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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

Professor awarded by Cardiff University for exceptional teaching and research record
2015-10-20

Prof Pieter Duvenage
Cardiff University is one of the best research universities in the United Kingdom (UK) and the world. In 2014, Cardiff was ranked number 2 and 5 among UK universities in the Research Excellence Framework for impact and quality, respectively.

Annually, Cardiff selects and recruits the most outstanding teachers and researchers from across the globe. This year, this institution bestowed on Professor Pieter Duvenage the title of Honorary Professorship in Political Philosophy for his contribution and commitment to philosophical research in South Africa and internationally. Prof Duvenage is Head of the Department of Philosophy at the University of the Free State (UFS).

Prof Duvenage has authored and co-authored four books, publishing almost 40 accredited articles in journals and books. As a distinguished scholar, he displays immense dedication to the investigation of the political implications of intellectual traditions.

Since 1997, Prof Duvenage has been lecturing philosophy as an associate professor, full professor, or visiting professor at various South African and Australian universities. He was appointed as Head of the Department of Philosophy in 2011, where he continues to explore his interests in Phenomenology, Critical Theory, and South African Intellectual History.

His rich academic history had earned him the prestigious five-year Honorary Professorship at Cardiff’s Department of Politics.  In 2014, the same university invited Prof Duvenage to be a Professorial Fellow of the Collingwood and British Idealism Centre for an indefinite period.

Professor David Boucher, Director of the Collingwood and British Idealism Centre, has played a crucial role in initiating both processes. According to Prof Duvenage, “Professor Boucher is a respected British academic and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Johannesburg.”

When Boucher announced the good news, Prof Duvenage was very surprised. “The appointment came as a total surprise. I never studied there [at Cardiff University], therefore it was purely through academic networks.”

Considering Cardiff’s reputation and Prof Duvenage’s exceptional skill sets and values, his relationship with the world-leading university in research is bound to blossom.

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