June 18th, 1991 The Faculty of Communication was established on the basis of a resolution of the Council of Vilnius University (VU) on the basis of the Departments of Librarianship, Information Systems, Book Studies and Bibliography, and two Departments of Journalism. There were possibly three reasons for this decision.
The research in librarianship and scientific information, media (especially written, i.e. print and video information) that had been carried out at the University up to that time showed that a new academic structure was needed to develop it. The study programmes in librarianship and journalism, then called specialisations, had to be in line with the new concept of communication and information studies; they would not have met the needs of modern society in terms of training professional communicators without being interwoven with the academic disciplines of philology and history. The research carried out in the then Departments of Library and Scientific Information, Radio and Television Journalism, Press Journalism and the Periodical Press Research Laboratory on the document, the history of the book and the press, book publishing, printing and book trade, librarianship and bibliography, the theory and history of journalism, information theory and information systems was classified, like the courses taught, in the fields of history, pedagogy, technical or economic sciences.
The second reason: the adoption of the University's Statute by the Supreme Council of Lithuania (Reconstituent Seimas) in 1990 restored autonomy, allowing academic and scientific reforms to be carried out in line with the needs of the post-independence state and the revitalised, freely debating society. The curriculum changes that began during the Sąjūdis era (reintroduction of Lithuanian studies, abolition of ideologised courses) culminated in the transformation of the higher education system, not only through the establishment of new faculties at the University, but also through the multiplication of universities in Lithuania. This situation has sharpened the debate on the situation, need and prospects of social sciences and studies in economic and cultural terms. VU has managed to take a fresh look at communication and to concentrate its characteristic research objects and disciplines in one structure.
The creation of both the new faculty and its departments was motivated by the spread of the modern branches of communication and information sciences, which were recognised as a separate field in 1997, and by the tasks of studying the processes of social communication from an information perspective and of developing a general communication and information theory. Thus, the decision of the Council of VU was useful in creating a school of communication sciences and studies in Lithuania, which opened up opportunities for comprehensive research of the fundamental object of communication - the message - in the various branches of communication.
The third reason is the importance of VU in the history of Lithuania, not only in the development of science and studies, but also in its contribution to education and information policy: since its foundation, VU has been a major centre for publishing and the systematisation and dissemination of knowledge. It was VU Research Library that for a long time was the sole creator and disseminator of the information system and the first periodical newspaper in Lithuania (1760), the main printing house in Lithuania, and the main centre for bibliographic, documentary, book and image research.
Since its foundation, the Faculty has consistently planned and implemented research and studies in the field of communication and information, underlining the fundamental university principle of the unity of science and studies. With the election of each dean, the Council of the Faculty approves the Faculty's Strategic Development Plan (since 2016, at the proposal of the Rector, called the Operational Plan). These plans have led to many new decisions, helped to analyse changes in study policy and the higher education market, as well as developments in communication and information sciences.
For example, the launch of the Bachelor's degree programme in Informatics in 1992 has given impetus to considering information as an important element of modern management and as a business. Since 1997, the University has been accepting students in Business Information Management. For some creative undergraduate programmes, the faculty has for decades passed the entrance examination requirement, in line with VU principle that highly motivated individuals should study at the University.
In 2017, after Vilnius University raised the admission requirements for all undergraduate studies in general, the Faculty Council cancelled the entrance exam requirement for the Bachelor's degree programme in Journalism as of 2018.
At the end of the 20th century, the TEMPUS project won by the Faculty led to the revitalisation of postgraduate studies and the dissemination of internal and external communication.
VU has created the only three-level school of communication and information in Lithuania: it also trains PhDs in this field of social sciences. The dissertations launched at the Faculty in 1993 have matured a new generation of communication and information professionals, who were joined in 2004 by three habilitated research professors, after a break of more than ten years. In total, the Faculty has produced more than half a hundred PhDs in its first 25 years.
In 2008, according to the latest strategic development plan of the Faculty of Communication, the research interests were expanded, and in 2012 new research units in museology and creative media were established, and by 2017 the Faculty structure consisted of 6 academic and research units conducting research in the fields of communication and information sciences - library science, documentary studies (archives), book studies, creative industries, museology, integrated communication, information sciences, media and journalism.
Following the restructuring of the University's structure in 2015, the Faculty Council drafted new regulations, which were approved by a resolution of the Senate on 22nd of November 2016. The main difference with the previous situation is that the Faculty of Communication is an autonomous stem academic unit of the University, whose internal structure is determined by the Faculty Council. Thus, the above-mentioned regulations give the Faculty Council the right to create chairs as research groups (previously, chairs were approved by the Senate). Since 2nd of February 2017, the Gender Studies Center has been integrated into the structure of the Faculty by a resolution of the Senate.
The Council, having established a new procedure for the creation of Departments on December 5th, 2016, and in order to consolidate the commitment of research groups, established the following units with the status of a Departments, Centres, and a Laboratory - in the aforementioned Institutes as of September 1st, 2017, on the proposal of the Dean.
The Faculty's website provides information on the research and study links of the stem unit, research topics, supervisors and promoters, history, and coordination of studies.
The University publishes three journals produced by the Faculty - Information Science, Book Studies (since 1961), Journalism Research (since 2008).
Since 2013, the Faculty has separated the management of studies and research: each study programme is managed by a respective study programme committee, whose chairperson is appointed by the Faculty Council on the recommendation of the Dean and approved by the VU Senate. This arrangement ensures effective management of the study programme, as the head of the programme can initiate and take decisions independently, reporting only to the Dean and the Council.
Between 1991 and 2001, 799 graduates were trained in the field of library science (502 in library science and bibliography and 297 in journalism). Following the conversion to a double degree programme, 3 621 Bachelor's degrees were awarded between 1995 and 2016 (including 860 mainly in Informatics) and 1 803 Master's degrees were awarded between 1997 and 2016 (including 488 mainly in International Communication). The most recent study programme, Creative Communication for the training of creative industry professionals, was created in 2011 and has been running since 2012.
The Faculty has formal and informal student organisations, such as a representative office, societies and clubs. The CF coordinates the activities of Vilnius University Radio START FM, established in 2007, and publishes the educational newspaper "Universiteto žurnalistas" (1977-1992 and since 2006).
The Faculty has been located in several VU buildings since its foundation: in the Old Town - in the "Obst House" at Bernardinų str. 11 (Janas K. Obst is a publisher and editor, the founder of the A. Mickiewicz Museum), in the house of the "The Heart of Creativity" at Maironio str. 7 (In 2015, the Visual and Sound Creativity Hub was established there), in Antakalnis - at Saulėtekio ave. 9 (on the second and fifth floors of the first house, in a connecting part, and the third floor of the third building).
On the occasion of the Faculty's 20th anniversary, an oak tree was planted at Saulėtekio ave. 9, building I, on the initiative of the students, and on the occasion of the 25th anniversary, a "Communication Park" was established there.
"What do I associate with COMMUNICATION? With... Communion, because it is also possible to share a good thing: good news, information - not disinformation, to make connections and to teach", - Prof. Vytautas Landsbergis (Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania), from his congratulatory speech at 17th of June 2016 in his speech at St. John's Church on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the CF.
The graduation and doctoral diplomas of the two-stage studies are awarded annually at the aforementioned Church of the University on 18th of June (the day of the foundation of the faculty), and at the end of January only for the postgraduates, who have been studying for 1,5 years. The ceremonial start of doctoral studies takes place on the first Monday in October.