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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

Statement: Visit of the Portfolio Committee on Education to the UFS
2005-02-25

The chair of the Portfolio Committee on Education (PCE) Prof Shepherd Mayatula has commended the management of the University of the Free State (UFS) for its positive approach to the incorporation of the Vista and Qwaqwa campuses.

According to a statement issued by the university’s communication section, Prof Mayatula said that while there were outstanding issues to address, a platform had been created through the visit of the portfolio committee for the UFS to find solutions.

Speaking at the end of a visit to the Bloemfontein campus of the UFS, Prof Mayatula said: “You know the issues that exist between the three campuses and you know the solutions. You don’t need recommendations from the Committee.”

Earlier today the PCE held a three-way meeting between the PCE, the management of the UFS and the Vista Task Team, representing staff and students at the Bloemfontein campus of the former Vista University .
 

The Bloemfontein campus of the former Vista University was incorporated into the UFS in January 2004.

The multi-party delegation from the PCE was led by its chairperson, Prof S Mayatula, while the delegation from the UFS was led by the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Frederick Fourie, while the Vista Task Team was lead by Mr Paseka Mokoena.

Following a presentation by the Vista Task Team and a presentation by the UFS management, other committee members also commended the UFS for the spirit in which outstanding issues were being handled.

It was indicated by portfolio committee members that other universities have far more serious problems than the UFS, and that some of these universities have also been visited by the PCE. The UFS appears to be on the road to be an important pilot case for incorporations and mergers.

The issues that were discussed during today’s meeting included the following:

  • outstanding issues in the process of incorporating the Bloemfontein campus of the former Vista University into the UFS, including:
  • staff issues and conditions of service
  • issues of student aid and pipeline students
  • governance of the UFS
  • the long term utilisation of Vista as a site

The Rector and Vice-chancellor of the UFS, Prof Fourie, expressed his appreciation for the role played by the Portfolio Committee on Education in bringing about a common understanding of the transformation issues facing the UFS.

Prof Fourie said the Portfolio Committee’s visit was a useful intervention to bring about a sense of urgency in resolving matters affecting the Vista campus as well as the Qwaqwa campus.

Issued by: Mr Anton Fisher
Director: Strategic Communication
Cell: 072-207-8334
Tel: 051-401-2749
25 February 2005

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