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25 April 2019 | Story Mamosa Makaya

Since 2016, the University of the Free State Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS) has received a grant from First National Bank worth R2 498 000, which supports tertiary bursaries for students with disabilities. Bursary holders are funded through CUADS, as the administrator of the bursaries.
  
These are students enrolled for various academic programmes who require academic assistance and/or assistive devices such as electronic handheld magnifiers, laptops, and hearing aids. The FNB grant also covers tuition, accommodation, study material and books, and meals.  The success of the grant is already evident, with one of the recipients having graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in December 2018. A second student was capped at the April 2019 graduations with a BSc Honours in Quantity Surveying.
 
Supporting the principles of the ITP

The UFS received the grant from FNB in instalments, starting in the 2016 academic year to date, supporting the needs of 40 disabled students. This grant and the work of CUADS speaks to and supports the principles of the Integrated Transformation Plan (ITP), namely inclusivity, transformation, and diversity. The vision of the Universal Access work stream is to enable the UFS to create an environment where students with disabilities can experience all aspects of student life equal to their non-disabled peers. The ITP provides for the recognition of the rights of people with disabilities as an important lesson in social justice and an opportunity to reinforce university values.

The successful administration of the grant to benefit past and present students is a ‘feather in the cap’ of CUADS, and is a shining example of the impact of public private investment and the endless possibilities that open up when there is a commitment to developing future leaders in academic spaces, allowing them to thrive by creating a learning environment that is welcoming and empowering. 



News Archive

Harvard couple to present lectures on Biostatistics and Mathematics at the UFS
2015-12-07


Professor Donald Rubin

Prof Donald Rubin (John L. Loeb Professor of Statistics at Harvard University) and Elizabeth Zell (MStat - mathematical statistician in the Division of Bacterial Diseases) will visit the University of the Free State (UFS) where they will present lectures on their respective work.

Over his prestigious academic career, Prof Don Rubin’s 400 publications and 13 books have earned him around 180 000 citations at an h-index of 113. He is one of the most cited statisticians/mathematicians/economists/psychologists in the world over the last 10 -15 years. He has supervised 35 PhD candidates as sole-supervisor, 17 more as co-supervisor, with a further eight in the pipeline.

Prof Rubin who will meet with UFS academics in the Department of Mathematics and Actuarial Sciences will also deliver a lecture: Rerandomisation to improve covariate balance in experiments.

Randomised experiments are the “gold standard” for estimating causal effects, yet in practice, chance imbalances often exist in covariate distributions between treatment groups. If covariate data are available before units are exposed to treatments, these chance imbalances can be mitigated by first checking covariate balance before the physical experiment takes place. Provided a precise definition of imbalance has been specified in advance, unbalanced randomisations can be discarded, followed by a rerandomisation. This process can continue until a randomisation yielding balance according to the definition is achieved. By improving covariate balance, rerandomisation provides more precise and trustworthy estimates of treatment effects.

Prof Rubin received an honorary professorship from the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the UFS.


Elizabeth Zell

The lecture will take place on:
Date: Tuesday 8 December 2015
Time: 16:00
Venue: Albert Wessels Auditorium, Bloemfontein Campus

Zell earned her Master’s degree in Statistics at North Carolina State University, and for more than two decades, was an active bio-statistical researcher in various offices of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Since 2013, she has been the Principal Statistician and President of Stat-Epi Associates, Inc. Her 150+ publications have earned her 14 500 citations at an h-index of over 50. She is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, and, in 2010, she received the Statistics Section Government Award for outstanding contributions to statistics and public health by the American Public Health Association. During her career at the CDC, she earned more than 20 CDC research awards and honours.

She will deliver two lectures at the UFS. The first is entitled A Potential Outcomes Approach to Documenting the Public Health Impact of the Introduction of PCV13 for the Prevention of Invasive Pneumococcal Disease. The topic of her second lecture is: Assessing the Effectiveness of Intrapartum Antibiotic Prophylaxis for Prevention of Early-Onset Group B Streptococcus Disease through Propensity Score Design

Elizabeth’s lectures will take place on:
Date: Wednesday 9 December 2015
Time: 10:45 and 13:00
Venue: West Block 111, Bloemfontein Campus

For more information, please contact Dr Michael von Maltitz at VMaltitzMJ@ufs.ac.za.

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