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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

Universities now public spaces to exercise citizenship
2016-08-30

Description: Prof Lis Lange critical conversation Tags: Prof Lis Lange critical conversation

Prof Lis Lange believes universities have a critical
role to play in advancing democracy.
Photo: Thabo Kessah

In an attempt to promote common understanding on governance, leadership, and management processes at the University of the Free State (UFS), the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice (IRSJ) recently hosted a critical conversation on the Qwaqwa Campus that was facilitated by Vice-Rector: Academic, Prof Lis Lange.

Prof Lange’s presentation firstly focused on the role that universities play, and the expectations thereof.

“From ancient history, universities have always had a critical role to play in the broader society,” she said. “They have always been characterised by the circulation of knowledge and ideas at a global level. They have always ensured that students’ skills and knowledge are properly certified.”

According to her, universities have changed quite a bit over the centuries.

“Historically, universities used to cater for the chosen few, but they now allow multitudes to have access as well. In the early 20th century, women and foreigners, for example, were excluded. How they relate to the society has also changed. They also used to create certain types of knowledge – at one stage this knowledge was influenced by the church. Research is now produced across a large spectrum of human and scientific knowledge,” she said.

Prof Lange also added that universities now even have a responsibility to advance democracy and to respond to societal needs.

“Despite the various tensions and contradictions between management and academic staff, between management and students, and between academic staff and students, universities are now public spaces to exercise citizenship. They provide space for all to have the right to speak and to be heard. They provide space for all to have similar rights and responsibilities,’ she said, while breaking down all the governance, leadership and management structures of the UFS.

The conversation was concluded with a question and answer session, with students mainly asking about internal UFS processes.

The session was well received by students.

“I really loved the conversation, which to me, was about breaking the walls between the management and students so as to achieve the goal of an effective university. We need more of these dialogues,” said Noxola Tshabalala, a BA Psychology student.

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