Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Students of the Jagiellonian University’s Faculty of International and Political Studies!
On the occasion of the inauguration of the 658th academic year at the Jagiellonian University, which is also the twenty-first academic year in the history of the Faculty of International and Political Studies, I would like to extend my best wishes for success in learning and academic research to all of the students enrolled in our Faculty’s numerous master’s and bachelor’s degree programs. Hopefully, this upcoming academic year will be remembered as unique not so much because of the ongoing pandemic, but mostly because of the opportunity of socializing and studying together in the new seat of the Faculty. I am fully confident that our modernly equipped lecture halls and classrooms will provide you with comfortable learning environment, and common rooms and spaces will serve as ideal forums for scholarly discussions and the effective integration of students of all our programs.
Starting from this academic year, the Faculty will reside in two buildings – the main seat at 4 Reymonta St. and the seat of the Institute of the Middle and Far East at 2A Oleandry St. The two buildings are only a short distance away and there is a student common room in the basement of the building at 4 Reymonta St. (room -103). All these improvements make our academic community’s long-lasting dream finally come true. We now have a place that can both strengthen our Faculty’s identity and offer a few thousand students optimal conditions for studying.
At the outset of the new academic year, it is difficult to escape from the pandemic reality that surrounds us; it has determined the functioning of societies and institutions, including universities, over the last several months. Forced to learn and teach remotely, both lecturers and students have moved their activities to the virtual world, spending most of their time in front of computer screens, which undoubtedly had an impact on the quality of education and on interpersonal relations, so important in university life. The current pandemic safety guidelines relating to studying, regulated by the resolutions of the Rector of the Jagiellonian University and the announcement of the Dean of the Faculty of International and Political Studies, allow for the return to in-person education, except for some courses that must be taught remotely. All the information on distance learning has already been published on the websites of relevant institutes and study programs. Assuming, however, that most of you will mainly participate in in-person classes in the new seat of the Faculty, let me remind you that there are precise health safety and sanitary restrictions in force, which all of us should adhere to. I am certain that, despite some inconveniences, the education process will run smoothly and we will all appreciate the value of in-person classes and face-to-face meetings in lecture halls, libraries or shared social spaces. I dream, as probably you do, that discussions on academic and non-academic topics can fill the walls of our new seat. I also hope that all of you who came to Krakow to study will also discover the magic of the city and the University – both have been linked for hundreds of years, creating an exceptional atmosphere.
Please remember that there are many institutions and people who represent your interests at the University and at the Faculty. Each study program has a coordinator, often in the rank of Deputy Director of the Institute for Educational Affairs. These people are responsible for managing the education process and the adaptation of education programs to the changing needs of the labor market and modern didactic formats. The coordinators cooperate collectively within the Faculty Education Committee, headed by Professor Ewa Trojnar, Vice-Dean for Educational Affairs. Her task is to represent the interests of all Faculty’s study programs at the University Committee for Education, to settle disputes relating to teaching processes and to implement university procedures at the Faculty. The quality of education is supervised by Dr. Paweł Ścigaj, Dean’s Proxy for Education Quality Assessment, whose task is not only to implement effective tools and methods to improve the quality of teaching, but above all to meet the challenges related to conducting high-quality courses. Another important person to mention is Dr. Przemysław Tacik, Dean’s Proxy for Safety and Anti-Discrimantion, to whom you can turn for assistance in any situation of a potential violation of your rights. However, I sincerely hope that such situations will not occur frequently. Please be aware, though, that the most important organization representing the interests of the Faculty’s students is the Student Association, and more specifically the Student Council, gathering representatives of various study programs. On the one hand, they represent you before the authorities of the Faculty and Institutes and co-organize academic and cultural events. On the other hand, they cooperate with the University Student Association, ensuring that the interests of Faculty’s students are well represented at the university forum. Last but not least, there are numerous students’ academic circles whose initiatives are of a great value in popularizing science. They also provide excellent platforms for the development of soft skills and the enhancement of competencies in academic research.
The beginning of the new academic year is also a good occasion to remind you of the core values upon which the Faculty of International and Political Studies is founded. These are interdisciplinarity and internationalization. They are manifested, among others, in a great number of study programs offered at our Faculty, which attract students from around the world. The diversity of cultures and traditions which constitute our Faculty’s community gives a unique dimension to our main motto, which is “We teach to understand the world”. Being a part of today’s polarized world, where public discourse goes to extremes, where calm and honest debate is often impossible, academics and students alike should remember about the tolerance and respect for different views or cultural, religious and political differences. At the Faculty of International and Political Studies, we are fortunate to be guided not only by the academic values but also by the mission to teach to understand the world from different perspectives and in different contexts, leaving students space for their own creative thinking and the critical perception and reception of social, political, economic, and cultural issues.
Therefore, please use this unique time of your studies to acquire knowledge and social competences, as well as to open up to other people and meet people with whom you will someday change the world for better.
Happy New Academic Year!
Dean of the Faculty of International and Political Studies of the Jagiellonian University
Prof. Paweł Laidler