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29 January 2019 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Anja Aucamp
Prof Francis Petersen speech
“We can create an institution that operates and lives in the times of embracing and celebrating diversity, inclusivity, and academic excellence by ensuring that students own their time at university,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

25 January 2019 marked the official welcoming of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) first-year students, as they moved into their respective residences and were warmly welcomed on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus. This day also marked the start of the registration process for first-year students.

According to first-year Psychology student Keisha Claasen, who moved into her residence earlier on 25 January, her first experience of the UFS was daunting but exciting, as she had never been in a similar environment. According to Given Gwerera, who dropped his son off at the Karee residence earlier the day, “the UFS is an institution with great culture and an overall good academic record.” He further explained that he trusts his son to make full use of the opportunities presented to him, as he has a cool head on his shoulders.

On the evening of 25 January, an eager group of millennials, joined by their parents, took the first sip from their cup of varsity life as they assembled on the Red Square of the Bloemfontein Campus to meet the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, members of Rectorate, the deans of all faculties, and the Student Representative Council (SRC) of the UFS.

“2019 will be a year of continued change; the UFS is thrilled about the prospect of bringing about opportunities for adaptation and realignment to the future,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

He further explained that the university prides itself in moulding its students into well-rounded individuals who will develop into globally competitive graduates as required in a diversity of landscapes. Prof Petersen urged first-years to remain open to the technological developments that go with globalisation, because of its permanent effects on society today.

First-years were further advised to take advantage of the rich pool of academic research and knowledge that is characteristic of the university and is piloted by UFS scholars, by engaging with and learning from them.

The inspiring night concluded on a colourful note, as the audience enjoyed an artistic laser show in front of the Main Building. Caption:

“UFS academics conduct research that forces the world to take note,” said Prof Francis Petersen at the official first-year welcoming ceremony on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus.

News Archive

New developments in the Faculty of Theology and Religion
2017-08-30

Description: Theology read more Tags: Faculty of Theology and Religion, name change, Prof Fanie Snyman, restructuring, teaching and research 

Bishop JM Khumalo, Apostolic Church of
Christ; Prof Fanie Snyman, Dean of the
Faculty of Theology and Religion; and
Rev Simon Galada, Wesleyan Church,
at the faculty’s official opening in
February 2017. 
Photo: Eugene Seegers



At a meeting of the UFS Council last year, a name change was accepted for the Faculty of Theology, renaming it to the Faculty of Theology and Religion. This change signals openness in approach to other religions, in addition to those of Christian denominations. This is a development that took root in Europe a few years ago. Furthermore, a growing field of interest is the study of the impact religion has had and still has, even in highly secularised societies. This name change is the first of its kind in South Africa, which means that the faculty will lead the way in transformation and impact-based religious studies.

Exciting times lie ahead
Prof Fanie Snyman, Dean of the faculty, says of these refinements: “The new name and restructuring of departments will lead to a new synergy that will have an impact on our teaching and research in the faculty. Exciting times lie ahead for the Faculty of Theology and Religion!”

Apart from the change in the name of the faculty, departments within the faculty were also regrouped, with new names. The Departments of Old Testament and New Testament merged to become the Department of Old and New Testament Studies, while the Departments of Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology merged and will now be known as the Department of Historical and Constructive Theology. The former Departments of Practical Theology and Missiology became the Department of Practical and Missional Theology. The Department of Religion Studies remained unchanged to emphasise the importance of religion in South Africa and the world at large.
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Distinction of theological disciplines
The rationale for these groupings is the distinction of theological disciplines in terms of the study of texts (Old and New Testament), sources (Systematic Theology and Church History), and practices (Practical Theology and Missiology). One benefit of these newly-constructed departments is that they will be more cost-effective, but the more important advantage is that this will stimulate discussion and research across the various theological disciplines.


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