on how to contribute to a sustainable political future in South Africa. I believe that we as architects, especially in a third world country, should think beyond the normative boundaries of sustainability,” Nilene says.

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