The beginnings of the university technical education world-wide, are connected with the foundation of the Mining Academy in Banská Štiavnica. On December 13, 1762, the Austrian Emperor Maria Theresa issued the decree of the establishment of the Practical school in Banská Štiavnica which included at first the Departments of Chemistry, Mineralogy and Metallurgy and from 1765 onwards also the Departments of Mathematics, Physics and Mechanics. In April 1770 she approved the proposal for foundation of the higher technical school of mining – the Academy in Banská Štiavnica and ordered that the forestry subject would be devoted the appropriate attention. Apart from the Forestry discipline, the instruction of Wood Processing was also provided.
Further improvement of the forestry instruction in Banská Štiavnica is connected with the establishment of the Forestry Institute in 1807. This year is considered the beginning of the university forestry studies in Slovakia.
In 1846, the reorganization of the Academy took place and it was renamed to the Mining and Forestry Academy in Banská Štiavnica. An important landmark in the development of the Academy can be considered the academic year 1904/1905, when the course of studies was prolonged to 4 years including the forestry branch and the former Academy became the Mining and Forestry University in Banská Štiavnica.150-year development of the Academy was complicated and its discontinuation resulted from the constitutional changes in central Europe after the World War I.
Not only the establishment of the Mining Academy in Banská Štiavnica, but also its system, methods and organization became a model for the origination of similar institutions in Europe and all over the world, e.g. the Polytechnic of Paris.
The period from 1919 – 1939 can be characterized as a struggle for establishing the technical university in Slovakia. The questions concerned with the forestry university studies were topical during both decades. In the period of the First Czechoslovak Republic, the university forestry studies were provided by the Czech University of Technology in Prague and the Agricultural University in Brno.
The university forestry studies in Slovakia were resumed at the Slovak Technical University in Bratislava in 1939 by establishing the Branch of Forestry and Agricultural Engineering with the Institutes of Silviculture, Forest Protection, Forest Management, Forest Constructions and Transport Means and Mechanical and Chemical Technology of Wood.
The period after the World War II was characterized by a stormy development in the sphere of the university education and the scientific and research work.
The Slovak National Council by its regulation from April 25, 1946 decided about the establishment of the University of Agriculture and Forest Engineering in Košice. In the after-war period there was a lack of university specialists in the field of wood-processing. This was the reason why in 1949, within the Forestry branch of the University of Agriculture and Forest Engineering in Košice, the Section of Wood Science was created and with its own 4-year curriculum it belonged to the first ones in the world.
According to the government regulation No 30/1952 of the Code, the University of Agriculture and Forest Engineering in Košice was abolished and its two faculties were transformed into two new establishments, namely the University of Agriculture in Nitra and the University of Forestry and Wood Technology in Zvolen which had two faculties: the Faculty of Forestry and the Faculty of Wood Technology. In 1952 the pre-history finished and the history of our Alma Mater in Zvolen began.
The founders of the University of Forestry and Wood Technology in Zvolen are credited with understanding properly the developmental tendencies of special professional preparation of university specialists for the field of forestry and wood-processing industry. They chose a region with the largest woodland area and a high concentration of modern wood-processing industries with diverse manufacturing opportunities. The town of Zvolen was also willing to help and contribute to its establishment and development. In spite of many difficulties, both faculties of the University of Forestry and Wood Technology - the Faculty of Forestry as well as the Faculty of Wood Technology developed from material, personnel and professional viewpoints. These faculties represented a centre of forestry and wood science education and research as the only one of this kind in the former Czechoslovakia as well as in a wider international context. Since its establishment the University of Forestry and Wood Technology in Zvolen has prepared successfully highly qualified specialists, created conditions for forestry and wood sciences and developed cooperation with forestry practice, woodworking industries and other home and foreign institutions of similar orientation.
The next stage of the development of our university can be considered the period after the year 1989. In keeping with important political, social and economic changes a complex democratization process of university transformation began. An important step towards the autonomy of universities, their ideological independence, return to traditional academic democratic liberties and their internal self-government was carried out. The deformations of the past were removed and new directions of further development of universities were formed. Under the new conditions of economic transformation into market economy the University of Forestry and Wood Technology went through a period of its further development which was influenced by the needs of social practice and the implementation of its conceptional and developmental intentions.
On October 1, 1991 the new independent Faculty of Ecology, presently the Faculty of Ecology and Environmental Sciences was established and since 2000 it is based in Banská Štiavnica. We can state with pleasure that our Alma Mater, in keeping with the world-wide trend of the development of the ecological education was the first one to follow the positive trend contributing to mobilization of material and spiritual means in order to intensify the interest in environmental issues and protection of the environment as well as in the contribution of a reliable conception of further development of life technicalization.
According to the National Council regulation from December 17, 1991 the Act No 26/1992 of the Code about renaming the University of Forestry and Wood Technology to the Technical University in Zvolen was passed.
The integration aspect of Slovak universities into the European system as well as their transformation lead to the establishment of the Faculty of Environmental and Manufacturing Technology which started to work on October 1, 1996. The Faculty has over bridged the gap in preparation of university specialists for providing the ecologically friendly technologies and techniques in correspondence with world-wide trends as well as ecological standards of the EU.
An important landmark in the history of the Technical University in Zvolen is the year 2002. Since April 1, 2002, the new acts concerning the university studies in Slovakia have been put into force, particularly the Act on Universities No 131/2002 of the Code. While the Act on Universities No 172/1990 of the Code restored the academic liberties, the new one created preconditions for continuation of the reforms by introducing the compulsory three-stage university education and the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) as well as the economic independence of universities. The Technical University in Zvolen ceased to exist as a state budget organization on April 1, 2002 and became a public university.
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