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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

Latest information technology employed to make learning in Disaster Management easy
2014-10-20



Prof Dusan Sakulski
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs
Live, colourful, interactive, real-time-calculated. This is how Prof Dusan Sakulski, researcher and lecturer from the UFS’s Disaster Management Training and Education Centre for Africa (DiMTEC), describes his e-learning platform implemented in this department.

Rather than producing research that gathers dust somewhere in a cabinet, Prof Sakulski believes that research should be used to make life easier, not only for society, but also for his students.
 
This educational civil engineer, who is responsible for information technology implementation in disaster risk management, developed through his research several programs to optimise the three contact sessions DiMTEC students have to attend each year.
 
One of the initiatives implemented by Prof Sakulski and his daughter Teodora, was the recording, editing and compiling of theoretical lessons and making it available to students online. “Students then don’t have the excuse of missing a class. Furthermore, it allows them to rather focus on group work during contact sessions and to discuss problems they encountered with the work,” he says.
 
Students also have access to an early-warning system portal for the prediction of hazards, including droughts, floods, rain and temperature. In the disaster-risk environment, this program is very useful, not only for students, but also for practitioners working with this kind of data on a daily basis. The operational and educational application works in real time – with the click of a mouse students and practitioners have access to information on current weather conditions. Indicators for possible natural disasters are also built into this program. Truly a useful application when you are working in the field of disaster risk management.

Difficult and technical data are presented live, with information that is colourful, interactive, real-time-calculated and audible, thanks to embedded mathematical language. In this way, students can learn, memorise and understand their work better.


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