Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Previous Archive
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

Researcher in mathematics ranks among world’s top peer reviewers
2016-10-07

Description: Abdon Peer Review Tags: Abdon Peer Review

Prof Abdon Atangana, from the UFS Institute
for Groundwater Studies.
Photo: Johan Roux

Thirty-year-old Prof Abdon Atangana has received the prestigious Sentinels of Science Award 2016. This award honours the highest achievers in peer review across the world’s journals. The elite contributors to scholarly peer review and editorial pursuits internationally are also honoured with this award. Recipients have demonstrated an outstanding, expert commitment to protecting the integrity and accuracy of published research in their field.

Prof Atangana, who ranks number one in the mathematics discipline with a merit of 324, is a professor at the Institute for Groundwater Studies at the University of the Free State (UFS).

He is editor of 17 international journals, editor-in-chief of two international journals and also reviewer of more than 200 international accredited journals. He has been lead and guest editor of some special issues. He is also editor of 19 journals of applied mathematics and mathematics and has presented and participated in more than 20 international conferences.

Prof Atangana’s research interests are methods and applications of partial and ordinary differential equations, fractional differential equations, perturbations methods, asymptotic methods, iterative methods, and groundwater modelling.

“Editors in more than 100 journals
trust my opinion to assess
whether a submitted paper
can be published or not.”

Peer review requires a respected expert in a given field

According to the professor, reviewers play a central role in scholarly publishing. “In the academic field, peer review is the process of subjecting an author’s scholarly work, research, or ideas to the scrutiny of others who are experts in the same field, before a paper describing this work is published in a journal or as a book. The peer review process helps the publisher to decide whether the work should be accepted, considered acceptable with revisions, or rejected.

“Peer review requires a respected expert in a given field, who is qualified and able to perform the review in a given timeframe. Due to the impact of my research papers in the field of mathematics and applied mathematics, and also my international recognition in the field of applied mathematics, many editors in more than 100 journals of applied mathematics trust my opinion to assess whether a submitted paper in a given journal of mathematics and applied mathematics can be published or not. Only this year I was able to review more than 100 papers from different journals of applied mathematics, applied physics, mathematics, engineering and hydrology,” he said.

A successful peer reviewer displays passion for the development of science

Key to his success as peer reviewer is his passion for the development of science, his ability to write fair reports about a given manuscript, as well as his knowledge on what has been done and what are the challenges in a given field to be able to give a report that will help the advancement of science.

Currently he is developing new mathematics tools that will be used to accurately model statistical problems as well as physical problems with many layers.

“To be the number one peer reviewer in the world in mathematics is a product of love, patience and determination to enhance science,” Prof Atangana said.

His advice to young researchers is to put their trust in God and to work hard. “Not necessarily for money but for love because the future of Africa is in the hands of young Africans,” he said.

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.

Accept