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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 acquires Willem Boshoff’s digital archive
2016-07-22

“I do not want to be the only person or artist that is part of this archive, but I want it to expand and involve others too.”

These were the words of Prof Willem Boshoff, the renowned artist and, Associate Professor in the Department of Fine Arts, during the presentation of the Willem Boshoff Archive to the University of the Free State (UFS) Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery during the Vrystaat Arts Festival.

The digital archive may be consulted at the Department of Art History and Image Studies. Large parts of it will also be available on the UFS website at http://scholar.ufs.ac.za.

Conversations surrounding the digital archive

In a discussion led by Dr Francis Halsall from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, Ireland, the discussion led to the discovery of various themes, including The idea of research, education and dialogue, doing or making, the organisation of knowledge, language and translation, word and figures or people, and the enthusiastic amateur.

Artwork attracts international attention

Alongside Prof Boshoff and Dr Halsall, many other participants who have been inspired by the artist’s work sat in on the discussion about the archive.

They included Ivan Vladislavic, author of Willem Boshoff (2004), Dr Katja Gentric, whose doctoral dissertation at the University of Bourgogne (2013) is on Boshoff’s work, and Helene Smuts, arts education writer and publisher. Josef van Wyk, a Master’s student working on Prof Boshoff’s archive, and Prof Johann Rossouw, Associate Professor of the Department of Philosophy also formed part of the discussion.

Vladislavic mentioned that Prof Boshoff’s work opens up a different form of conceptualisation. “When I first encountered Willem’s work, I was excited by it from an art historic perspective,” he said.

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