Faculty Member Chuck Szypszak Teaches at University in Poland


Old Town, Krakow, Poland

On April 18 and 19, 2012, Professor Chuck Szypszak taught a workshop at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland, attended by students and graduates of the university’s law school. The session, Law and Public Administration: When does Law Matter?, was held at one of the university’s historic buildings in the Old Town. In his session, Szypszak presented the fundamentals of American law and legal analysis, while also discussing public officials' responsibility for understanding the law and contributing to its reform.

Szypszak and the students also compared the American and Polish legal systems. Polish students and faculty are interested in the study of the American experience and methods for teaching law. Many are fluent in English and are familiar with the basics of US constitutional law. 

Poland: A Long and Tumultuous History

After emerging from decades of totalitarian rule, Poland adopted its current constitutional form of government in 1997. Its leaders have made sweeping reforms in legislative process and judicial administration.  Jagiellonian University and Poland share a long and tumultuous history.  Its former students include astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus and theologist Karol Woytyła, who became Pope John Paul II. In 1941, the Nazis arrested many faculty and staff and sent them to concentration camps. During WWII the university was closed and its property looted, though hundreds continued to study in an "underground university." The university also suffered at the hands of the Soviets; teachers were taken away and died in massacres in Katyn, and many others were fired or imprisoned during the Stalin years.

Law Has Been Central to the University Since 1364

Today, Jagiellonian University has a student body of more than 40,000 and courses are offered in 46 disciplines. Its alumni and friends are very loyal, many donating their belongings and sending gifts to to be included in the university’s historical collections. The study of law has always been central to its teaching. Out of 11 original schools established in 1364, eight were related to law and legal matters. Law was among its first three fields of study, which also included medicine and philosophy. Jagiellonian University prepares students for law practice and judicial administration in Poland and other countries and is highly regarded for its international cooperation. Many courses are taught in foreign languages, and lectures by visiting foreign academics are increasingly integrated into the syllabus.

Szypszak has previously taught at conferences in Poland, Russia, and other countries.