The history of the Faculty of Arts dates back to the early beginnings of university education in Sri Lanka. The predecessor to the Faculty of Arts in Peradeniya University was established in Colombo, as part of then University of Ceylon, as two faculties called the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Oriental Studies. These two faculties were moved to Peradeniya in 1952, and were amalgamated in 1972 to form the Faculty of Arts.
The twenty years from 1952 to 1972 saw the expansion of the Faculties of Arts and Oriental Studies. The original seven departments of study of the two faculties were Classics, Economics, English, Geography, History, Oriental Languages, and Philosophy. The Department of Oriental Languages was divided in 1943 into the four separate departments of Sinhalese, Tamil, Pali and Sanskrit.
This was followed by the addition of several other academic disciplines to the faculty: Law and Arabic in 1945; Sociology, Education and Modern Languages in 1949 (French and German had been taught for many years as subsidiary subjects); Archaeology in 1959; and Buddhist Philosophy in 1964. The most recent additions to the faculty are the departments of Fine Arts and Management Studies, and Law established respectively in 2001, 2002 and 2009.
A sub-department of English for the teaching of English as a second language was set up after the swabasha (i.e., non-English medium) students entered the university. In addition, French is also available as a subject to students following the General Degree Programme.
In terms of both the number of students and staff, the Faculty of Arts is the largest of the seven faculties of the University of Peradeniya. At present there are seventeen departments of study and a teaching unit called the English Language Teaching Unit (ELTU) in the faculty. The ELTU, which is separate from the Department of English, is responsible for teaching English to students doing their degrees in the Sinhala and Tamil media. Student enrolment in the Faculty of Arts is around 3600 at present.
The Faculty of Arts should play a central role in the areas of socially meaningful acts such as developing work pertaining to education, governance, democracy, autonomy, economy and economic concerns, the judiciary and the freedoms associated with cultural expression. It is important to face the critiques posed at Faculties of Arts; in this I invite all the academics and others of our Faculty to engage with socially relevant issues and demonstrate the significant role we have been playing and will continue to do so in society.
In terms of curriculum, we offer a Bachelor of Arts (General) Degree, Bachelor of Arts (Special) Degree in 18 different specialties, a Bachelor of Commerce, a Bachelor of Business Administration, and an LLB. In addition we offer a number of postgraduate degrees from postgraduate diplomas, to MA, M Phil and the PhD.
The Dean's Office, located in the Main Arts Building, is the administrative center of the faculty.
Dean is assisted by a Senior Assistant Registrar, an Assistant Registrar and a Senior Assistant Bursar to handle the general administration, student affairs, academic, financial and technicall affairs of the Faculty.
Faculty Office is divided into four sections, namely, General Administration, Academic Affairs, Financial Administration and IT Affairs.
The Dean has appointed Academic Coordinators to support him to undertake ICT work, International Affairs, the Resource Centre for Special Needs Students and Student Welfare Centre.
The student discipline and welfare will be looked after by the Deputy Proctor and the Coordinator of the Senior Student Counsellors.
Academic activities of the faculty are organized under Departments of Study and a Teaching Unit. The Departments of Study and the Teaching Unit are managed by Heads, who are appointed by the Vice-Chancellor. The Head of the Department/Unit is responsible for its day to day administration. The Departments of Study/Unit have their own offices, a clerk/stenographer, and an office assistant as support staff. The following are the seventeen Departments of Study/Unit at present.
The Faculty Board consists of all permanent teachers of the faculty above the grade of Lecturer and representatives of students and teaching support staff of the faculty, and is the faculty's highest policy making authority. Meetings of the Faculty Board, chaired by the Dean, are held once a month. Decisions relating to academic matters are taken by the Faculty Board subject to ratification by the Senate and Council of the university. In addition to the general body, the Faculty Board also consists of three permanent committees that deal with matters relating to academic administration, higher degrees, and research. The faculty also appoints sub-committees when necessary, whose functions are either long term or task specific.
Meetings of the Heads of Departments, the Research Committee and the Higher Degrees Committee are held regularly, normally once a month. The deliberations of these meetings are reported to the Faculty Board for ratification.
The Faculty of Arts annually admits about 850 students on "all-island merit," and 10% of that number as "special intake." The "special intake" is intended to provide students to disciplines that do not get sufficient students under the normal intake. In addition, a few physically disabled students are given admission to the faculty each year. These students are selected by the University Grants Commission with the approval of the faculty.
The total number of approved cadre positions of the faculty is 272, and at present there are 194 permanant and 78 temporary teachers attached to the 17 Departments of Studies and attached Units.
The majority of the teachers of the faculty have overseas teaching and research experience gained through either graduate studies or post-doctoral work. Since opportunities for overseas training for junior staff in the faculty are now limited, the majority of the recent recruits to the academic staff have completed their graduate work locally.
Faculty of Arts, University of Peradeniya,
Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
+94 81 2392503