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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

University Assembly focuses on symbols, policies, practices, and curricula
2015-04-30

On Tuesday 28 April 2015, the University of the Free State (UFS) held a University Assembly in the Callie Human Centre on the Bloemfontein Campus, which served as a space for critical engagement among staff and students to focus on issues such as symbols, policies, practices, and curricula.

The Assembly, attended by executive and senior management, members of the UFS Council and the President of the UFS Convocation, was also streamed live to the Qwaqwa and South Campuses.

The aim of the Assembly was to deal with above-mentioned issues as transformative strategies for creating a university culture that supports its Human and Academic Projects, as embedded in responsible citizenship, human dignity, and democratic participation.

In light of inclusivity, all staff and students were invited to table their views and submit it for discussion at the assembly, to be forwarded later as recommendations to the various decision-making structures of the UFS.

A total of 12 submissions were made at the Assembly. These submissions focused on the following issues:

• The Transformative power of sport at the UFS
• Four submissions on Language Policy – whether to include other languages or going onward to be an all English institution.
• Curriculum: Substance of what we teach
• Experiences of our first-years
• Four submissions on: Statues and symbols
• The Student Representative Council’s (SRC’s) responsibility and structure.

The UFS Management considers the above-mentioned submissions, as well as the University Assembly of 28 April 2015, as the beginning of a comprehensive process to stimulate discourse about these issues on various platforms of the university.

The discussions are in an early stage and no decisions have been taken yet. Final recommendations on the issues will be submitted to the normal decision-making structures of the university, such as the Rectorate, Senate, and Institutional Forum, after which it will ultimately be presented to the UFS Council for approval.

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