The history of the Academy officially commences on the 1st of September 1952 when the Technical School of Physical Education was founded and started operating in Gdańsk. The breakthrough year for the Academy, however, was the year of 1958 when the Technical School of Physical Education was transferred to a new seat in Wiejska Street in Gdansk Oliwa. Initially, the premises of the Academy housed the lecture rooms, a sports hall and a students’ house. In the following year, the Technical School was transformed into The Teachers’ School of Physical Education and in 1969 became the University School of Physical Education. The major didactic aims of the Teacher’s School were to prepare qualified Physical Education teachers (PE teachers) and to familiarize the students and the graduates with various organizational forms of sport in schools and in the extra-school environment.
In the year 1959, the Regional Training Centre was officially established and affiliated with the Teacher’s School of Physical Education. The Centre had the mission to provide physiotherapy exercises, to do posture correction and to treat motor organs malfunctions for the needs of primary schools children. The year 1962 opened the access to studies for working teachers who had secondary education. In this period, the sport and didactic premises were enriched with a six-lane swimming pool, three sport halls, a pitch with a 400-metre, six-lane track, six small pitches and two tennis courts. In the same year, the Centre for Olympic Training was opened, which – at that time – effectively contributed to the sport life in Tri-city.
In the year 1969, the University School of Physical Education was established as a one-faculty institution offering vocational studies as full-time and extramural courses. The University School provided education for PE teachers for primary, secondary, vocational schools, PE instructors, recreation instructors and sport managers to satisfy the needs of the wider extra-school circles. Until the year 1973 the School offered three-year teaching and coaching studies. The University School was also responsible for academic research in the fields of sport and recreation.
Since that time the Main Library, initially reorganized from the library of the Teachers’ School of Physical Education, has been in operation. In 1993 it encompassed the Centre for Scientific Information which had been established 21 years earlier.
The academic year 1973/1974 was of prior importance for the University School. It was when the educational and academic research as well as organizational standards allowed the School to obtain and officially bear the name of one of the most distinguished Enlightment scholars, Jędrzej Śniadecki. The patron of the school laid the foundations of the physical education process in his work “On Physical Education of Children.” It was also when four-year MA courses and post-graduate studies were introduced.
In the year 1981, the School obtained the status of “academy”. In consequence, Jędrzej Śniadecki University School of Physical Education changed its name into Jędrzej Śniadecki Academy of Physical Education in Gdańsk. The following years abounded in constant organizational, academic and didactic development of the Academy. The breakthrough years in this decade were: 1992 – when the Academy obtained the right to confer the title of PhD of Sport Sciences, and 1999 – since when the Academy has had the right to confer habilitation title in the field of sport sciences. The above events, in particular the latter one, have elevated the Academy to a university level. The subsequent years have brought a number of new PhD and habilitations. All these developments supported by new academics who have been acquired from other universities allowed to widen the didactic offer and to open three new courses of: Physical Education, Public Health, and Tourism and Recreation.
Following the provisions of the Higher Education Act of 5 December 2001, the School obtained the official name of Jędrzej Śniadecki Academy of Physical Education and Sport in Gdańsk. Since 2007 the Academy has been operating as a two-faculty school. Today the School has the academic staff of 188 academics, including 47 professors and 80 doctors, who conduct lectures, tutorials, workshops, and seminars. More than 4200 students attend the full-time, non-full-time, extramural and evening courses, as both BA and MA studies. The Academy also offers postgraduate courses.
In the year 2007, Sport and Physiotherapy studies were opened. These developments have effectively enriched the didactic offer of the Academy. Our students can also enjoy multiple opportunities to: improve their qualifications, master their skills, receive appropriate training in the fields of: physical education, sport and/or recreation and obtain various certificates in the area of physical education, sport, tourism and recreation. The Academy additionally provides other forms of supporting careers, for example, complimentary courses for recreation therapists and tour guides, all this to respond to public demand.
Today the Academy is under the process of restructuring and is working on a new development strategy.