The University of Ostrava was founded on 28 September 1991. Its origins can be traced back to 1953, when a training college for future primary school teachers was opened in the nearby town of Opava. In 1959, all teacher training within the region was streamlined into a single institution – the newly established Pedagogical Institute in Ostrava. Five years later, the institute was awarded university status and became an independent Faculty of Education, offering four-year degree courses to future primary school teachers. Ostrava was now a fully-fledged university city. The Faculty’s staff became actively involved in academic and cultural life not only within the region, but on a national level. The range of degrees was later extended to include a five-year programme for future teachers of higher year groups.
Today’s University of Ostrava represents a natural continuation of this tradition. Since its foundation twenty years ago, the University has provided a much-needed focus for the study and research of humanities and social sciences, helping to redress a historic imbalance in a region traditionally dominated by heavy industry and technical studies. The University of Ostrava currently has six faculties: the Faculty of Social Studies, the Faculty of Fine Arts, the Faculty of Arts, the Faculty of Medicine, the Pedagogical Faculty, and the Faculty of Science. The University offers a wide spectrum of degrees at Bachelor’s, Master’s and doctoral levels, in addition to lifelong learning programmes. It is also involved in many European Union-funded projects enabling the general public to improve and update their skills and knowledge.
The University of Ostrava incorporates two independent research institutes. The Institute for Research and Application of Fuzzy Modeling develops specialist new mathematical methods, while the European Research Institute for Social Work supports the professional growth of young researchers in order to develop knowledge and skills among social work managers and practitioners across the continent.
A cornerstone of research in Ostrava is the University Library, a public institution which holds specialist stocks and information resources on all key areas of teaching and research across the University. Besides its standard lending services (including loans of books to and from other institutions), the Library also provides a range of other services including literature searches, reference resources, consultation, training courses and small-scale publishing; many of these services are available on-line. The Library has a meeting room for 50 people, with 28 PCs plus full Wi-Fi coverage. There are also areas where people can listen to music or take a break in a relaxation pod. The Library’s unique Pyramid Centre provides support for students with special needs in all areas of University life.
The Centre for Information Technology is responsible for managing and maintaining information and telecommunication systems and equipment throughout the University, including the telephone system, internet provision, e-mail, the University website and a range of specialist information systems.
The University of Ostrava makes active use of a broad spectrum of communication channels. Besides presenting the activities of all faculties and their departments, the University website regularly reproduces reports from the press and other media on University events and achievements. The monthly INFO<U>, newsletter provides a range of information to the general public, while the internal newsletter contains articles by staff and students.
The University also organizes many events catering for the general public. Many of these events have become popular fixtures in the annual calendar. The Student Union organizes the traditional Majáles spring festival and a range of other events. The Faculty of Arts organizes cycles of lectures featuring fascinating personalities from all walks of life, and puts on exhibitions of art and photography in its ‘Top Floor’ gallery. The Faculty of Science is closely involved in a range of events bringing science to a wide general public, including the regular ‘Chemistry at the Castle’ festival. The Faculty of Fine Arts holds regular exhibitions in its own ‘Student’ gallery. Student conferences provide a forum for students from all faculties to present their own research work to their tutors and peers. Information on all these events and much more is available in the ‘News’ sections of the University’s website.
The individual faculties of the University of Ostrava organize and stage a range of competitions, many of which have become internationally renowned. Every year, talented young mathematicians from all around the world compete at the Vojtěch Jarník International Mathematical Competition, run by the Faculty of Science. The same faculty also hosts an international chess competition. The annual Translation Competition organized by the Faculty of Arts is a holder of the prestigious Label 2009 award. These are just some of the many popular competitions held across the University.