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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

University publishes its Integrated Report
2013-08-23

23 August 2013

The university is proud to have published an integrated report in line with the King III requirements on corporate governance. The university is one of the first universities – if not the first – in South Africa to do so. The UFS sees integrated reporting as a public process through which we report to all our stakeholders, using evidence-based data, on the achievements and challenges of a public university.

Our first Integrated Report reviews the overall performance, non-financial and financial, of the UFS for the 2012 academic year. It is the first report of its kind delivered to stakeholders and guided by the King III framework which recommends integrated, sustainable performance that is reported in a way that enables stakeholders to make an informed assessment of an institution.

The Integrated Report notes that the conditions under which higher education institutions operate have become more demanding in the last two decades and there is a growing need for universities to be more explicit and transparent about the manner in which their core functions (teaching, research and public duty), as well as its administrative operations, are defined by and support good governance, sustainability and corporate citizenship.

The university welcomes this opportunity to present in public an integrated account of itself. In particular, the UFS sees this report as an opportunity to align more strongly its financial and non-financial reporting in pursuit of organisational sustainability and social transformation in South Africa.

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, notes in the report that in the past four years the university has made significant progress in respect of its two foundational commitments, the Academic Project and the Human Project.

There are now more students entering the university who satisfy the higher requirements set for admission. “This will improve the throughput and graduation rates of incoming students, ensuring their personal success and satisfaction with higher education.” The establishment of a state-of-the-art Postgraduate School, for example, is expected to increase the number, quality and success rates of postgraduate students.

The research output has increased steadily and the contribution of the new Senior Professors project, as well as the five research clusters, have helped to improve the quality of research and the spread of postgraduate recruitment beyond South Africa.

On transformation, the Vice-Chancellor observes that “We have made significant progress in building inclusive, democratic and embracing campus cultures which affirm the value and dignity of all students and staff. With the steady increase of black students in a majority black campus, our goal remains to retain our diversity in a university that serves as an experiment in teaching students to live and learn and love together.”

Financial sustainability is a major commitment and the UFS has not only maintained its record of unqualified audits, but has steadily built a culture of risk management and performance evaluation throughout the system. Internal auditing is a strong instrument in our arsenal to secure financial and operational compliance in every department of the university.

“What integrates the systems and functions of the university is the alignment of everything we do with our two pillars, the Academic and Human Projects, built on a solid foundation of professional support services as described in the Strategic Plan adopted in 2012. In the process of preparing the Integrated Report we discovered how much still needs to be done to align the still disparate and independent activities of the three campuses, seven faculties and more than 100 departments of this large university,” according to the Vice-Chancellor.

The report is available at: http://www.ufs.ac.za/content.aspx?id=184.

 

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