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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

Renowned Sign Language expert heads UFS department
2009-11-27

 Mr Philemon Akach

The Department of Afro-asiatic Studies, Sign Language and Language Practice in the Faculty of the Humanities at the University of the Free State recently appointed Mr Philemon Akach as its new chairperson.

Mr Akach, hitherto a senior lecturer in the department, succeeds Prof Annelie Lotriet who left the university earlier this year after having been elected to serve in the national parliament by the Democratic Alliance.

“To head the entire department has never crossed my mind because I think I am discipline oriented,” he said.

He said the confidence that his colleagues have in him gives him the impetus to succeed. “It gives me the opportunity to rethink my position within the department and the university at large,” he said.

However, his Sign Language students will be glad to know that he will not be lost to them as the result of this new responsibility.

“I cannot neglect Sign Language,” he stressed. “I have to teach because the academic side of Sign Language has to be maintained within the university, as well as nationally and internationally. I just have to divide my time between the administration of Sign Language and the teaching and research application in my discipline (Sign Language).”

To ease the load that comes with his new responsibility and the added pressure of being the only Sign Language lecturer, he said they have contracted former students to teach some courses in Sign Language.

“We have to keep in place the disciplines that keep this department’s name going,” he said.

A major challenge facing his department, according to Mr Akach, is getting more students enrolled in the disciplines offered by the department.

“To get students we need to convince them that we are the best, and that is not just a challenge for me but for the department and the lecturers in the department teaching those disciplines.”

He said he will strive for excellence in the department as part of the overall vision of the university.

“We need to get research output while not neglecting the teaching part. It is research that brings in new knowledge and it is through research that scholars expose themselves to the outside world, and by doing that they actually put the name of this university on the international map,” he said.

Mr Akach will serve in this position for the next three years.

Media release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt.stg@ufs.ac.za  
26 November 2009
 

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