Producing graduates that are not just surviving, but thriving in the world of work
The University of the Free State is a proud, responsible global citizen that contributes towards knowledge creation by finding innovative solutions for universal needs. We are committed to pursuing excellence in every aspect of university life, guided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and focused on continuously increasing our visibility and impact in the communities we serve.
CENTRES OF EXCELLENCE
The UFS is a world leader in various fields of knowledge, such as cancer research, cardiothoracic surgery, astrophysics, gender and Africa studies, and groundwater studies. Key focus areas include developing the role of agriculture in sustainable and economic development within the region and beyond, positioning the UFS as an indigenous knowledge systems hub in traditional medicine, as well as a leader in mountain research through the Afromontane Research Unit on our Qwaqwa Campus. We are also playing a leading role in developing multilingual pedagogic strategies through our Academy for Multilingualism.
HOLISTIC STUDENT SUPPORT INITIATIVES
The student support initiatives for student success, developed by our Centre for Teaching and Learning, have earned us international recognition. These include language and literacy development and well-supported tutorial programmes. We are also playing a leading role among South African universities in the field of academic advising, where students’ educational paths are aligned with their career dreams. Our Department of Student Counselling and Development offers psychological support in the form of individual sessions and workshops, which address a variety of issues that students often grapple with, such as time management, self-acceptance, and relationships.
On top of that, we have various peer support initiatives, focusing on enabling a smooth transition to higher education, developing leadership qualities, and fostering involvement in different spheres of university life among our students. The No Student Hungry Bursary Programme also ensures that students’ very basic needs in terms of food security are taken care of and that they receive much-needed psycho-social support.
COLLABORATION WITH INDUSTRY PARTNERS
The UFS has various highly valued industry partners offering support in the form of bursaries and internships. We also have faculty advisory boards made up of members from industry and government, ensuring that our curricula stay abreast of the latest developments and that our programmes remain relevant in the ever-changing world of work.
Our Interdisciplinary Centre for Digital Futures brings together role players from the public, private, and higher education spheres, initiating and contributing towards projects with a multi-disciplinary approach, combining social, natural, and digital sciences to find solutions for relevant societal needs.
The UFS is a highly internationalised university with a proud history of international engagements. We strive to preserve and grow staff and student diversity, and to attract the most brilliant minds from across the globe to join our university community. Our progress in terms of this goal is reflected in the 66% growth in the number of co-authored international collaborations over the past five years. We are home to around 1 080 international students and consider our diverse university community as a core resource to incubate intercultural and international competencies and to widen researchers’ international networks.
Apart from several initiatives to make our international students feel at home, we also have an Internationalisation at Home strategy, whereby we aim to give all our students an international experience – through engagement with international students, cultural celebrations, and other curricular and co-curricular activities.
The UFS has developed a comprehensive Digitalisation Implementation Plan to find the best way of using information and communication technology as a tool for enhancing learning, research, collaboration, and decision-making. Digitalisation at higher education institutions has become inevitable and crucial, not only because of the greater flexibility, convenience, and learning options they create, but because digital processes are a core element in preparing students for a dynamic world of work in which technology takes centre stage.
REACHING OUT TO COMMUNITIES THROUGH ENGAGED SCHOLARSHIP
In addition to Teaching and Learning and Research, Engaged Scholarship forms one of our three core strategic pillars. Engaged scholarship is all about linking the best of the research, teaching, and learning skills of staff and students to the specific learning and development needs of society. Almost all our academic courses have a service-learning component, where students apply what they have learned in and with communities.
Our social responsibility projects in schools across the country, as well as our initiatives to ensure student success using advanced data analytics, have earned us international recognition, while our culture of promoting equity, ubuntu, and accountability and our character of caring and diversity translates into an outstanding university experience.
Bloemfontein Campus: +27 (0)51 401 9111
Qwaqwa Campus: +27 (0)58 718 5000
South Campus: +27 51 (0)401 9111