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The Warsaw Voice » Other » December 2, 2009
Academia
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Decades of Didactics
December 2, 2009   
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During its 65-year history, the Maria Curie-Sk這dowska University in the southeastern city of Lublin has conferred almost 150,000 graduate degrees, 3,000 doctorates and more than 640 postdoctoral degrees.

The university has 10 departments, 25 institutes and five units with institute status. Students can choose from among 39 programs and over 120 majors. This academic year, the university enrolled 31,000 undergraduate students in full- and part-time programs, in addition to 900 postgraduate students.

The university has 428 professors and academics with postdoctoral degrees, in addition to 1,286 Ph.D.s and junior lecturers. It operates branch colleges in Radom, Bia豉 Podlaska and Bi貪oraj and an Undergraduate Fine Arts College in Kazimierz Dolny. The university library, opened in 1944, boasts a collection of more than 2.5 million volumes.

Past and present
The Maria Curie-Sk這dowska University began operating on Oct. 23, 1944. In the beginning, it had four departments: Medicine, Natural Sciences, Agriculture, and Veterinary Science. The Department of Pharmacy opened three months later. The academic year officially opened Jan. 14, 1945. The university had 42 teachers and 806 students in that first year. Prof. Henryk Raabe, a zoologist, was the university’s first president.

Today Maria Curie-Sk這dowska University students can choose from among the following departments: Philosophy and Sociology, Humanities, Economics, Pedagogy and Psychology, Political Science, Law and Administration, Arts, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics, and Biology and Earth Sciences.

Over the past two years, the Maria Curie-Sk這dowska University has launched several new programs, including Speech Therapy with Audiophonology, Tourism and Recreation, Finance and Accounting, and Iberian Studies. Students can also take up individual and interdisciplinary studies. Postgraduate studies encompass more than 80 programs and are also available as part of the European Social Fund.

“We are concerned about making sure that our graduates find their place on the labor market,” says Katarzyna Mieczkowska-Czerniak, press spokeswoman for the Maria Curie-Sk這dowska University. “The university has a thriving Career Office where both students and graduates can get free assistance in gathering job experience and skills necessary to make a successful professional career.”

Seven languages
Knowledge of foreign languages is one of the prerequisites for success on the job market, Mieczkowska-Czerniak says. At the Center for Foreign Language Teaching and Certification, students can attend courses in seven languages: English, German, Russian, French, Spanish, Italian, and Latin. The classes are available to students of all full-time, part-time, postgraduate and evening programs.

After Poland became a member of the European Union, the university opened the European Documentation Center under an agreement with the European Commission. The center gathers EU documents on a regular basis. The university has access to a large collection of official EU-related publications and most European online and offline databases. The European Documentation Center also stores documents of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). It disseminates information about the EU, conducts research and preliminary archival research and holds seminars and conferences.

Students of the Maria Curie-Sk這dowska University are members of 68 academic clubs, including the Academic Club of Antiquity Enthusiasts, which holds classes in “living history” for young people. The Academic Club of English Studies stages and performs plays in English. Other clubs include the artistic Frakcja Sucha Academic Club, the experimental Physicists’ Academic Club, and the Alkahest Academic Chemistry Club.

In 1990, the Maria Curie-Sk這dowska University opened a British Center in association with the Polish branch of the British Council. The Maria Curie-Sk這dowska University British Center is a partner institution of the British Council and comprises a British library, a British Multimedia Information Center, and a British Council and Cambridge University Examination Center in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). The library and information activities mainly concern English teaching, studies and life in Britain and British literature and culture. The Examination Center organizes General English exams, including First Certificate in English (FCE), Certificate in Advanced English (CAE), Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE), and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), in addition to Business English (BEC) and Legal English—Test of Legal English Skills (TOLES) and International Legal English Certificate (ILEC).

Polish for foreigners
The Maria Curie-Sk這dowska University also has students from abroad. Education in the Polish language and culture for foreign students is provided by the Polish Language and Culture Center for Foreigners and Poles Abroad, which prepares course books and textbooks. The center also conducts research on the Polish language and culture. Students wanting to start education in Poland can take a one-year course in Polish. The center also provides a three-year, full-time undergraduate course in Polish studies and a two-semester Postgraduate Course in the Humanities for Foreigners.

The Maria Curie-Sk這dowska University organizes special courses in Polish for foreign students as part of the European Union’s Erasmus program and the Lane Kirkland Scholarship Program sponsored by the Polish-American Freedom Foundation (PAFF). The latter program, launched in 2000, aims to share Polish experiences in political and economic transition with students from other countries in Central and Eastern Europe by providing them with complementary studies at Polish universities. The program is specifically targeted at students from Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Georgia, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan.

In October 2007, the range of courses available at the Polish Language and Culture Center for Foreigners and Poles Abroad was expanded to include Postgraduate Qualification Studies in Teaching Polish as a Foreign Language. The classes are conducted in Poland and the United States (New York). During summer vacations, specialist short-term courses are organized for foreigners and Poles living abroad as part of a project called Polish Summer. When not in class, project participants get to visit the most beautiful sites in and around Lublin and take trips to other Polish cities, such as Warsaw, Cracow and Cz瘰tochowa. They also get to meet Poland’s cultural leaders.

The Polish Language and Culture Center for Foreigners and Poles Abroad holds academic conferences and issues two series of publications: Educating Polish People from the East and Language-Culture-Society.

Something for Lusophiles
In 2005, the Maria Curie-Sk這dowska University launched the Portuguese Language Center under a cooperation agreement with the Camões Institute in Lisbon, Portugal. It is the first and so far the only such center in Poland that aims to spread knowledge of the Portuguese language and the culture of Lusophone, or Portuguese-speaking, countries. These include Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, Tom and Pr璯cipe, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, and East Timor.

The Maria Curie-Sk這dowska University plans to launch a Media Incubator to train journalism students using EU funds. The institution would cover television, radio and other media, according to Mieczkowska-Czerniak.
El瘺ieta Zieli雟ka
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