The Institute of English at Opole Higher Pedagogical School was officially opened on October 1st, 1978. This was a result of the growing demand of teachers and other specialists in the field of English. It is very much telling with how much enthusiasm this new branch was welcome. In spite of modest and uncertain beginnings of the Institute, there were five candidates competing for one place in the first entrance exams.
It can be said that our Institute had two founding fathers who created and shaped it: Professor Leon Komincz, a renowned linguist and Slavonic philologist, and Professor Marian Adamus, who was in charge of the Deaprtment’s organisation. In 1977 Professor Komincz succeeded in convincing Professor Adamus to commence his professional activity at Opole Higher Pedagogical School. It was at that time that Professor Adamus started to animate the new branch in Opole and assumed responsibility for the Institute.
Initially, the academic staff numbered five persons. Apart from the already-mentioned Professors, Komincz and Adamus, three promising Masters of Arts were gained for co-operation on the establishing of the Deaprtment: Andrzej Ciuk, a graduate of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań as well as Marek Błaszak and Ryszard Drabczyk, alumni of Wrocław University. This humble, as seen from today’s point of view, team took responsibility for a group of 30 students of the first year. Shortly after that, the team was joined by Dr. Anna Monkiewicz, soon appointed deputy-head of the Institute, and Dr. Stanisław Jędrzejowski.
The first years of the Institute’s existence were characterised by organisational efforts focusing on providing it with an appropriate library and well-qualified academic staff. A success in inviting many outstanding Polish academics to co-operate with us was the new Institute’s serious achievement. Among others, Professor Przemysław Mroczkowski from Jagellonian University, an outstanding historian of English literature, the author of History of English Literature, Professor Janusz Arabski from Silesian University, a renowned linguist, Professor Maria Łobzowska also from Silesian University, a historian of literature and Professor Witold Ostrowski from Łódź University lectured in Opole. The issuing of the Institute’s own journal was started in 1984, which was a marking point in its history.
Upon electing Professor Adamus President of Opole Higher Pedagogical School in the first democratic elections in 1981 (previous Presidents were appointed by Ministry of Education), the responsibility for heading the Institute was ceded to Professor Piotr Kakietek. A large international conference on historical linguistics organised in Turawa, which was attended by leading specialists in the field, Professor Jacek Fisiak being the most outstanding of them, was one of Professor Kakietek’s primary achievements. He also successfully continued to expand the Institute’s academic staff. Professor Piotr Ruszkiewicz, who soon became the Institute’s head, was one of the new staff members at that time. His term of office abounded in invaluable academic contacts with various Polish and foreign research centres. It was then that our Institute signed agreements allowing for academic staff exchange with Oxford University, University of East Anglia in Norwich and University College of London.
In November 1993 we were struck by Professor Adamus’ unexpected death. It seemed that this would hinder the development of the Institute for many years. Luckily enough, Andrzej Ciuk, the newly appointed head of our Institute, succeeded in acquiring new outstanding academics. Two names of international renown are here especially worth mentioning: Professor Gerhard Nickel, a prominent sociolinguist from Stuttgart University and Professor Zdzisław Najder, a leading researcher in the field of Joseph Conrad’s literary output.
Within over 25 years of its existence until the present moment, more than 80 scholars have worked for the Institute and more than 500 graduates have left it with MA diplomas in the field of English Philology. At the moment, 29 academic teachers are employed here supervising over 275 regular and 205 extramural students. It is also important to mention the Institute’s Library, which numbers over 20 thousand volumes on different aspects of culture and language of English-speaking countries.