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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

Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS) produces 22 graduates
2016-04-26

Description: Lutho Xintolo and mom Tags: Lutho Xintolo and mom

Lutho Xintolo (right) is one of the Centre for Universal Access and Disability Support 2016 graduates. She is currently pursuing her Honours in Psychology.
Photo: Supplied

Once again, the University of the Free State (UFS) hosted a successful series of graduations from 12-15 April 2016 where 3681 students were conferred qualifications at the Bloemfontein Campus. Among those graduating were 22 students who are affiliated with the university’s Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS).

Some of these students included Zingisa Ngwenya, who is currently busy with her second degree; Grant Lombaard, Zanele Morerwa, and Lutho Xintolo, all of whom are pursuing their Honours degrees. Louzanne Coetzee, a visually-impaired international champion athlete, was awarded a Communication: Corporate Marketing Honours degree this autumn. “We have five athletes and a cyclist with disabilities, amongst our students who are of world-class standard,” said Martie Miranda, Head of the Center.

The Center assists students to gain access to study courses, buildings, and lecture venues, learning material such as Braille, audio, enlarged print, and E-text, computer facilities with assistive technology and software and adapted hardware, and a specialised examination and test venue for alternative test and exam procedures,” Miranda added.

Students with disabilities who enrol with CUADS receive support according to their individual needs from registration through to graduation.  “During this process we identify challenges experienced in their administrative, academic, support, student life, and physical environments, and then address these challenges,” Miranda said.

Support provided by the Center includes amanuenses and extra time during tests and exams according to the student’s specific needs, (as determined through evaluation by the Extra Time Panel), together with Student Counselling and Development, academic tutors provided by the New Academic Tutor programme in collaboration with the UFS Centre for Teaching and Learning, and Sign Language interpreters or lip-speakers as well as real-time captioning.

Students with specific learning difficulties, mobility, visual, or hearing impairments, psychological, or other chronic conditions that might have a disabling effect on them, as well as those with temporary impairments, are fully supported by the CUADS. The Center strives to ensure that students achieve their full potential throughout their journey with our university.

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