South Africa

One of the many international activities in which UCLA engages is scholarly collaboration with peer institutions and colleagues on issues of mutual importance. In January 2014, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Patricia A. Turner joined members of the UCLA faculty to journey to Bloemfontein, South Africa — the capital of Free State Province —to participate in the “Diversity and the Politics of Engaged Scholarship” conference hosted by the University of the Free State (UFS).

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UCLA Delegation Visits the University of the Free State in South Africa

One of the many international activities in which UCLA engages is scholarly collaboration with peer institutions and colleagues on issues of mutual importance. In January 2014, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Patricia A. Turner joined members of the UCLA faculty to journey to Bloemfontein, South Africa — the capital of Free State Province —to participate in the “Diversity and the Politics of Engaged Scholarship” conference hosted by the University of the Free State (UFS).

UFS Vice Chancellor and Rector Jonathan Jansen, a respected scholar in South Africa (see his recent Internet article), delivered the opening address. Vice Chancellor Jansen has twice visited UCLA (2012 and 2013), where he delivered several public lectures and met with senior UCLA administrators, International Institute leaders and faculty, and faculty and students from the history department, Global Health Institute, and Graduate School of Education and Information Sciences.

UFS Vice Chancellor and Rector Jonathan Jansen opening the conference proceeding.
UFS Vice Chancellor and Rector Jonathan Jansen opening the conference proceeding.
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Patricia A. Turner with members of the Student Council of University of the Free State.
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Patricia A. Turner with members of the Student Council of University of the Free State.

Cosponsored by a working scholarly consortium of UFS, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) and UCLA faculty Abel Valenzuela and Associate Vice Provost for Student Diversity Charles Alexander, the conference explored the issues faced by first-generation university students. Faculty from all three universities delivered papers on the topic, one of the many truly global issues in higher education today. Associate Vice Provost Alexander delivered a keynote address and Professors Devon Carbado from the School of Law and Tyrone Howard from the Graduate School of Education and Information Science The conference presentations are slated to be published later this year. Subsequent conferences are planned for 2014 in The Netherlands and 2016 at UCLA, before returning to FTS sometime thereafter.

As luck would have it, the conference coincided with the end of orientation for incoming UFS students (January is summer in South Africa), almost all of whom are first-generation students. The UCLA delegation was thus able to attend one of the highlights of their orientation: a parade of student-made floats in a nearby township, which takes place every year the Saturday before classes begin.

UFS student orientation parade.
UFS student orientation parade.
People dancing at the parade, including UCLA's Associate Vice Provost for Student Diversity Charles Alexander (in the blue baseball cap!)
People dancing at the parade, including UCLA’s Associate Vice Provost for Student Diversity Charles Alexander (in the blue baseball cap!)

It’s a real celebration, with students handing out candy to children and care packages to adults, and everyone dancing — including UFS Vice Chancellor Jansen. Vice Provost Turner and UCLA and VU conference faculty even rode in the red double decker bus with UFS administrators and guests in the parade!

In the end, the Bruin delegates agreed that spending informal time with their UFS colleagues at the parade was as instructive as the papers presented at the conference!

Tyrone Howard and Charles Alexander also met with representatives from the National Research Foundation of South Africa, and the University of Witwatersrand. Both institutions are interested in exploring ways to partner on projects that will enhance diversity and engage more South African scholars to conduct diversity related research.
 

Relevant MOU

In order to see the relevant MOU, please visit the UCLA International Agreements page here.

 
 

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