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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

Three minutes for research
2015-09-07

When you have only three minutes in which to explain an 80 000-word thesis, every second counts. This is what researchers from across the country realised during the first national round of South Africa’s Three-minute thesis competition.

The University of the Free State (UFS) Postgraduate School hosted this international competition on the Bloemfontein Campus, where master’s and doctoral students from 12 universities participated. During the competition, each researcher had to give a presentation on his/her research within three minutes.

Dr Henriette van den Berg, Director of the UFS’s Postgraduate School, and presenter of the two-day competition, said the competition is the ideal platform to teach researchers how to become effective research communicators.

“It is important that researchers should learn to communicate the essence of their research to audiences that aren’t necessarily specialists in the field. They should also be able to emphasise how their research contributes to the success and well-being of communities. Researchers often have to explain to persons who aren’t specialists in their specific research area the reasons why it is important to fund the research, for example, or during a work interview. They should be able to convey the essence of their research effectively in a very short time.”

The 3MT competition, which originated at the University of Queensland in Australia, has in 2010 developed into an international trend since its inception. Currently, the 3MT is presented in Australia, the USA, and the UK.

For the competition, participants are given just three minutes to explain their research. In this time, they have to explain the problem and the methodology, as well as why this research is important. Participants are allowed to make use of only one piece of static imaging material for support.

A panel of judges from the participating universities were selected to assess each presentation, based on how well participants expressed themselves in such a short time, and on their choice of imagery.

Gavin Robinson from the University of Johannesburg, Cameron McIntosh, and Ingrid Alleman, both from the UFS, were the respective winners in the categories for doctoral and master’s students.

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