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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 to get transformation plan for African context
2005-02-04

The University of the Free State is to draft a comprehensive Transformation Plan to give impetus to the process of making the UFS an inclusive, non-racial, non-sexist, multi-cultural and multi-lingual university within the African context.

Delivering a keynote speech at the Official Opening of the UFS today, the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Frederick Fourie, said the Transformation Plan would include aspects such as employment equity, institutional culture, academic excellence, and other elements.

He added that another aspect to be considered in the academic element of the Transformation Plan was the issue of the African context, of a university for Africa, in Africa, of the African university.

According to Prof Fourie, the best way of understanding the role of the UFS in Africa and for Africa, is for the university to become a truly engaged university that bridges the gap between the institution and the community. He said the UFS had for more than 10 years been at the forefront of transformation in higher education, and had gone through several phases of transformation. However the UFS needed to embark on a new phase of transformation which would be guided by a comprehensive Transformation Plan.

The Transformation Plan would be the result of an inclusive consultation process involving staff, students, alumni and other stakeholders. It would also be based on a review of current policies and practices.
The process would be led by a Transformation Plan Team, co-ordinated by the Vice-Rector: Academic Operations, Prof Teuns Verschoor, and the Vice-Rector: Student Affairs, Dr Ezekiel Moraka.

“Obviously we should also not underestimate the complexities of transformation and of building a new society, given our complex history and the legacies of poverty, underdevelopment, colonialism and apartheid.

“We must consider support for staff involved in these transformation steps, including appropriate staff development, capacity to support transformation processes, as well as flexible and supportive administrative practices,” Prof Fourie said.

He said the UFS management understood the urgency of transformation in the current democratic South Africa and the changing global environment and appealed to staff and students to participate fully in drafting the Transformation Plan for the UFS.

“Transformation at the UFS has been and will continue to be a process with many facets that seek to enhance excellence in all spheres of university life, and is much more than merely ensuring employment equity,” he said.

Prof Fourie said: “We have reached a historic moment in the life of the UFS where innovative thinking and bold steps yet again are necessary because failure is not an option.”

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

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