Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, 2008
The origins of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Ljubljana date back to 1919, the same year that the university was established. Seminars of Humanities and Social Sciences separated from the Seminars of Natural Sciences and Mathematics physically in 1949 and then formally in 1957. Allocated a separate building in 1961, the Faculty of Arts is today the largest university faculty in Slovenia, with around 8,000 enrolled students and 700 employed in 21 departments.
The very first lecture at the newly established university began symbolically on 3 December 1919, the birth date of the avowed Slovene Romantic poet France Prešeren.
In the beginning, the Faculty of Arts consisted of natural sciences and humanities, which included seven disciplines: Philosophy, Pedagogy, History, Geography, Art History, Slavonic Studies, Romance Studies, Germanic Studies, Classical Philology, and Comparative Linguistics. During the World Wars the departments for Comparative Literature Studies (1925), and Ethnology (1940) were established. After the liberation, the establishing of other new departments followed: Archaeology (1947), Psychology (1950), Sociology (1960), Musicology (1962), and Library and Information Science and Book Studies (1987).
Since the establishment the number of students and academic staff has grown consistently and rapidly. In the academic year 1919/20 the number of students was 245, today the total number of students is almost 8,000. Also, the number of academic and teaching staff has increased to around 399. Together with the non-teaching staff and external collaborators the total number is approximately 700.
Today, the number of departments totals 21, along with the departmental libraries. The most recently opened departments were the Department of Asian and African Studies (1995) and the Department of Translation Studies (1997). The main characteristic of the Faculty of Arts remains the possibility to make links in courses between different departments. as well as between other faculties or institutes such as: the Faculty of Theology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institutum Studiorum Humanitatis (ISH), the Centre for Pedagogic Education, the International Students of History Association, the Linguistic Circle, the Union of Geographic Societies, the Association of History Teachers, and many others.
The newly established interdisciplinary doctoral programme of Humanities and Social Sciences with 62 subject tracks enables links between the Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, the Faculty of Informatics and Computer Science, the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, and the Academy of Music at the University of Ljubljana.
The academic staff is included in science projects with different institutes at the Slovene Academy of Sciences and Arts (SAZU), which work within or outside the Faculty. The other activities of the Faculty of Arts include publishing of reference literature, scientific journals and other periodicals. In 2010 the Ljubljana University Press, Faculty of Arts published more than 60 monographies and 11 scientific journals. The latter include the Musicological Annual, Arts & Humanitas, Keria, and Documenta Praehistorica. The Faculty of Arts Bookshop runs next to a series of events entitled the Word Station [Besedna postaja] also an all-Slovene academic book fair Liber.ac.
The academic staff is active within several international initiatives and networks. The Faculty of Arts has intensive connections with three Central European universities: Charles University in Prague, Jagelonian University in Krakow, Comenius University in Bratislava. The faculty is active within the Prague Network which holds an agreement with 18 different universities from around Europe. Also, connections have been made with universities in Japan, China, and India. The Department of Slovenian Studies collaborates with many universities around the globe – at more than 23 universities it is possible to gain a diploma in knowledge of Slovenian language. The department has developed the Centre for Slovene as a Second/Foreign Language, which is active with in teaching Slovenian and attracts many foreigners.
The other international connections within ERASMUS student exchange, managed by the International Office at the Faculty of Arts, are one of the most successful in Slovenia. In the academic year 2009/10 the Faculty of Arts hosted more than 230 students within diverse exchange programmes and around 300 their students spent a study period abroad at different foreign institutions. The Faculty of Arts has developed a very successful system of tutors for foreign students, who voluntarily help out exchange students while they study in Ljubljana.
So far, the Faculty of Arts has hosted and co-organised lectures by many acknowledged names from the field of humanities and social sciences: Noam Chomsky, Vaclav Havel, Umberto Eco, Boris Pahor, Adam Michnik. In 2007, on the occasion of awarding Umberto Eco with the honorary doctorate from University of Ljubljana, his lecture on the history of ugliness in Cankarjev dom Culture and Congress Centre attracted a big audience. The video of the lecture, provided by VideoLectures.Net, is available online.
On the occasion of the 90th Anniversary of the Faculty of Arts, the Journal of the Faculty of Arts (1919–2009) was published with articles dedicated to each department. The journal is also available online.