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About the Department of Social Sciences

The contemporary Department of Social Sciences of the Faculty of Education of the Palacký University postured in the years 1991–2004 in the statute of the faculty under the name Department of Civics. The change of the name of the departement coheres with the transformation of educational programs as well as with the status of the specialization of the members of the place of work, which has got an interdisciplinary spirit. The department started it‘s activity in the time, when the old system of the so-called “civics“ appeared to be inpracticable and when it was necessary to form a conception of a real education of a citizen for the shaping up civil society. Through the iniciative of the dean of the faculty (and later member of the department) Doc. PhDr. František Mezihorák, CSc., a new department was founded in autumn 1991. It was a demanding task to work out a new conception of education, it was necessary to pay a lot of energy to secure material and space for the department (the whole of the building having been already occupied by the original departments and it was not simple to find some other “place in the sun“), to form a fund of basic literature and instruments, and to fulfil further necessary conditions for pedagogic and scienific work. At the same time the members of the department had to go on in teaching the students of free grades of the original section “civics“. The teachers assumed as their first duty to grant these students educated till then in the sense of a unique official “state ideology“ the possibility to be acquainted with the latest observations and views and with all the things that form the base of the European culture and morals, with the theories and ideas of democracy and Europeanism. In the first ten years of the existence of the department it was headed by the historian Doc. PhDr. Zdeněk Filip, CSc. (civicly and academicaly rehabilitated in 1990), the polimetrician Doc. Emil Gímeš, Ph.D. (also rehabilitated in 1990), Prof. PhDr. František Mezihorák, CSc. specialized in European studies and polimetrician Dr. Milan Hořínek. Among the members of the department (who are already not in its personal constitution) these personalities are necessary to be mentioned: didactic and historian PaedDr. Marie Hrachovcová, historian PhDr. Dana Skoupá, CSc., historian prof. PhDr. Pavel Marek, CSc., sociologist doc. PhDr. Milan Schneider (regrettably untimely dead) ethics doc. PhDr. Ivan Hodovský, DrSc. or economists Ing. Pavel Zívalík and Ing. Zdeněk Aulehla, CSc. From the externs is necessary to remember jurists Mgr. et JUDr. Eva Šimečková, Ph.D. a JUDr. Miroslav Holzer and economist Milan Tomášek. During the time of its existence the department has passed through a series of accreditations with success. Beside the field of study Civics for Basic Schools the department guarantee since academic year 2001/2002 the Civics for Secondary Schools and implementing additional study of civics. In the 2005 a further change of accredited programs of study was realized in connection with the introduction of the structured model of studies. In the academic year 2006/2007 a bachelor study of civics was opened focused on education. Accredited is also consequential magister program Pedagogy of the Bases of Social Sciences and Education for Citizenship for Basic and Secondary Schools. Since 2007 the Department of Social Sciences participates in the doctoral studies program Pedagogy. The members of the department guarantee the education of their branches also in other disciplines of the studies realized by the Faculty of Education.
The department guarantees a demanding type of studies, in which every student must master a considerable amount of historical, philosophical, politological, ethic, ecologic, juristical, sociological and other knowledges, skills and attitudes. Within the special didactics of the bases of the social science and education for citizenship the students gain the competences and skills with stress on communication, cooperation, education for individual thinking, conduct and further training.
For the whole time of existence of the department has been closely cooperating with several prominent inland and foreign specialists, such as prof. PhDr. Vladimíra Dvořáková, CSc. (University of Economics, Prague), prof. PhDr. Ing. Miloš Dokulil, DrSc. (Masaryk University in Brno), doc. PhDr. Jozef Oborný, Ph.D. (Comenius University in Bratislava), doc. PhDr. Miroslav Sapík, Ph.D. (University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice), prof. Dr. phil. Rudolf Wichard (Germany), Dr. Sári Mihály (Univerzita of Pécs, Hungary), Dr. Małgorzata Świder (Opole University, Poland) and many others, who enrich individual branches by the profundity and extent of their scientific erudition. The department also cooperates with all nine departments at Czech universities ensuring cognate branches of studies. The contentual changes and actualization of the branches are reflected every year at the meetings of their and our members, which we organize in the Center of Karl Renner in Dolní Dunajovice.
In the course of its existence the department has presented several scientific research projects. The Education for Citizenship and Europeanism (1994) belongs among the most important ones, as well as The Development Analysis of the Educational System in the Region of Central Moravia Region 1991–1995, Values of European Culture and Morality (1996–1997) and especially a six-years scientific research project Education for Democratic Citizenship and Europeanism (1999–2004). Within the ESF grants the project Centre of Innovative Education – Enlargement of Professional Competences of Future and Present Teachers with Help of New Educational Units was authorized in 2005. A series of monographies, anthologies and studies was published within these projects.
Six international conferences about ethic were organized and the members of the department took part in several internal and international conferences and symposiums. A quite rare activity in the frame of the university were and are the international meetings which are organized together the unievrsities in Germany, Poland and Hungary dealing with the relations among the Central European nations, European dimension of education, emigration and imigration, assimilation, multiculturality, European identity and others.
Nowdays the members of the department focus especially to the problems of the didactics of civics, Czech-German relations, education for citizenship, Europeanism and integration and problems of multiculturality. Department of Social Sciences have contacts with collegiate institutions in many European and out-European countries. Prof. Mezihorák founded in the year 1993 a tradition of summer schools for further education of teachers and contact of students with practice the only ones of this kind in the Czech Republic. They arose such interest, that the 17th year in 2010 took place attended approxiamately 100 pedagogues of Basic and Secondary schools and even universities from the Czech Republic and from abroad. The students of the department have had already for 12 years the opportunity to attend the Summer School of German Culture, Language and Social System in Frankfurt am Main, organized and financed by local organization Stiftung Haus der Action 365.
To the important events from recent time, which organized the Department of Social Sciences, certainly belongs conference to the 40th anniversary of Prague Spring events in Czechoslovakia 1968, which took place in August 2008 attended by many personalities of then and now social and political events (J. Šabata, J. Dienstbier, V. Komárek, V. Dvořáková and others).

Heads of the Department

Department of Civics (1991–2004)
1991–1992 Dr. Emil GÍMEŠ
1993–1994 doc. PhDr. Zdeněk FILIP, CSc.
1995–2000 doc. PhDr. Emil GÍMEŠ, Dr.
2001–2002 prof. PhDr. František MEZIHORÁK, CSc.
2003–2004 Mgr. Milan HOŘÍNEK, Ph.D.

Department of Social Sciences (Since 2005)
2005–2006 Mgr. Milan HOŘÍNEK, Ph.D.
2006–2008 prof. PhDr. František MEZIHORÁK, CSc., Dr.h.c.
2008–2013 doc. PhDr. Zdeněk NOVOTNÝ, CSc.
2013–2014 doc. Mgr. Antonín STANĚK, Ph.D. 2014– doc. PhDr. Zdeněk NOVOTNÝ, CSc.