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02 May 2018 Photo Charl Devenish
South Campus UAP celebrates 27 years of access to education
Mr Francois Marais, Prof Kalie Strydom, Prof Daniella Coetzee (South Campus Principal), Prof Francis Petersen, Dr Nthabeleng Rammile (Vice-Chairperson of the UFS Council), and Dr Khotso Mokhele (Chancellor of the UFS).

More than 27 years ago, international funding from the Human Sciences Research Council and Anglo American was put to an unusual use for that time. Prof Kalie Strydom’s research unit at the University of the Free State (UFS) was tasked with reviewing how institutional missions would change in the new South Africa. Prof Strydom worked closely with surrounding communities in Bloemfontein to develop a bridging course which would help students who showed potential to access tertiary education, although they did not meet the requirements. His vision brought to birth the University Access Programme (UAP), as it is known today, which is hosted on the UFS South Campus, and is still providing unique access to higher-education institutions in South Africa.

People with a passion for human development
March 2018 saw the 27th anniversary of this remarkable initiative, which has given a second chance to over 18 000 students. Special guests at the event included Prof Strydom, Mr Francois Marais, and representatives from the Department of Higher Education and Training and Investec’s corporate social investment office.

Dr Sonja Loots, researcher in the UFS Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL), singled out two key individuals in the formation of the UAP: Prof Kalie Strydom, who initiated the programme, and Mr Marais, who has been Director of the UAP since its inception. Dr Loots highlighted one of the driving forces behind Prof Strydom’s perseverance, vision, and determination with the UAP by quoting from an interview with him for an upcoming book on student access and success. He said, “It was a decision based on principle … to be part of the solution to a better country.”

Access and success still an issue today
In his presentation on the “Importance of Access”, Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, pointed out the vital role of access in South Africa, especially the value it offers for the betterment of the country’s people. However, he said that student success is also an issue, and institutions need to be accountable for it. Quoting Prof John Martin of the University of Cape Town’s Faculty of Engineering, “We must be flexible on access, but robust on success.” Only by “closing the loop” in this way, can the UFS and other higher-education institutions ensure a valuable contribution to the economy of the country.

News Archive

A brand-new image for historic University of the Free State
2011-01-19

Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, and Prof. Teuns Verschoor, Vice-Rector of Institutional Affairs, during the media conference to launch the new brand.
- Photo: Hannes Pieterse

A new chapter was written in the history of the University of the Free State (UFS) on Thursday, 27 January 2011 when it launched its revitalised brand image. 

The brand evolution has resulted in the adoption of two primary brands to engage with its stakeholders – an evolved academic crest and a new marketing brand for the institution’s offerings and services. 
 
The university, which recently won the World Universities’ Forum award for academic excellence and institutional transformation, was founded in 1904 as a dynamic learning environment where academic excellence and the development of leadership qualities are long-standing traditions. These values are the backbone of the university and the foundation of the new brand as it seeks to adapt to the changing needs of society, without sacrificing its rich history and heritage. 
 
The process of revitalising and creating a renewed image of the UFS, spearheaded by the university’s inspirational leader, Prof. Jonathan Jansen, started in February 2010 and involved a comprehensive and consultative process to understand the deep insights that underpin the fabric of the institution among its key stakeholders. 
 
“We engaged in one of the most expansive and intensive process of consultations with staff, alumni, senate, council and other stakeholders to determine how and in what ways our brand could signal a more inclusive and forward-looking vision that captured the spirit and essence of the new country and a transforming university,” says Prof. Jansen.
 
The new brand is anchored in the university’s renewed motto “In Veritate Sapientiae Lux” (In Truth is the Light of Wisdom), which has been evolved to embrace the diversity of the community the university without losing its essence. As Judge Ian van der Merwe, Chairperson of the UFS Councilnoted,the motto retains concepts with which not only Christians can identify, but which also accommodate all the different viewpoints of the UFS’s diverse students and staff. Hereby a feeling of unity and belonging is promoted.”
 
The new brand identity was developed by the country’s foremost academic branding authority, the Brand Leadership Group. “We worked with the university to develop a brand that reflects an inclusive, forward-thinking truly South African university in tune with its changing environment which embraces its past, present and signals the future,” says Thebe Ikalafeng, founder of Brand Leadership Group.
 
The new brand has found resonance with the various university stakeholders. “The end product is excellent,” commented Mr Naudé de Klerk, Chairperson of Kovsie Alumni. “It represents a history of hope, excellence, innovation and transformation. Above all, it represents a leap of faith, which extends from a humble beginning in 1904 to the strong and vital academic institution it is today.”
 
Finally, where it matters, the new brand also gets the students’ vote. “Our new brand illustrates and communicates to the rest of the world the message that we as the University of the Free State refuse to be tied down to the failures of the past, but instead confidently sprint forward to the successes of tomorrow,” says Modieyi Motholo, Chairperson of the university’s Interim Student Committee.
 
 
 

Media Release
27 January 2011
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication (actg)
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: news@ufs.ac.za
 
 

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