UP TO 4,000 students attending 60 study programmes in 31 departments – this is the current image of the Faculty of Philosophy at Comenius University, which is celebrating its 90th birthday. During its long history, the faculty has become alma mater to nearly 31,000 graduates who have since gone on to work in various fields of Slovak society.
“We do not celebrate the establishment of the faculty, but the beginning of its operation, since the faculty was officially founded, along with the whole university, in 1919,” stressed the dean of the Faculty of Philosophy, Jaroslav Šušol, during a press conference on October 24.
Before the proper celebrations began, the faculty received two presents – both of them publications dedicated to its history. While one of them, compiled by Leon Sokolovský from the Department of Archival Science, describes the faculty’s past as well as its present, the second, prepared by the Department of Journalism, presents its individual departments through the eyes of the people now leading them.
The faculty’s anniversary celebration was divided into two parts – scientific and cultural. The former began with a ceremonial meeting of the academic community attended by the deans of partner schools in the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovenia, as well as Prime Minister Iveta Radičová. The latter welcomed teachers of the faculty who gave speeches about the path the school has taken.
“It is your irreplaceable task and responsibility to build, cultivate and create the moral image of Slovak society,” said Radičová, as quoted by the website of the Faculty of Philosophy, in her speech on October 24. “It is your irreplaceable task to create and turn a mirror on ethics in politics.”
Adjusting to current trends
Over the years, the composition of specialisations has gradually changed and been extended. In the first year there were only 60 students studying at four departments; now there are more than 4,000 students studying in more than 30 different departments.
According to Gabriela Lubelcová, deputy dean for admissions, lifelong education and PR, there are several specialisations which are unique and which no other faculty of philosophy in Slovakia has.
“These [unique education programmes] include, in particular, some language and territorial studies offered by the Department of East Asian Studies”, Lubelcová told the press conference. She highlighted the fact that the Faculty of Philosophy is the only one in Slovakia to offer Chinese and Japanese language courses.
The faculty is also preparing to open several new specialisations, including Korean language, Dutch Studies and so-called Central European Studies, which will be taught in English and is intended for Slovak as well as foreign students.
The Faculty of Philosophy prepared several events that took place within the cultural part of the celebrations. One of these is a new tradition established by the academic community – so-called Dies academicus (Academic Days), which are focused on building an awareness among students that they are part of life at the school and encouraging them to discuss problematic issues with their teachers.
“We have to try to attract students to take part in academic life to make them feel that they are at home here, that they belong here and that the fact that they are studying at this faculty has some meaning,” Šušol told the press conference.
31. Oct 2011 at 0:00 | Radka Minarechová