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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 celebrates research excellence
2016-02-25

Description: UFS celebrates research excellence Tags: UFS celebrates research excellence

Researchers at the university were acknowledged for their new research ratings. From the left are: Prof Johann de Wet, Department of Communication Sciences; Prof Naomi Morgan, Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, German and French; Prof Corli Witthuhn, Vice-Rector: Research; Prof André Pelser, Department of Sociology; Dr Trudi O’Neill, Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology; and Prof Riaz Seedat, Department Otorhinolaryngology.

During a recent gala occasion, the University of the Free State (UFS) acknowledged 15 of its researchers who received new ratings from the National Research Foundation (NRF).

According to Prof Corli Witthuhn, Vice-Rector: Research at the UFS, 37 applications have already been received for the next round of ratings by the NRF. In recent years, the university has experienced an increase in the rating of its researchers as the result of raised academic standards. These are in line with the Academic Project of the UFS. The UFS has 125 rated researchers in total.

The 15 recipients of new ratings from the NRF in 2015,are:

- Dr Tanya Beelders, Computer Science: Y2
- Dr Andrew Cohen, History: Y1
- Prof Pieter de Villiers, Theology: C2
- Prof Johann de Wet, Communication: C3
- Dr Angelinus Franke, Agriculture: C2
- Prof Jonathan Jansen, Education: B1
- Prof Riaan Luyt, Chemistry: B3
- Prof Naomi Morgan, Linguistics: C2
- Dr Trudi O’Neill, Microbiology: C1
- Prof André Pelser, Sociology: C3
- Dr Johann Rossouw, Philosophy: C2
- Prof Riaz Seedat, Health: C3
- Dr Jakub Urbaniak, Theology: Y2
- Dr Martin van Zyl, Mathematics: C3
- Prof Sue Walker, Soil, Crop and Climate Sciences: C1

The UFS also celebrated its five SARChI research chairs during this event. The main goal of the research chairs is to promote research excellence.

The five research chairs at the UFS are all established at Tier 1. Research chairs in the Tier 1 category are based on the researcher's research track record, as well as on the training record of his/her postgraduate and postdoctoral students.  Tier 1 research chairs are awarded to established researchers who are leaders in their field, and whose work is recognised internationally.

The following research chairs have been awarded to the UFS since 2013:

- Solid State Luminescent and Advanced Materials, Prof Hendrik Swart in the Department of Physics (2013-2017)
- Disease Resistance and Quality in Field Crops, Prof Maryke Labuschagne (2016-2020)
- Higher Education and Human Development, Prof Melanie Walker (2013-2017)
- Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Pathogens, Prof Felicity Burt (2016-2020)
- Humanities without Borders: Trauma, History and Memory (2016-2020) 

 

 

 

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