Masaryk University is the second largest institution of higher education in the Czech Republic. The University promotes academic and cultural development in Southern Moravia as it did a century ago. It is the main competitor of famous Charles University in Prague and The Czech Academy of Science (a successor to the Czech Academy of Science and the Arts (1890-1952) and the Czechoslovak Academy of Science (1963-1992).
Historically, the establishment of a Czech university in Brno was part of the nation´s struggle for emancipation from the Habsburg monarchy starting from the mid-19 century. Masaryk University was founded on 28 January 1919 a mere three months after the Czechoslovak declaration of independence. It consisted of four faculties – Law, Medicine, Science, and Arts – and soon became an internationally recognized academic institution. However, the progress of the University was disrupted during the years of the Nazi occupation. The University was extensively damaged during the Second World War and many of the teachers lost their lives in Nazi concentration camps. During the communist era, the University suffered under difficult political and economic conditions. Under the political pressure the University even adopted a different name - J. E. Purkyně (a famous Czech physiologist) between 1960 and 1989.
The restoration of democracy and academic freedom enabled the University to restore its principal role in providing high educational standards, carrying out excellent research activities and helping in societal development. Masaryk University was allowed to return to its original name in 1990. The number of faculties increased from five to nine. The original faculties – Law, Medicine, Science, Arts and Education – were joined by the Faculty of Economics and Administration (in 1991), the Faculty of Informatics (in 1994), the Faculty of Social Studies (in 1998), and the Faculty of Sport Studies (in 2002). Today, the University also includes 200 departments, institutes and clinics, encompassing a vast array of academic and research disciplines. Masaryk University offers accredited Bachelor´s, Master´s and doctoral degree programmes available in both full- time and combined forms. Almost 40,000 students study in the total of 1,300 fields of studies. Programmes react to technological changes and labour market demand. Masaryk University graduates are very successful in the labour market. In the long run, their unemployment rate is around 3%. The University offers equal opportunities for all including the disabled. The employees are not only good teachers but also excellent researchers. They are successful in research tenders, development projects funds, and application of research results. A number of patent applications are submitted every year – most notably in the area of biotechnology, plasma technology and information and communication technology.
Table: Unemployment rate of Masaryk University graduates (2008-2012)
Faculties in the Project
Three faculties of Masaryk University participate in the Project "Determinants of Growth of Extremism and Populism in Time of Economic Crisis".
Faculty of Law
The Faculty of Law is one of Masaryk University´s founding faculties. The faculty started its teaching programmes in 1919. The board of professors included prominent personalities of the Czechoslovak First Republic (for example Bohumil Baxa, Jaroslav Kallab, Karel Engliš, and František Weyer). The history of the faculty and its historical building is closely connected with the history of the University. The foundation stone of the building was laid by President Masaryk in 1928. The building served its educational purpose only for 8 years untill the Nazi occupation. After the difficult World War II years and the communist era, law students returned to the building in 1989. Nowadays, the Faculty of Law consists of 14 departments and employs almost two hundred teachers, researchers and other employees. There are more than 3,000 students in Bachelor´s and Master´s degree programmes and 166 students in doctoral degree programs. They can choose from several fields of law: legal theory, constitutional law, administrative law, civil law, criminal law, labour law and many others. The graduates of the Faculty of Law hold important positions in the private and public spheres.
Faculty of Economics and Administration
The Faculty of Economics and Administration was established in 1991. The faculty started the process of widening the fields of study at Masaryk University in its new democratic history. At fist, teaching took place in the historical building at Zelný trh which was previously used by the Faculty of Law. Then, the faculty moved to a new building, which was opened in 1998. The building was designed by Vladimír Vychodil and Petr Bernard. The faculty has 7 departments and the Language Centre. The number of employees approches to 200 of which 120 are teachers. There are more than 2,500 students in Bachelor´s and Master´s programmes and 116 students in doctoral degree programmes. Programmes involve many fields such as economics, economic policy, finance, corporate economy, management, regional development, and public economics. In the faculty´s short history, there has been excellent research done by prof. Vašíček, prof. Blažek, and many others. Researchers have been involved in many grant projects as well as practical applications of research results. The graduates of the faculty work in leading private companies, banks, government departments, central banks, public administration, and international organizations (European Commission, International Monetary Fund, etc.).
Faculty of Social Studies
The Faculty of Social Studies started its activities in 1998. It was established by four departments which left the Faculty of Arts. The Department of Sociology had been part of the Faculty of Arts since 1921. Therefore, it belongs to the oldest sociological institutions in the Czech Republic. The Department of Psychology was established in 1924. After the Velvet Revolution, the Department of Political Science and the Department of Social Policy and Social Work joined them. After the faculty moved to a renovated historical building, it was able to increase the number of departments by three (the Department of Environmental Studies, the Department of Media Studies and Journalism, and the Department of International Relations and European Studies). Education Programmes of the faculty are consistent with their research focus. There are more than 3,000 students in Bachelor´s and Master´s degree programmes and 271 students in doctoral degree programmes. The faculty employs almost 170 teachers and researchers. In its research, the faculty can benefit from long-term activities and publications of prof. Možný, prof. Smékal, and many others. The departments and institutes take part in many grant projects and cooperate with universities in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The graduates of the faculty work in government departments, public administration, non-profit organizations, foundations, media, and private companies.
Grant Agency of Masaryk University
Grant Agency of Masaryk University (GAMU) promotes research and creative activities at Masaryk University. It was established in the autumn 2012. GAMU offers financial support in free fields:
- Projects of Specific Research for Higher Education. They are intended for doctoral students and academic staff.
- Rector Programmes. They are announced for Master students.
- Research Support Programme.
The aim of the Research Support Programme is to promote higher prestige of research activities, success in international tenders of research and motivate interdisciplinary research with high added value. Interdisciplinary projects must meet several requirements: cooperation of several disciplines, originality, and high quality. The winning projects offer high quality publications, explanatory reports, patents, and the applications of research results. There are four winning projects every year. Financial support of the projects lasts for three years.
Table: The success of faculties and institutes of Masaryk University in competitions of GAMU (2013-2016)
Voices which caution against success of extreme and populist parties in parliamentary election have been resonating throughout the Europe in recent years. They started appearing during the economic crisis which stack Europe in 2008 and resulted in a significant decline in GDP, growing unemployment and general government gross debts. The Coalition of Radical Left (called SYRIZA) became the second largest party in Greek parliament when won 71 seats in the lower chamber in July 2012. Far-right Swedish Democrats won 12.9% of the vote in parliamentary election of 2014. In the same year in Hungary, the Movement for a Better Hungary (called JOBBIK) surprisingly received 20.5% of the vote in the parliamentary election. Extreme and populist parties won an average of 21.4% of the vote in all countries of the European Union in the period 2008-2014, with populist parties winning 10.8%, far right parties 6.9%, and far left parties 3.8%. Compared to the 2000-2007 period, the vote share of extreme and populist parties increased by 3.3%. The downturn in economic activity was prolonged when several European countries recorded the threat of indebtedness. Latvia, Greece, Ireland, and Portugal had to ask international organizations for a bailout. Standard of living of their citizens deteriorated. It was possible that voters of the affected countries did not have positive expectations for the future. They could blame mainstream parties for the economic hardship (for causing it or not being able to resolve it). Read more ...
Masaryk University provides excellent background for the research of extremism and populism. Researches from three faculties of Masaryk University cooperate on the project. They work at the Faculty of Economics and Administration (3 team members), the Faculty of Law (2 team members), and the Faculty of Social Studies (6 team members). The researchers carry out their research in five disciplines: economy, law, politics, social psychology, and sociology. This interdisciplinary approach is innovative even from an international view of point. It enables to use a comprehensive approach to the issue of expremism and populism.