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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 Finkelstein current and only A-rated researcher in Probability and Statistics in SA
2014-10-28



Prof Maxim Finkelstein
Photo: Johan Roux
Prof Maxim Finkelstein from the Department of Mathematical Statistics at the University of the Free State (UFS) received an A-rating from the National Research Foundation (NRF). This makes him the only A-rated researcher in ‘Probability and Statistics’ regarding Mathematical Sciences in the country.

According to the NRF-rating process, a person with an A-rating is a world leader in his field. 

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, said: "I am absolutely delighted for Professor Finkelstein and for the fact that this is one of the clearest signs that the UFS has significantly increased its standards of research across the institution as a whole."

Prof Finkelstein says this rating means a great deal to him, since it is a reflection of his dedication and perseverance.

“Of course, the rating is not a goal in itself,” Prof Finkelstein says. “The goal is the high quality research and the rating is just an objective indication of this. Along with the satisfaction, this rating brings the responsibility for maintaining this high status in the future.”

Prof Finkelstein conducts his general research in the field of ‘Probability and Statistics’, but his specific area of focus is ‘Stochastic Modelling’. Prof Finkelstein solely lectures postgraduate students and also mentors a few master’s and PhD students. This affords him the time to mainly concentrate on his research.

“Finally, I wish to emphasise the fact that high-quality research became the prime goal at the UFS,” says Prof Finkelstein. He underscores the efforts of the Vice-Chancellor and the Vice-Rector: Research in creating excellent possibilities for researchers. This has already resulted in remarkable improvements in the UFS’s research outputs – and consequently an increase in the number of rated researchers at the university.

A total of 119 UFS researchers currently have evaluation and rating status from the NRF, says Nico Benson, Deputy Director: Research Development. Currently (October 2014) 29 researchers are still waiting for response from the NRF regarding applications submitted. A total of 16 ratings are already known. On the Qwaqwa Campus of the UFS, five researchers are rated.

Prof Finkelstein's A-rating will become effective from 1 January 2015. Ratings are valid for a period of six years and researchers are invited to apply for re-evaluation in the fifth year.


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