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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

UFS launches focused research niche areas
2009-11-20

The University of the Free State (UFS) will launch its six research niche areas, the Strategic Academic Clusters, from 23-25 November 2009 on its Main Campus in Bloemfontein.

These Clusters represent a move from a fragmented to a more focused approach to research development at the UFS and will in future direct the University’s research endeavours.

“The UFS is increasingly operating in a competitive environment where South African universities no longer compete only with their national counterparts, but also internationally. With the Clusters the University will follow a focused approach to the strategic selection of niche knowledge platforms and research areas,” says Prof. Frans Swanepoel, Director of Research Development at the UFS.

The Clusters are: Water management in water-scarce areas; New frontiers in poverty reduction and sustainable development; Transformation in highly diverse societies; Technologies for sustainable crop industries in semi-arid regions; Materials and nanosciences; and Advanced biomolecular research.

“The Clusters embody the pursuit of quality and excellence and the name signifies the University’s concern not only with research, but also with under- and postgraduate teaching and learning. The vision is that the Cluster activities will not only drive world-class research outputs, but also contribute to internationally renowned graduate programme activities,” says Prof. Swanepoel.

Each of the Clusters is led by a dedicated director who provides academic leadership, facilitates cutting-edge research, leverages multidisciplinary synergies and coordinates the overall Cluster activities.

Next week’s launch programme will start on Monday, 23 November 2009 with a gala dinner, followed by a plenary symposium on Tuesday, 24 November 2009, during which the Clusters will be introduced.

Several national and international experts in the fields covered by the Clusters will take part in this symposium. They are, amongst others: Dr Danny Walmsley from St Mary’s University in Canada; Dr David Wolfe from Cornell University and Dr David Clark from the National Institute of Health, both in the USA; Mr Mark Ashley from the Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre in Australia; Dr Ian Goldman from the Office of the Presidency in South Africa; Prof Peter Ewang from the South African National Development Agency; Mr Willem Louw from Sasol Technology; and Dr Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela from the University of Cape Town.

On Wednesday, 25 November 2009 each Cluster will present its own symposium.

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Deputy Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za  
20 November 2009

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