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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

Faculty of Health Sciences celebrates various successes
2015-01-12

The Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Free State achieved a number of successes in the course of 2014. This included awards, presentations and keynote addresses at conferences, as well as publications in various journals.

Some of the highlights are:

• Dr Madelein Koning from the Department of Internal Medicine received the Vice-Chancellor’s award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning during November. Prof Alan St Claire Gibson said the award is richly deserved, given Dr Koning’s many years of high-quality teaching and input to particularly the fifth-year MB ChB students.

• Prof Schalk Wentzel, Head of the Department of Urology, was elected President of the South African College of Urology, and Prof Alicia Sherriff from the Department of Oncology was elected President of the South African College of Oncology.  Prof William Rae was appointed to the College of Radiologists. These are the highest and most prestigious offices an academic clinician can hold or be elected to in the specialty of their choice. Prof Rae also published an article in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. 

• Prof Nats Mofolo, Head of the Department of Family Medicine, gave a keynote address at the Free State Health Indaba hosted by the Free State Department of Health.

• Dr Holtzhausen from the Department of Sports and Exercise Medicine chaired and delivered a presentation at the 6th Clinical Sport and Exercise Medicine Conference of SA held in Cape Town from 22 to 24 October 2014. He was also the convener of the conference. His presentation was titled ‘Safer exercise in apparently healthy individuals and those with possible risk factors for chronic disease and injury’.

 

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