The modern era of the Faculty of Economics began in November 1989. A prominent figure at the Faculty from the early 1990s was Milan Žák, whom the Academic Senate elected the Dean in 1991 for the first time. The departmental structure included departments of Economic Theory (formerly History of Economic Theories), Economic History, Macroeconomics, Regional Studies and Public Administration, Social Policy, Environmental Policy, and two research institutes: Institute for Economic and Environmental Policy, and the Centre for Regional and Administrative Sciences. Two study programmes were offered at the time – “Economic Policy” and “Public Administration and “Regional Economy”. The accreditation of these programmes allowed for both separate 3-year bachelor and 2-year master study as well as for a combined 5-year masters’ degree. The Faculty was also offering doctoral programmes in Economic Policy, General Economic Theory and History of Economic Theories, and (later) Regional Science – Public Administration. Accreditation was also gained for granting Associate Proffesorships (“habilitation”) and Full Professorships in fields of Economics and Economic Policy.
The Faculty Academic Senate elections of 2003 opened a window for seeking long overdue solutions to unresolved problems which demonstrated themselves in disputes among the faculty in individual departments as well as in increasingly frequent sings of discontent among the students. An unusually large proportion of the electorate took part in that election: the legally mandated 30% minimum participation rate was overreached for the first time in the history of the whole university. The new Dean Jiří Schwarz immediately started deep reforms within the faculty. The main goals of this process were upholding academic freedom, improving teaching methods and modernizing a graduate’s skill profile, attracting better faculty and their constant augmentation by visiting scholars from abroad, removing unnecessary administrative barriers in study and, last but but least, introducing what probably was the highest means-tested support in the Czech Republic to those students who had drawn from Fate’s hand the short end of the stick.
2003 therefore marked the beginning of gradual changes in the content and organisation of the study programmes and the associate necessary organisational and staffing changes. Since the 2004/5 academic year, the Faculty has been introducing the English language into an increasing amount of courses and lectures at all levels of all its study programmes. Precisely for this reason the Faculty has made it requirement to pass the entrance examination for its master’s degree courses in English. Further changes to the curricula of both bachelor’s and master’s degrees have encouraged even greater use of English and other world languages, bringing the Faculty also in this respect closer to the most renowned universities abroad. The Faculty administration creates for their staff good working environment through scholar exchange programmes. Ever increasing number of new partner institutions at foreign universities have been joining the exchanges since 2004, including the Department of Economics at George Mason University, Fairfax, VA (USA), the Institute for Economic Research at the University of Torino, Italy, the School of Law at the University of Gent, Belgium, the School of Business at the University of Richmond, VA (USA), and many others.
In 2005 the Faculty introduced the system of European credits (ECTS) which offers the Faculty greater compatibility and comparability with educational services at other European universities. This further increased the opportunities of our students to study abroad. The same year saw a return of the Czech president Václav Klaus to his Alma Mater to offer a course at the Faculty of Economics. His Elements of economic way of thinking was greatly subscribed by the Faculty’s master’s degree students, and its PhD students also sat in on the class. By 2006 there were 6 departments at the Faculty: Economics, Environmental Economics, Economic History, Economic and Social Policy, Institutional Economics, Law and Regional Studies, as well as the two original research institutes. Since the 2006/7 academic year, the Faculty has been constantly offering three bachelor’s degree courses: Economics, Economic Policy, and Public Administration and Regional Development.
The Faculty administration has continued in everything positive which had been achieved during the post-1989 development. Nobel Prize winners and other economists of world renown will continue to come to the Faculty, just like they were coming in the 1990s (Milton Friedman, Gary Becker or Roger Douglas, to name a few). In the autumn of 2003 it was the famous French economist Pascal Salin who heralded the renaissance of this tradition.
Similarly, the Faculty continued to have the traditional (since 1992) co-operation with the Liberal Institute in organizing the Summer School “Economics for the future managers and their teachers’ and Gary Becker’s awards for the best student scientific work. Since 2004, the Faculty of Economy announced another student rates, which are rewarding the best students:
- Henry Hazlitt Award for economic development journalism. This price will take the form of scholarships for a stay of one semester at George Mason University, Fairfax, USA, where the Department of Economics just opened a new program focusing on economic journalism.
- Ludwig von Mises Award for the best essay on the economic theory and methodology. The award will take the form of a three-month internships at the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, USA, which will serve to promote student’s interest in economic theory and writing a thesis.
- Peter Bauer Award for the best essay devoted to economic development and privatization. Price will take the form of a three-month internships at research institutions in the Cato Institute (Washington, DC, USA) and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy (Midland, USA), on which student will have the opportunity to participate in specific research projects and use them for writing a thesis.
- Penta Finance Award for outstanding academic achievement during the bachelor and master’s degree and significant success in some other branches of human activity (science, literature, journalism, innovative business, arts, sports, etc.). Three selected students will receive an award of CZK 50 000.
The administration also strives for a closer connection between the staff and the students, improving the environment for people to study and work through various social and sporting activities. Since 2004 the academic year has has been kicked off every year by the Economics Faculty Ball which also holds the official Immatriculation of new students. A student society “Economist” was founded in 2005 at the Faculty. It helps in organizing these events and publishes a student magazine “Economix”.