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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 Assembly focuses on symbols, policies, practices, and curricula
2015-04-30

On Tuesday 28 April 2015, the University of the Free State (UFS) held a University Assembly in the Callie Human Centre on the Bloemfontein Campus, which served as a space for critical engagement among staff and students to focus on issues such as symbols, policies, practices, and curricula.

The Assembly, attended by executive and senior management, members of the UFS Council and the President of the UFS Convocation, was also streamed live to the Qwaqwa and South Campuses.

The aim of the Assembly was to deal with above-mentioned issues as transformative strategies for creating a university culture that supports its Human and Academic Projects, as embedded in responsible citizenship, human dignity, and democratic participation.

In light of inclusivity, all staff and students were invited to table their views and submit it for discussion at the assembly, to be forwarded later as recommendations to the various decision-making structures of the UFS.

A total of 12 submissions were made at the Assembly. These submissions focused on the following issues:

• The Transformative power of sport at the UFS
• Four submissions on Language Policy – whether to include other languages or going onward to be an all English institution.
• Curriculum: Substance of what we teach
• Experiences of our first-years
• Four submissions on: Statues and symbols
• The Student Representative Council’s (SRC’s) responsibility and structure.

The UFS Management considers the above-mentioned submissions, as well as the University Assembly of 28 April 2015, as the beginning of a comprehensive process to stimulate discourse about these issues on various platforms of the university.

The discussions are in an early stage and no decisions have been taken yet. Final recommendations on the issues will be submitted to the normal decision-making structures of the university, such as the Rectorate, Senate, and Institutional Forum, after which it will ultimately be presented to the UFS Council for approval.

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