The university is redefining its role as the producer and disseminator of new knowledge, particularly focusing on its central place in the reshaping of post apartheid South Africa, and repositioning itself as the empowerment agent in the political, economic, cultural and social revolution that is unfolding in the subcontinent and beyond. Its curriculum and research agenda is being tuned to resonate with the contextual social renaissance, both by stimulating it and by responding to it. At the same time it is utterly conscious of the need to engage and partner with the surrounding communities and region in a serving capacity and to extend into society at large through interesting new interconnections.
Following a decision by the Ministry of Education, the university has, since January 2004, been incorporating and integrating a new campus in the city of East London, formerly of Rhodes University, into UFH. This significant development in a new larger operating environment presents significant challenges as well as strategic opportunities for the calculated expansion of UFH into new markets, enabling it to play a stimulating and catalytic role in the development of the Buffalo City region. Hence it is strategically planning to grow and develop programmes in a much wider student market and is re-profiling Fort Hare across the three campuses in Alice, Bhisho and East London. As the backbone to a new academic system, five new Faculties were established in 2005-6. Over the next period significant expansion in the portfolio of academic and strategic programmes are foreseen.