The history of the Faculty for Applied Linguistics is a very rich one and it goes back to the 50s of the previous century. During its 60 year history both the name and the structure underwent significant changes. The departments representing East Slavonic philology were founded in the 1950s: Russian Philology in 1950, Ukrainian Philology in 1953, and Belarusian Philology in 1956.
In 1972 the Institute of Applied Linguistics came into being, the first academic unit to deal with the wide-ranging subject matter of applied linguistics (including glottodidactics and translation) not only in Poland, but in the whole of Europe.
In 1975, a decree issued by the then Minister of Education and Technology founded a new unit at the University of Warsaw – the Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies. This department was comprised of the Institute of Russian Studies, Institute of Slavonic Philology, Institute of Applied Linguistics, and later the Department of Hungarian Philology, Department of Belarusian Philology, and the Department of Ukrainian Philology. In order to emphasize the Department’s organizational structure, in 1980 its name was changed to Department of Russian and Slavic Studies and Applied Linguistics. In 1981 the structure of the Department changed yet again, and with it the name, which was now the Department of Russian and Applied Linguistics. The Department included the Institute of Russian Studies, Institute of Applied Linguistics, Department of Belarusian Philology, and the Department of Ukrainian Philology. In 1996 the Department’s name underwent a further change and was renamed as the Department of Applied Linguistics and East Slavonic Philology. During the course of the last decade the following units have been added to the Department: the Department of Specialized Languages in 2000, the Department of East-Central European Intercultural Studies in 2001, and the Department of Language Theory and Language Acquisition in 2002. The dynamic development of the Department has led to its final name change and it is now knows as the Faculty of Applied Linguistics.
However, the history of the faculty is much more diverse than just the many name changes. Its uniqueness owes a lot to the distinguished representatives of the academic world - the professors respected and recognized both in Poland and abroad, on whose accomplishments the current academic staff bases. The oldest academic units of the faculty owe the origins of their development to enlightened professorships which took shape during the inter-war years: Prof. Antonina Obrębska-Jabłonska, the faculty’s first director and alumnus of University of Warsaw and Jagiellonian University; Prof. Wiktor Jakubowski from Kraków’s Jagiellonian University and Prof. Marian Jakóbiec from Wrocław, alumnus of Jan Kazimierz university from Lvov, who also worked at Wrocław University; and Prof. Anatol Mirowicz, alumnus of Vilnius’s Stefan Batory University, who arrived in Warsaw in 1952. Professors who shaped the scholarly atmosphere included historian Stanisław Skorupka; Zofia Szmydtowa, Janina Kulczycka-Salonii, and Zdzisław Libera, historians of contemporary literature and Polish literature; and Maria Renata Mayenowa, instructor of descriptive poetry whose ethos of truth and independent thought was conveyed through her teaching. This scholarly atmosphere was already influencing the early students of Ukrainian Philology, a field which was shaped by Prof. Przemysław Zwoliński, who had arrived from Kraków, and university alumnus Jan Kazimierz, from Lvov. This atmosphere influenced students of Belarusian philology by the above-mentioned Prof. Antonina Obrębska-Jabłonska as of 1956.
Further scientific development of Warsaw Russian Studies was triggered by its first graduates, world famous scholars – Professor Antoni Semczuk (Doctor Honoris Causa of the Lomonosov University of Moscow, the longtime director of the Institute of Russian Studies and dean of the Faculty), Professor Rene Śliwowski, Professor Tadeusz Szyszko. They contributed to the formation of two trends in contemporary literary Russian studies, conducting research of the ties between Polish and Russian cultures and creating new interpretations of the works of original works of the great Russian writers. In turn, the linguists published several highly valued works devoted to the Russian language and culture, and over the last few years – to specialized language terminology as well as etnolinguistics.
Applied Linguistics was founded later and evolved in an atmosphere of discussion centered around the new functions of linguistics and a search for new answers in the sphere of intercultural communication. This field, as well as its organizational framework, was developed by Prof. Franciszek Grucza, alumnus of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan and Lipsk University, member of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of an honorary Ph.D. from Essen University. It was Prof. Franciszek Grucza who founded the Department of Applied Linguistics in 1972, which he directed during the following 25 years. Based on the academic programme in the field of applied linguistics developed by Prof. Franciszek Grucza, Polish universities began assembling similar academic programmes under the designation of applied linguistics.
From the initiative of Prof. Jerzy Lukszyn, based on his concepts in linguistic research in specialized languages, the faculty instituted the Department of Specialized Languages. The founding of the Department of Specialized Languages was an important academic event with clear social implications. As the first academic unit of its type in the country, the department undertook the extremely complex and timely mission of educating specialists in the fields of theoretical and practical interlingual and cross-cultural specialized communication.
A year later the Department of East-Central Intercultural Studies came into being. It arose from the need to systematize in terms of both scholarly research and academic teaching a region, in which the unity and variety of Europe manifests itself in a special way, where East meets West and where Christianity in the form of Catholicism and Protestantism is interwoven with Eastern Christianity. Thus the underlying concept behind the creation of the Department was to broaden the understanding of the region, generally understood under the concept of Central-Eastern Europe, namely an area, whose poles are Germany and Austria on one side, and Russia on the other.
In 2010, from the initiative of professors from the Department of Specialized Languages and the Department of Language Theory and Language Acquisition, a new unit was founded, the Institute of Anthropocentric Linguistics and Culturology. Its aim is to further the academic research in the fields of language theory, specialized languages linguistics, terminology, lexicography, glottodidactics, and translatorics as well as broaden the current area of interest by culturology and applied culturology.
In a couple of year’s time (in the year 2013) all the didactic units of the Faculty of Applied Linguistics will be moved to a new hi-tech building at Dobra 53.