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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

Manuel Castillo Book Prize goes to Prof Melanie Walker
2014-05-15



Prof Melanie Walker

Prof Melanie Walker from our Centre for Research on Higher Education and Development (CRHED) and Alejandra Boni from the Technical University of Valencia in Spain makes for a potent writing combination. Their book, Human Development and Capabilities: Re-imagining the University of the twenty-first Century, has won the 2014 Spanish Manuel Castillo Book Prize. This in the category of a Published University Research Monograph.

The aim of this prize is to stimulate academic, scientific and journalist research in the fields of cooperation, peace and human development. And this is precisely what underpins their book.

The content encourages the reader to re-imagine the role of the university and its potential for transformative ends. It urges the creation of better societies while acknowledging contemporary social and economic challenges. It shows how universities might advance human equalities and how these institutions can contribute to sustainable and democratic societies.

In her acceptance speech, Professor Walker noted that “the book is pioneering in its linking universities to human development in an age where globally human capital and economic growth approaches dominate higher education policy.” She noted that the human capital argument is by no means settled – an increased focus on economic growth only contributes to growing inequalities. “We hope the book will challenge and add to debating the purposes of universities,” Prof Walker said.

Not only was this trans-continental collaboration an intellectual and personal joy for Prof Walker, but it has served as a springboard to further research and more writing together with Alejandra Boni.


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