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26 February 2019 | Story Eugene Seegers | Photo Eugene Seegers
Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Daniella Coetzee, South Campus Principal, Tshegofatso Setilo, Director Access, Prof Prakash Naidoo, Vice-Rector Operations
Prof Francis Petersen, Prof Daniella Coetzee (Principal: South Campus), Tshegofatso Setilo (Head: Access Programmes), and Prof Prakash Naidoo (Vice-Rector: Operations) on the South Campus for the welcoming of first-years.


“Welcome to the South Campus of the University of the Free State!” Addressing a packed Madiba Arena, Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, said he was happy to see not only first-year students, but also parents and guardians, student leadership, and support staff from both the Bloemfontein and South Campuses.

 “I would like to congratulate each of our first-year students for making the decision to come to Kovsies to further your studies here. But I would also like to thank you for making this choice,” he continued.

Prof Petersen further emphasised that the students’ experience and success as individuals are important to the UFS as an institution; therefore, academic and support staff are on hand to guide them through their journey to becoming well-rounded individuals. “We will surely take care of you,” said Prof Petersen. He also reassured parents and guardians that their loved ones would be well looked after.

The Rector also focused attention on the role of student-leadership structures, such as the newly-formed Institutional Student Representative Council (ISRC) and South Campus SRC, members of which were present in the audience. He thanked them for playing a key role in the student constituency, highlighting their support and guidance to help first-years cultivate a sense of belonging at the UFS.

Turning back to first-year students, Prof Petersen stated that they have the unique opportunity to study on a campus specifically focused on developing their full potential, a campus where they can realise their dreams. “Your arrival on the campus marks a new chapter in your life. This chapter is slightly different, as you are the author thereof. The previous chapters in your life were largely written by others—your parents, guardians, families, teachers, and others. You will now be the main author in the next chapter of your unique story.”

“At Kovsies, we believe in developing students in their totality as human beings, not just the academic side. May your time with us equip you to make a success of your life after university!”

Prof Petersen’s Message to First-year Students
  1. Take responsibility for your academic programme.
    • Keep your focus. Study and study hard. You will reap the rewards and see the advantages of making success in your studies a top priority.
    • Make sure that you have enough time for your studies; balance your social life and your time set aside to study.
  2. Realise and remember that you are not alone.
    • If you find things difficult, seek help.
    • Our Department of Student Counselling and Development has trained staff and tailor-made programmes that can assist you.
    • Look after your mental health—and look after each other’s mental health.
  3. Make the most of your time at Kovsies.
    • Join one or more of the student organisations; why not try something new?
  4. Embrace difference and diversity.
    • Get to know students who are different from you.
    • You will lose valuable opportunities to grow if you only associate with your own all the time. It is important to get to know students who are different from you. It could be someone from a different part of the country, or from another country, a different ethnicity, a different religion, someone who has different views from yours, or who has different interests and perspectives.

News Archive

Authentic leaders inspire themselves
2010-04-30

 

 Dr Renalde Huysamen and Mrs Marietjie du Plessis.

Leadership is held in very high esteem. In today’s world the ability to lead and motivate yourself and others is of the utmost importance. This year, Dr Renalde Huysamen and Marietjie du Plessis from the Centre for Higher Education Studies and Development (CHESD) at the University of the Free State (UFS), continue to build on a year-long Leadership-Learning Community Programme that they launched last year.

The aim of the project is, amongst others, to assist academic and non-academic staff at the university not only to discover their own strengths as leaders, but also to dream about it in order to achieve lively, sustainable and flourishing communities of collaborative learning and development. During the first six months of the programme staff members of the UFS investigate their personal and professional experiences and in the process they grow as individuals and authentic leaders.

The group is very diverse in terms of race, gender, language and qualifications. According to Mrs Du Plessis this diversity creates an opportunity where participants learn to understand themselves and others better. Firm ties are forged in a supportive, safe and stimulating environment in which mutual learning can take place.

During the last six months of the year the focus is on research outputs for academic staff en projects for non-academic staff. Some personnel have already published articles and managed to build international relations by means of this. Non-academic personnel have engaged in projects to improve provision of service with great success.

The Leadership Programme comprises 40 hours and includes breakaway sessions, group and individual activities, interviews and conversations, out-door activities, narrations and research methodology. The sessions take place on the UFS campus, but two breakaway sessions at resorts near Bloemfontein are also undertaken. Although this programme has been launched in the Higher-Education sector, it can also be adapted to fulfil the needs of any other sector, says Dr Huysamen.

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