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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

New Academic Head at South Campus to expand distance learning programmes into the global arena
2016-02-10

“Critical area of focus: Diversify provision, based on open learning principles, to improve learning opportunities across the post-school education and training sector” - SA Department of Higher Education and Training Strategic Plan 2015/16-2019/20

Open and distance learning (ODL) programmes will play a critical role in shaping the landscape of higher education. Not only does the South African Department of Higher Education and Training emphasise the importance of ODL, it is also contained within the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. And now the University of the Free State (UFS) is becoming a major role player in the field through the cutting-edge ODL programmes offered by the South Campus.

Description: Jean Grundling  Tags: Jean Grundling

Jean Grundling has recently been appointed as the Academic Head of the South Campus.

At the helm of these programmes is the recently-appointed Academic Head of the South Campus: Jean Grundling. According to the new organisational structure of the South Campus, the Academic Head reports directly to the Campus Principal: Dr Daniella Coetzee.

“My role,” says Grundling, “focuses on developing and monitoring processes that will enable effective and efficient implementation of the three pillars of ODL.” These three pillars consist of:

• the design and development of quality learner-centred learning materials and tools during their ODL journeys;
• the selection, appointment, and development of competent facilitators to guide, coach, tutor, and support students; and
• the integration of administrative processes that will enable and support students to study at their own pace, place, and in their own time.

“Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education, and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

As part of her personal vision, Grundling would like to see the South Campus grow and develop into an institution that offers quality ODL programmes not only nationally, but globally. “I would like the South Campus to become an agent of social transformation in South Africa.”

Ultimately, Grundling’s wish is for the South Campus to contribute to the development and empowerment of people so that they can play a positive role in society.

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