Introduction of the Department

The Department of Adult Education and Personnel Management continues in the tradition established by the first university department of such kind formed at Charles University’s Faculty of Education in the late 1940s. There were attempts to create an analogy of this Department during the second half of the 1960s in the former Institute of Adult Education and Journalism (Institut osvěty a novinářství), later renamed the Faculty of Social Sciences and Journalism at Charles University (Fakulta sociálních věd a publicistiky Univerzity Karlovy). The second half of the 1960s was a period of intensive research which resulted in numerous publications and may be a source of inspiration until today. These efforts to establish a new field of study led to the formation of a separate department which found its place at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University and was named the Department of Adult Education (Katedra výchovy a vzdělávání dospělých). The Department entered the last decade of the 20th century with a radically different and modern programme, functioning as a fully-fledged research institution specializing in social sciences. Adult education (conceived as andragogy) first appeared as a new field of study in the academic year of 1990/1991. A year later, the name of this discipline was included in the Department’s Czech name as well (Katedra andragogiky a personálního řízení). The second decade of the 21st century saw further significant modernization of the Department’s study programmes.

The name of the department refers to two fields of study which share the same objective – the development of adults. Adult education and personnel management are areas which touch upon a broader variety of topics and require the coexistence of various disciplines, preserving not only their unique characteristics but also promoting further cooperation.

Education and research activities of the Department, including all its publishing activities, focus on education, learning, and management. The Department is interested in the various forms and shapes of these processes while considering different spheres and phases of an adult person’s life. Learning and development are understood as processes which are individual but also greatly conditioned by a wider social and cultural context. In this respect, we can categorize and analyse these factors on many levels – from individual and organizational level to national and supranational level.

The links between these contexts and their changes help us to understand different concepts and phenomena which have been the subject of research for quite a long time (such as lifelong learning, active ageing, competencies, active citizenship and learning in the workplace). Our research is not limited to descriptions of the chosen phenomena only, but it also strives to bring attention to any existing contradictions and problems. Apart from the current significance of education, learning and management, the Department also puts emphasis on historical analysis of the researched phenomena and, equally importantly, explores different possibilities of how the existing findings can be applied in our social lives today. Adult education and personnel management also aim to formulate recommendations on how to successfully cope with problems observed in the practice of educating adults and managing personnel in organizations (public, non-profit, or private).

Considering the significance of such attractive fields as adult education and personnel management in our society, the Department’s approach is grounded in the liberal arts tradition of the Faculty of Arts at Charles University as well as trends in modern social sciences, including the need for interdisciplinarity. The Department collaborates with several social science fields of study; the staff also comprises part-time lecturers with rich experience both in research and practice. Therefore, our academic interests include topics such as work psychology and organizational behaviour, labour law, information technology in the area of adult education and personnel management, vocational, citizenship and leisure education of adults, career and personnel guidance, age management, education of older adults, special education and adult psychopathology, or education policy.


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