1969 Dziennik Bałtycki: Gdańsk? Baltic? In any case, serving the cause of the sea...

Interview with prof. Janusz Sokołowski published in Dziennik Bałtycki in 1969.

The creation of the University of Gdańsk has already been officially announced. Many years of plans and discussions are starting to take shape. We asked the plenipotentiary for the preparation of the university, Rector of the WSP in Gdańsk, prof. dr inż. Janusz Sokołowski.

- When will the university be established?

- Next March, on the 25th anniversary of the liberation of Gdańsk, we would like the State Council to pass a resolution on the establishment of the Gdańsk University. Then in June, it would already be possible to announce recruitment for particular faculties and years of study at the new university. Discussions on the profile and structure of the future university are currently underway.

- The name 'Baltic' has been mentioned, but there is also talk of the University of Gdańsk. What will the name of the new university be?

- Opinions are divided and no decision has been made yet. Bałtycki - it doesn't necessarily have to be Polish. Opponents of the name "Gdańsk" claim that it's too narrow because the university must serve the cause of the sea - in the broad sense of the term. It seems to me that it could be, for example, the University of Gdańsk, with an appropriate patron whose figure would be a symbol of the university's rank and range of influence.

- What will be the profile of the university?

- The basic assumptions were contained in Stanisław Kociołek's speech. In any case, the university should have a profile clearly referring to the tasks resulting from its geographical location and the needs of the national economy - in our case mainly the maritime one. It will have an institute-based organisational structure, with departments operating within the institutes. Several institutes will form a faculty. Six faculties are planned: humanities, mathematics, physics and chemistry, biology and earth sciences - based on the Higher School of Pedagogy, industrial economics and transport economics - based on the Higher School of Economics, and the law and administration faculty. This will be a new course, based mainly on WSE staff. We assume that candidates for this faculty will be admitted in the third year (after a two-year study of law at other universities) and will begin to specialise in maritime civil law, administrative law and the law of social trade. We are also thinking about doctoral studies in international maritime law, maritime labour relations, or, for example, the history of maritime law and Gdańsk law.

We have mentioned the maritime character of the university. We simply want to meet the demand for specialists in the many fields related to the sea. This will be done, for instance, by creating a course in oceanography, a specialisation that has not yet existed in Poland, if we don't count the departmental institutes that provide practical services to fisheries, as the International Maritime Institute does. So we want to conduct studies in marine biology and physical oceanography. The research subjects of the future Institute of Oceanography will include such areas as marine ecology, the physiology and biochemistry of marine organisms, the management and protection of marine resources and the seabed, research into climate, hydrographic relations, the dynamics of Baltic waters...

- What will the humanities faculty be characterised by?

- Also links with maritime subjects. We want, for instance, to focus philology, especially Polish philology, on the study of maritime literature...

- Don't you see in this a certain danger of narrowing the field of research? This literature is not very rich...

- Perhaps I am thinking a little bit ahead - about the times when this literature will develop... But there is also regional literature, Pomeranian literature. The same goes for history - the whole vast field of Polish-Scandinavian and Polish-Russian relations throughout history...

- There is talk about establishing a Scandinavian studies department at the university. How does this matter look like?

- The first step will be to set up a Swedish language department, which already exists at WSE. We've also made contact with the University of Uppsala and the Jagiellonian University, and we're talking about bringing some Scandinavians to Gdańsk.

- Will the university have enough staff?

- At present, WSP has about 300 research and teaching staff, including 50 professors and associate professors. WSE has about 150 research and teaching staff, including 25 professors and associate professors. In total, including scientists from other centres and research institutions, we will have a staff of about 500, including 100 professors and associate professors and 150 doctors. Other so-called provincial university centres do not have more staff at their disposal. Furthermore, judging by the interest in our projects, we will have no trouble attracting the specialists we need from other centres, as long as we can provide them with accommodation. As far as students are concerned, we expect 350 people to be enrolled in the first year of vocational studies and 950 in master's studies. In total, the university will have around 1,000 vocational students, 4,000 master's students and 3,000 working students in all years. This is roughly the same number as at present at the WSE and the WSP combined...

- What does the material base of the university look like?

- The initial base will be the property of the two mentioned universities - as a result, the university will stretch from Gdynia... to Gdańsk. The target plan is to locate the university headquarters together with an academic complex in Oliwa at Polanki Street. There are plans for a 32 ha university complex and a 10 ha academic centre. This would solve the issue of the accommodation base.

Interviewed by: A.KISZKIS

Dziennik Bałtycki_Wywiad
Magdalena Nieczuja - Goniszewska / Press Office of University of Gdańsk