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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 honours young researchers
2006-02-10

Some of the guests attending the recognition function were from the left:  Prof Magda Fourie (Vice-Rector:  Academic Planning at the UFS), Mr Joseph Smiles (lecturer at the UFS Department of Political Science and Thuthuka grant holder), Prof Frans Swanepoel (Director:  Research Development at the UFS) and Dr Carlien Pohl (lecturer at the UFS Department of Microbial,  Biochemical and Food Biotechnology and Thuthuka grant holder).
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs

The guest speaker was Prof Jonathan Jansen, Dean:  Faculty of Education at the University of Pretoria (UP).  He gave tips to young and promising researchers on how to be an outstanding scholar. 
What is a Scholar 

UFS honours young researchers       

The University of the Free State (UFS) last night honoured 24 young researchers who are taking part in the National Research Fund’s (NRF) Thuthuka programme.

The recognition function is the first of its kind at the UFS.  “The renewed focus on research development that was recently announced at the official opening of the UFS by the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Frederick Fourie, is an indication of the institution’s endeavour to create an environment in which research can be improved and flourish.  This can only be obtained when researchers are being valued and that is why it is important to honour our young researchers,” said Mrs Annelize Venter, researcher at the UFS Research Development Directorate and coordinator of the programme.
 
The focus on research was also touched on recently by President Thabo Mbeki during the opening of Parliament when he said:  “We will continue to engage the leadership of our tertiary institutions focused on working with them to meet the nation’s expectations with regard to teaching and research. For its part, the government is determined to increase the resource allocation for research and development and innovation, and increase the pool of young researchers."

According to Mrs Venter, research done in 2004 shows that the majority researchers who publish are white males above the age of 50.  “Many students who undertake magister studies choose not to conduct research, but rather to do a thesis and additional subjects.  This means that research is not stimulated.  Students also find it difficult to obtain financial support for postgraduate studies,” she explained.
“Thutuka is a capacity building programme of the NRF that is aimed to 
fund and support the qualifications of women and young black scientists and other researchers who do not have a rating for postgraduate research.  It is based on a funding partnership between the UFS and the NRF,” said Mrs Venter.

Last night Prof Frans Swanepoel, Director: Research Development at the UFS, added to his by saying:  “With the Thuthuka programme we aim to create and sustain a research culture at the UFS, promote international research and train researchers of a high quality and enhance the research capacity at the UFS by focusing on women, black researchers and other promising researchers.”
 
The programme was started by the NRF in 2001.  At that stage only 17 grants were made countrywide.  Last year 370 postgraduate students took part in the programme.

According to Mrs Venter the programme was implemented at the UFS in 2003.  “At that stage we only had 5 grant holders.  This year there are 24 Ph D and magister students on the programme,” she said. 

A couple of young promising researchers, who will be participating in the programme in 2007, also attended last night’s recognition function.

The guest speaker was Prof Jonathan Jansen, Dean:  Faculty of Education at the University of Pretoria (UP).  He gave tips to young and promising researchers on how to be an outstanding scholar.

Nine professors were also congratulated with their promotion to senior research professor, namely Proff Louise Cilliers (Department of English and Classical Languages), James du Preez (Department of Microbial,  Biochemical and Food Biotechnology), Johan Grobbelaar (Department of Plant Sciences), Dingie Janse van Rensburg (Centre for Health Systems Research and Development), Dap Louw (Department of Psychology), Philip Nel (Department of Afro-asiatic Studies and Language Practice and Sign Language), Louis Scott (Department of Plant Sciences), Dirk van den Berg (Department of History of Art) and  Andries Raath (Department of Constitutional Law and Philosophy of Law).

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel:   (051) 401-2584
Cell:  083 645 2454
E-mail:  loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
10 February 2006

 

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