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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

UFS launches history book
2007-02-02

 

Attending the launch of the UFS history book were, from the left: Prof Stef Coetzee, Prof Francois Retief, Prof Wynand Mouton, Mr Pieter Cox (Chairperson on Sasol) and Prof Frederick Fourie (Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS). Profs Coetzee, Retief and Mouton are former rectors of the UFS.
UFS launches history book
 
The University of the Free State (UFS) today launched its history book titled, From Grey to Gold, on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein.
 
“The history of the UFS is one of faith, hope, struggle and determination. The book tells a fascinating story that stretches over a 100 years. It is divided into five main phases, which tells about the growth of the UFS from a poor Free State community to a mature university. Interesting stories about student days, sport, rag and hostel activities are included in each phase,” Prof Frederick Fourie, Rector and Vice-Chancellor said during the launch of the book.
 
“One cannot know where you are going if you don’t know where you are coming from. You have a clearer idea of the issues facing an institution if you know the history. A book like this one is also an important source of reference for staff on the campus,” said Prof Fourie.
 
The first research for the book was done from 1999-2003 by Prof Leo Barnard from the Department of History and a team of researchers. They also compiled the first manuscript. 
 
During the last three years, Prof Fourie was closely involved with the writing of the final phase and finishing off the history book project. “It was an honour to be so closely involved with the story of the UFS because now I have a better understanding of the institution, its people, its culture and its way of thinking. For any rector of a university, such an understanding of its institution is a requirement,” Prof Fourie said.
 
The book is partly sponsored by Sasol. During the launch of the book, Mr Pieter Cox, Chairperson of Sasol said the company and the UFS have been partners for 57 years. “Both Sasol and the UFS are striving for excellence – Sasol for excellence in technology and the UFS for excellence in education,” said Mr Cox. 
 
“It was an easy decision when the UFS approached Sasol for financial support of the history book. Its a formidable piece of work, something Prof Fourie and the UFS can be proud of,” said Mr Cox.
 
The book consists of more than 500 pages with hundreds of photos and a wide range of supplements of office-bearers, awards and achievements (including national and sporting colours). A timeline framework, putting the history of the UFS in context with the history of the Free State, South Africa and of the world, is also included.
 
Besides the supplements, the history book also tells the story of amongst others the establishment of the UFS; the role of its founding fathers; black pioneers of transformation; the establishment and development of academic departments and faculties; student numbers; pioneers and trends in research; academic entrepreneurs; campus issues and campus politics; interesting facts and stories about student life (rag, intervarsity and cheerleaders, sport and the Springboks, hostel traditions); the admission of black students and anguish about race; language and culture; the development of the Main Campus; the Tickey and the Banana and much more.
 
Emphasis is placed on a very high level of quality. “It is not every day that the university becomes hundred years old and the institution will be measured by the quality of the book. We cannot say the UFS is a university of excellence if the book does not reflect that,” Ms Edma Pelzer, Director: Physical Resources and Special Projects said. Ms Pelzer managed the project as part of the last mentioned part of her portfolio.
 
The search for photographs was an important aspect of the book and it was a big task to find photographs and write captions. It took almost a year to translate and prepare the English edition and almost ten months to ensure the accuracy thereof, especially to correctly translate the typical Free State and UFS terminology and naturally to complete the English manuscript’s layout and proofreading. In the mean time the cover pages were designed and in September 2006 the manuscript went into the final print process. The Afrikaans title is: Van Sink tot Sandsteen tot Graniet.  
 
The cost of the book is R380 per copy. Those who already ordered the book will soon receive their copy. Orders can be placed by contacting Mr Dawid Kriel at UFS Marketing on 051 401 3409 or on the UFS web site at www.ufs.ac.za. The book is also available at Van Schaik Book Store on the Thakaneng Bridge, UFS Main Campus and at Fascination Books in Mimosa Mall, Bloemfontein.
 
Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel: (051) 401-2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
2 February 2007

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