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UFS Rector takes three months sabbatical leave
2008-05-05

The Rector of the University of the Free State (UFS), Prof. Frederick Fourie, has announced that he will be taking three months sabbatical leave as from Thursday, 8 May 2008.

Prof. Fourie recently made the request for sabbatical leave to the Chairperson of the UFS Council, Judge Faan Hancke. The request was approved given the fact that Prof. Fourie has occupied a number of demanding top-management posts for almost nine years, during which time he had to manage a number of major changes at the UFS.

According to Prof. Fourie, he originally wanted to go on sabbatical leave in the second half of 2007 before the start of his second term as rector, but it was not possible at that stage.

He was last on sabbatical in 1996 before he became Dean of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences in 1997 and Vice-Rector: Academic Operations in 1999.

He could not take his next five-yearly leave because in the post of vice-rector he was tasked with leading the financial-turnaround strategy for the UFS from the year 2000 and had to act as rector when the previous rector, Prof. Stef Coetzee, was on sick leave. Since being inaugurated as rector in 2003, there was also no opportunity to take leave as a result of the many key projects and urgent initiatives.

The Vice-Rector: Academic Operations and vice-chairperson of the Senate, Prof. Teuns Verschoor, will be the acting rector. Management processes and decision-making will continue as normal under the leadership of the acting rector together with the Executive Committee of the Executive Management (Exco) and the Executive Management. This applies to the decision about the future of the Reitz Residence as well as the continuing implementation of the policy on diversity in student residences.

According to Judge Hancke it was important that Prof. Fourie took sabbatical leave in the light of the long period he has been at the forefront of very demanding changes. There are many challenges that still lie ahead.

During his leave Prof. Fourie will be involved with the Higher Education South Africa (HESA) investigation into diversity and racism on campuses, with research and a national conference on institutional culture, as well as the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) benchmarking project and its conference in Australia at the end of August 2008.

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