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UFS establishes a Postgraduate office
2007-07-18

The University of the Free State (UFS) will establish a postgraduate office that will serve as a one-stop service for the co-ordination of academic support services for postgraduate students.

According to the Director: Research Development at the UFS, Prof Frans Swanepoel, the primary purpose of the Postgraduate Office is to provide co-ordination and support services for postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows, as well as academic staff across the University.

“Guided by values such as intellectual inquiry, innovation, collegiality, integrity and efficiency, the Postgraduate Office will seek to foster a challenging, inclusive and supportive environment for postgraduate teaching, learning, research and scholarship; and will strive to engage students in the vibrant life of a research university”, Prof Swanepoel said.

All sectors of the University, namely students, faculties and staff, stand to benefit from the establishment of this office. Amongst other benefits for these sectors, postgraduate students and postdoctoral research fellows will have their interests promoted in synergy with faculty and departmental facilities. On the other hand, the office will provide a critical resource to the faculties in the form of a single database of postgraduate students, postgraduate topics, supervisors and funding opportunities. Furthermore, it will serve as a useful resource and base for training and information for younger and less experienced staff members.

The establishment of this office will be undertaken in two phases. The first phase will focus on the most critical areas that will make an immediate impact and the second phase on those areas that are not as urgent.

Areas that will be prioritised include the appointment of a manager and co-ordination of stakeholders, the provision of information and communication, useful resources for the UFS, policy administration and monitoring, postgraduate supervisors’ facilitation, recruitment activities, advice and referral, and postgraduate scholarship and bursary management.

The less urgent components of the office will be the development and implementation of academic and professional support programmes, the formation of a research information commons to create an integrated learning environment for postgraduate students, and the development of a postgraduate association or a postgraduate students’ liaison committee to provide a recognised channel of communication between postgraduate students and the University authorities.

The Postgraduate Office will form a vital component of the Directorate Research Development (DRD) at the UFS because of its experience and a noteworthy track record with regard to a facilitative and co-ordinating role that would be essential for the office.

“Establishing the Postgraduate Office as part of the Directorate would give the Centre the necessary links to the research-related issues that are important to most of the postgraduate students at the UFS. Of essential importance will be the linkages with the full spectrum of Strategic Clusters”, Prof Swanepoel explained.

“An important component of the Postgraduate Office will be related to international students and international opportunities for UFS postgraduate students. As the Office for Internationalisation has similarly been placed within the Directorate, the work of the Postgraduate Office will be facilitated by similar placement within the same Directorate”, he concluded.

Media release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt.stg@mail.ufs.ac.za  
18 July 2007
 

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