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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 to get transformation plan for African context
2005-02-04

The University of the Free State is to draft a comprehensive Transformation Plan to give impetus to the process of making the UFS an inclusive, non-racial, non-sexist, multi-cultural and multi-lingual university within the African context.

Delivering a keynote speech at the Official Opening of the UFS today, the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Frederick Fourie, said the Transformation Plan would include aspects such as employment equity, institutional culture, academic excellence, and other elements.

He added that another aspect to be considered in the academic element of the Transformation Plan was the issue of the African context, of a university for Africa, in Africa, of the African university.

According to Prof Fourie, the best way of understanding the role of the UFS in Africa and for Africa, is for the university to become a truly engaged university that bridges the gap between the institution and the community. He said the UFS had for more than 10 years been at the forefront of transformation in higher education, and had gone through several phases of transformation. However the UFS needed to embark on a new phase of transformation which would be guided by a comprehensive Transformation Plan.

The Transformation Plan would be the result of an inclusive consultation process involving staff, students, alumni and other stakeholders. It would also be based on a review of current policies and practices.
The process would be led by a Transformation Plan Team, co-ordinated by the Vice-Rector: Academic Operations, Prof Teuns Verschoor, and the Vice-Rector: Student Affairs, Dr Ezekiel Moraka.

“Obviously we should also not underestimate the complexities of transformation and of building a new society, given our complex history and the legacies of poverty, underdevelopment, colonialism and apartheid.

“We must consider support for staff involved in these transformation steps, including appropriate staff development, capacity to support transformation processes, as well as flexible and supportive administrative practices,” Prof Fourie said.

He said the UFS management understood the urgency of transformation in the current democratic South Africa and the changing global environment and appealed to staff and students to participate fully in drafting the Transformation Plan for the UFS.

“Transformation at the UFS has been and will continue to be a process with many facets that seek to enhance excellence in all spheres of university life, and is much more than merely ensuring employment equity,” he said.

Prof Fourie said: “We have reached a historic moment in the life of the UFS where innovative thinking and bold steps yet again are necessary because failure is not an option.”

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel: (051) 401-2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
4 February 2005

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