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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

Prof Dennis Francis delivers keynote address at colloquium on homophobia and transphobia
2013-11-29

Prof Dennis Francis
Prof Dennis Francis, Dean of the Faculty of Education, delivered the keynote address at a colloquium focusing on homophobia and transphobia in schools.

The UNESCO and Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action (GALA) is hosting Transforming Classrooms, Transforming Lives: Combating Homophobia and Transphobia in Education, at the University of Johannesburg.

Looking specifically at the Southern African context, this multi-disciplinary event builds on the highly successful 2012 Colloquium on Challenging Homophobia and Transphobia in South African Schools.

The colloquium allows educators, policy makers, researchers and activists from across Southern Africa to discuss the scope and impact of homophobia and transphobia in the education sector. It also creates a space for delegates to present new research, to discuss recent front-line activities, to reflect on good practices and to workshop future interventions.

Prof Francis’ paper on challenging heterosexism and heteronormativity in a South African school, was recently published in the South African Journal of Education.

For his research, Prof Francis looked at how learners understand and portray gay and lesbian characters and heterosexism by means of Participatory Theatre. He also did research on how teachers in South African schools position themselves on teaching about sexual diversity.

Prof Francis’ research papers also points out how schools promote compulsory heterosexuality and that homosexuality is something to be hidden and kept separate from teaching, learning and daily school life.

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