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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

Stakeholders endorse UFS’s vision and strategy
2014-05-27

Results from a perception audit commissioned by the University of the Free State (UFS) in February 2014 have been finalised. The audit indicates that 86,14% of the university’s internal and external stakeholders agree with the institution's stated vision. An average of 81,99% of stakeholders endorse our values and 81,28% agree with our goals. 

The study was commissioned by the university's Department of Communication and Brand Management and conducted by an external firm of independent researchers. It was aimed at determining internal and external stakeholder understanding and endorsement of university strategy, as well as tracking core reputational indicators and perceptions.

The study was conducted among a representative sample of 23 stakeholder groupings, including staff, current and prospective students, donors, alumni, school principals, community leaders, potential employers of students and international partner universities.

Two similar audits were conducted in the last ten years – in 2005 and again in 2008 after the Reitz incident. Although a direct comparison of findings would not be psychometrically rigorous due to differing research modelling and sampling methods, there is a strong indication that the perception of the institution's stakeholders has shifted.

The uniqueness of the study and the research model developed for the project have recently received international recognition from the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). The prestigious Jack Whittmer Research Award was presented to the university on 9 June 2014 during the Excellence Awards Gala of the association's world conference held in Toronto, Canada.

Read the full release (pdf)

 

 

Issued by: Lacea Loader (Director: Communication and Brand Management)
Tel: +27(0)51 401 2584 or +27(0)83 645 2454
E-mail: news@ufs.ac.za
Fax: +27(0)51 444 6393

 

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