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Introduction

Based on its own tradition and the achievements of Polish and global sociology, the Institute of Sociology aims to conduct research, develop theoretical inquiry and teach sociology at the highest level of excellence. In the pursuit of its goals, the Institute engages the entire community of scholars, students and staff, taking care to disseminate information about joint and individual achievements in teaching and research as well as current research projects.

As its basic principle of operation, the Institute of Sociology combines teaching and academic research, both basic and applied. Our faculty aim to improve the quality of teaching by engaging the best-performing students (doctoral and other) in studies and projects conducted at our Institute. This intertwining of teaching and research prepares students for independent research work, enriches the research process with students’ interpretations and teaches teamwork skills which are helpful in solving problems of interest for all participants to the research process.

The Institute of Sociology undertakes the challenges arising from dynamic social change in Poland and worldwide by developing knowledge and a versatile set of skills, with its curriculum firmly anchored in basic social science. Our academic work and teaching is focused on gaining insights and developing critical analysis of social phenomena. Members of our community demonstrate their belief that sociology can be useful in social life and public debate by developing innovative academic research, preparing significant publications and educating new generations of experts and specialists, while also taking active part in public life.

Sociologists from our Institute have been active as researchers and commentators as well as witnesses and participants throughout Poland’s transformations. Representing a variety of orientations, they built a community which has remained open to new ideas, theories and methods. This community undertook research on new phenomena, delivered critical reflection and ensured its presence in public life. We continue this tradition of dialogue, collaboration and openness to new ideas and perspectives. We also equip our students with such skills by making them prepared to undertake professional activity in the fast-changing world and to get involved in public debate with a critical attitude backed up with solid arguments.

The Institute of Sociology has always been part of the global academic community, encouraging its staff to take part in international studies and to publish in renowned, peer reviewed journals. The Institute actively collaborates with foreign research and teaching institutions, and maintains effective working relations with universities and institutions across EU countries. Moreover, our Institute also undertakes efforts to obtain grants for research and teaching innovations, engaging students (doctoral and other) in that type of work.

We address the expectations of the broader community by reaching out to local governments, non governmental organisations, culture institutions, commercial research providers and varied communities of employers. We do so by participating in joint research projects, organising an extensive system of practical training and liaising with our graduates. Notably, the graduates of our Institute do not only take up jobs on the market but also create new jobs by setting up research companies. Some also share their knowledge and expertise by teaching at our post-graduate programmes.

The Institute of Sociology offers teaching at all levels of education: first cycle (undergraduate) studies, second cycle (graduate) studies, third cycle (doctoral) studies as well as postgraduate programmes. The first cycle (undergraduate) studies at the Institute of Sociology offer a solid foundation in sociological inquiry and related skills, combined with the tradition of related social sciences. The second cycle (graduate) studies offer a deeper insight into sociological knowledge and reinforce students’ skills while supporting interdisciplinary forms of education, which opens the door for other University students who want to gain access to the rich intellectual tradition of the Institute. The third cycle (doctoral) studies continue to be the main educational path for future teaching and research staff. Under academic supervision, doctoral students make a valuable contribution into the Institute’s research and teaching activities, while gaining top-level professional experience. The best-performing doctoral graduates are a natural reservoir of academic staff. The Institute puts emphasis on gaining knowledge as well as developing skills and social competencies so that our graduates are well prepared for further education and training, whether at our University or elsewhere. Therefore, following the idea of lifelong learning at the university, the Institute develops its postgraduate programmes.

Despite a high proportion of practical and workshop-style classes, typical academic formats prevail in the curriculum (lectures, seminars and tutorials). The emphasis is put on students’ own work: they read and analyse texts, prepare written assignments, presentations and reports, take part in discussions and group work, and prepare to undertake their own research projects. Practical outcomes of education remain closely connected with purely academic ones.