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18 April 2019 | Story Rulanzen Martin

The Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice IRSJ) has initiated a Social Justice Week at the University of the Free State (UFS), which started on Friday 12 April  until Wednesday 17 April 2019. 

Ten key events took place during the week. It ranged from dialogues, workshops, talk shows, debates, and interactive displays and events on issues of multilingualism and diversity, social innovation, engaged scholarship, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, gender sensitisation, sexual consent, sexual preparedness, universal access, disability, anti-discrimination, and security.

There was also a round-table discussion on 17 April 2019 with various UFS stakeholders on off-campus student security as well as an inter-institutional discussion on the same topic. The UFS Debating Society will take on the topic of the UFS Language Policy, while Olga Barends from the Free State Centre for Human Rights will host a dialogue on sexual consent.

The IRSJ has also designed and implemented SOJO-VATION: Social Innovation/ Social Change, which strives to create a foundational platform where ideas of social justice, innovation, and engaged scholarship at the UFS and in society can be hosted. SOJO-VATION partners with the Office for Student Leadership, Development, and Community Engagement.

The collaborating partners for the Social Justice Week includes various UFS stakeholders such as the Sasol library, the Gender and Sexual Equity Office, UFS Protection Services, the Free State Centre for Human Rights, the Student Representative Council (SRC), the Office for Student Leadership Development, Kovsie Innovation, GALA, the FFree State Centre for Human Rights, SRC Associations, the Office for Student Governance, Kovsie Innovate, Start-Up-Grind, EVC, EBL, Community Engagement, the Institutional Transformation Plan (ITP) Dialogues Office, Residence Dialogues, UFS Debating Society, Debate Afrika!, the Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS), and the Gateway Office. 

News Archive

Department celebrates 50th anniversary
2009-03-25

 
The first Departmental Head and the subsequent Departmental Chairpersons at the dinner on 14 March this year. From left: Proff Bernard Prior (1991-1998), Piet Lategan (1962-1990), Derek Litthauer (1998-2002) and James du Preez (2002-). These are all the Heads/Chairpersons of the Department since its founding in 1959, with the exception of Prof Hans Potgieter who acted as Head during 1959-1962.
Photo: Stephen Collett
 
Department celebrates 50th anniversary

On 13 March the Department Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology at the University of the Free State (UFS) celebrated its 50th anniversary in a splendid fashion with a lecture entitled, The origin of life: Exactly how did life begin? as part of the Darwin commemorative lecture series, followed by a reunion of current and former staff members and postgraduate students of the department with a barbeque on the following day.

The proceedings were concluded on 14 March with a gala dinner in die Centenary Complex at the UFS attended by 153 staff members, post-graduate students (current and former) and other guests. During the dinner the guests were treated to a presentation of historical photos of the founding and development of the department. Currently the department is one of the largest departments in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences in respect of the number of staff members and students as well as research outputs. This is the result of entrepreneurial actions to increase student numbers and research activities, as well as the merging with the smaller Department of Biochemistry in 1988 and more recently with the Department of Food Science in 2002. The department comprises 20 academics, 24 support staff and 65 postgraduate students. It also boasts 12 lecturers with ratings from the National Research Foundation (NRF), which include three academics with a B-rating, an indication of international recognition for their research. The department has the largest number of lecturers with an NRF-rating at the UFS. 

“It was interesting to learn during the reunion of the variety of professions occupied by former students of the department, i.e. at other tertiary educational institutions, the CSSIR, SAPPI, Sasol and a multitude of other industries, as well as at research institutions in the USA and Australia,” said Prof. James du Preez, Head of the Department.

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