Mendel University in Brno
Mendel University in Brno is the oldest independent specialized university in the Czech Republic. Its founding was preceded, from 1864 onwards, by efforts to establish an agricultural university in Moravia which, however, failed because of obstacles of a political, economic and ethnic character. Its founding was eventually enabled by the declaration of an independent CzechoslovakRepublic in October 1918.
The University of Agriculture in Brno (UOA) was established by Act No. 460 as of 24 July 1919 and maintained its name until 1994. The establishment of the University was facilitated greatly by the transformation of the Agricultural College in Tábor into a university, its relocation to Brno and location in a new building of the Regional Institute for the Blind in Brno - Černá Pole. The UOA consisted of two sections: Agriculture and Forestry. In the academic year 1919/1920, classes were started in the Agricultural Section only, while the Forestry Section was relocated to the Czech Technical University in Prague. The Forestry Section was opened in October 1920 after previous problems with its relocation to Brno.
The post-war financial crisis and efforts to relocate the school to Slovakia threatened the University’s existence between the years 1920 and 1924. The University Forestry Training Enterprise in Adamov was assigned to the University for the Forestry Section in 1923. Two years later, it acquired the University Agriculture Enterprise Žabčice for the needs of the Agricultural Section. In 1930 and 1931, the consequences of the Great Depression led to attempts to dissolve the University. A turning point in the University’s life was 17 November 1939 when, like other Czech universities, it was closed by Nazi occupants and subjected to German administration. There were no classes and, subsequently, seventeen institutes for applied research were opened. In the protectorate period, the university suffered major material damage and casualties among members of its academic community. A successful post-war reconstruction was halted by the events of February 1948 (the Communist coup d'état in Czechoslovakia), when 27.7% of students did not pass the political vetting.
The original sections were dissolved on the basis of a new Higher Education Act of 1950 and the Faculty of Agriculture and the Faculty of Forestry were established. In 1951, the School Horticultural Farm was founded in Lednice for the purposes of horticultural studies. The building of military education in Brno and founding of Slovak agricultural, forestry and veterinary universities interfered with the integrity of the UOA. The Faculty of Agriculture was divided into the Faculty of Agronomy and the Faculty of Animal Husbandry. TheVeterinary University in Brno was dissolved, made into the Veterinary Faculty and connected to the UOA in 1952. The Faculty of Forestry was transferred to the Civil Engineering University in Brno, but then returned to the UOA in 1956. Another restructuring of the institute took place in 1959. The Faculty of Animal Husbandry was dissolved and animal husbandry was incorporated into the Faculty of Agronomy. In the same year, the need for qualified management in agricultural production and an increase in its mechanization motivated the establishment of the Faculty of Business and Economics.
Increasing numbers of students and the school’s spatial problems led to the establishment the so-called Jihlava Department in 1964, where tuition of first-year students took place until 1994. The Department of Education was founded to provide additional education studies for teachers of secondary forestry and agricultural schools and vocational schools. The relaxed nature of the 1960s allowed the establishment of the following centres: for the use of radioisotopes; electron microscopy; computational techniques; scientific and technical information; an editorial centre, and unique instruments. By establishing the Department of International Biological Programme, the UOA joined the prestigious UNESCO project. A favourable political atmosphere in 1969 allowed the separation of the Veterinary Faculty and its transfer to the re-established Veterinary University in Brno. After August 1968 (the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet army), the life of the institute was affected by the subsequent period of normalization, which led to major changes of personnel and forced the departure of some teachers. The 1970’s were characterized by construction activities, renovation work and the implementation of didactic techniques. The 1980s brought interdisciplinary studies, a comprehensive scientific and technical program and computerization. The Centre for the Development of Biotechnology was founded. Horticultural fields of studies were detached from the Faculty of Agronomy, and so the Faculty of Horticulture was founded in Lednice in 1985, and thus four-decades worth of efforts came to fruition.
The events of November 1989 (the end of the Communist regime) brought about major changes in the life of the University. Following the transformation of the agricultural-food and forestry-wood technology industry, a transformation of the school enterprises took place between 1993 and 1995. After the establishment of the wood technology department, the name of the Faculty of Forestry changed to the Faculty of Forestry and Wood Technology in 1993. In 1995, the UOA was renamed as the Mendel University of Agriculture and Forestry, claiming the legacy of J.G.Mendel. Since 1998, the implementation of the European Credit Transfer System in all study programs of the University has been under way.
In 2000, the University’s agricultural enterprises were combined into a single University agriculture enterprise in Žabčice. To ensure continuous development of lifelong education, the Institute of Lifelong Learning was established in 2003; since 2006 it has been a university institute. The Faculty of Regional Development and International Studies was established in 2008 to provide preparation for experts in economics in a regional, national and international context.
The University has been using the name Mendel University in Brno (MENDELU) since 2010. In 2011, the establishment of an independent university institute CEITEC MENDELU within the Faculty of Agronomy incorporated the University into an international scientific centre of excellence, the Central European Institute of Technology. At the end of 2012, the University received the prestigious certificates ETCS Label and Diploma Supplement Label from the European Commission, which serves as a confirmation that its study programmes and the examination system are in accordance with the principles of the Bologna Declaration. The Hrášek Nursery was established in 2013 to allow employees to balance their family and work lives.