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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

UFS hosts Commonwealth universities
2005-08-25

The University of the Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein will host delegates from 14 universities across the Commonwealth next week as part of a programme to measure and promote excellence in university management.

The workshop will be held from Monday, 29 August to Wednesday, 31 August 2005 as part of the Commonwealth University Management Benchmarking Programme, run by the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU).

It is the first time that the UFS will host the workshop and the second time that it is held in South Africa. 

“The purpose of the programme is to promote and measure excellence in university management.  Unlike other university benchmarking programmes that focus on matters such as research output, the programme run by the ACU follows a process benchmarking approach and aims to identify and promote best practice and quality assurance,” said Prof Magda Fourie, Vice-Rector: Academic Planning at the UFS.

According to Prof Fourie the programme runs on an annual basis and works on a quality improvement cycle.  Every year certain areas of university management are evaluated by a panel of international assessors.  This year it focuses on strategic planning, recruitment and retention of staff, and branding. 
If weaknesses are identified, plans are compiled which should result in  an upward spiral of continued quality improvement.

“The UFS has been taking part in the programme for the past five years.  Last year we fared particularly well with the evaluation of our change management and engagement with the community,” said Prof Fourie. 

“The ACU benchmarking programme is a useful forum in which we can measure ourselves against  our peers.  It will also help us to prepare for the audit of the effectiveness of our quality assurance policies and systems, which will be conducted in October 2006 by the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) of the Council for Higher Education (CHE),” said Prof Fourie.

Other universities that will take part in the workshop include the Leeds Metropolitan University, the University of Glamorgan in the United Kingdom, the University of Northern British Columbia in Canada, the Central Queensland University, the Monash University in Australia, and the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits).


Media release
Issued by:  Lacea Loader
   Media Representative
   Tel:  (051) 401-2584
   Cell:  083 645 2454
   E-mail:  loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
25 August 2005
 

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