Petersen re-appointed for second term at UFS

Prof Francis Petersen, who has been re-appointed for a second five-year term as Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS.

Prof. Francis Petersen has been reappointed for a second five-year term as rector and vice-chancellor of the UFS, as from March 31, 2022 to 1 April 2027.

The decision was made by the council of the University of the Free State (UFS) during its second scheduled meeting for the year, which took place virtually on June 18.

Prof. Petersen explained that he was humbled and honoured by the expression of confidence in him. “It is a privilege to continue leading one of the greatest universities in the country on its new journey. I will continue to do my utmost to build a strong institution that belongs to everyone, and want to thank our staff, students, and valued stakeholders for their continued support.”

His vision for his second term includes the continuation of the Integrated Transformation Plan (ITP), with a primary focus on the social justice imperative and ensuring the completion of all the deliverables; using the sustainable development goals (SDGs) as basis of the response as to how the UFS will affect society positively; using digitisation as key focus in determining how the academic project will be delivered, supported and how it is interfacing with the external environment; raising the external profile of the UFS through alumni, foundations, donors, and strategic communication as critical drivers; and to continue participating and further advancing national and global discourses.

Chairperson of the UFS Council, Dr Willem Louw, said that Prof. Petersen’s first term was characterised by exceptional leadership and the council had significant appreciation for the work that he had done and his accomplishments to date. “Under his leadership, the UFS has excelled in a number of key areas. Excellence, inclusivity, innovation, academic freedom, a particular focus and emphasis on critical enquiry, social responsiveness, integrity, and humaneness have been the value trademarks by which Prof. Petersen operates.”

Dr Louw added that Prof. Petersen has put forward a compelling set of drivers for his second term and indicated that he specifically intends to focus on and elevate the teaching and learning, research and internationalisation, and engaged scholarship portfolios of the university.

The UFS’ achievements during Prof. Petersen’s first term include the implementation of an Integrated Transformation Plan (ITP) (towards social justice); the UFS Strategic Plan (towards expanding the scope of transformation); the Vice-Chancellor Strategic Projects (towards a high-performance institution); the institutional Risk Management Committee (towards risk management and risk philosophy); and the institutional Multi-Stakeholder Group (towards an inclusive institutional culture).

Compiled by Sazly Hartzenberg