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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

New Academic Head at South Campus to expand distance learning programmes into the global arena
2016-02-10

“Critical area of focus: Diversify provision, based on open learning principles, to improve learning opportunities across the post-school education and training sector” - SA Department of Higher Education and Training Strategic Plan 2015/16-2019/20

Open and distance learning (ODL) programmes will play a critical role in shaping the landscape of higher education. Not only does the South African Department of Higher Education and Training emphasise the importance of ODL, it is also contained within the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. And now the University of the Free State (UFS) is becoming a major role player in the field through the cutting-edge ODL programmes offered by the South Campus.

Description: Jean Grundling  Tags: Jean Grundling

Jean Grundling has recently been appointed as the Academic Head of the South Campus.

At the helm of these programmes is the recently-appointed Academic Head of the South Campus: Jean Grundling. According to the new organisational structure of the South Campus, the Academic Head reports directly to the Campus Principal: Dr Daniella Coetzee.

“My role,” says Grundling, “focuses on developing and monitoring processes that will enable effective and efficient implementation of the three pillars of ODL.” These three pillars consist of:

• the design and development of quality learner-centred learning materials and tools during their ODL journeys;
• the selection, appointment, and development of competent facilitators to guide, coach, tutor, and support students; and
• the integration of administrative processes that will enable and support students to study at their own pace, place, and in their own time.

“Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education, and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

As part of her personal vision, Grundling would like to see the South Campus grow and develop into an institution that offers quality ODL programmes not only nationally, but globally. “I would like the South Campus to become an agent of social transformation in South Africa.”

Ultimately, Grundling’s wish is for the South Campus to contribute to the development and empowerment of people so that they can play a positive role in society.

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