About the conference
Quality of Life 2021 conference will held online in Wrocław, September 13-14, 2021, and the main topic will be quality of life of oldish people. One session will be devoted to the 70th anniversary of creating the Department of Statistics in the Higher School of Trade in Wrocław (the direct precursor of Wrocław University of Economics and Business) starting the development of school of quantitative methods in the university. Below is the text written by Prof. Joanna Dębicka, the Head of Department of Statistics, about the history of the department.
In the 2020/2021 academic year, the Department of Statistics of the University of Economics in Wrocław celebrates its 70th anniversary. On such occasions, it is worth looking back and mentioning history and good moments. As Y. Woon wrote, "Sometimes you have to look back to understand what the future holds."
In 1950, the Higher School of Trade, established in 1947 in Wrocław, was transformed into the state-owned Higher School of Economics. In the academic year 1950/1951 there were two faculties: the Finance Faculty and the Industry Planning Faculty. At that time, nine departments were created at the Faculty of Industry Planning, including the Department of Statistics. For 70 years, the Department's name was made more precise (depending on the current research trend) by adding additional terms after the conjunction "and" i.e. Data Processing, Economic Cybernetics, but statistics was always its first element. The present name of the Department is the same as when it was founded. The Department' team consisted of many outstanding people with diverse scientific interests, which cannot be mentioned here. Some left to take over the leadership or work in another department. The number of members varied between 6 and 23. The history of the Department is rich not only in science but also in organizational and didactic achievements. Thanks to the initiative of prof. Walenty Ostasiewicz, the involvement of prof. Zofia Rusnak and many employees of the Department, we can get to know her in detail by reading The Department of Statistics of the University of Economics in Wrocław 1950-2000 (ed. W. Ostasiewicz, Wrocław University of Economics Publishing House, Wrocław 2000) and The Department of Statistics of the University of Economics in Wrocław 2000-2012 (ed. Z. Rusnak, Publishing House of the University of Economics in Wrocław, Wrocław 2012). However, the Department's scientific activity was constantly moderated by its heads. It was and still is concerned about the application of quantitative methods in economics.
The first head of the Department of Statistics was M.Sc. Eng. Jan Falewicz as deputy professor. The Professor was one of the first in Poland who initiated cooperation with practice. Most of the research works created in this period at the Department were devoted to innovative applications of mathematical statistics methods in research on economic issues. Then also prof. Jan Falewicz developed his own (proposed before the war) theory of management, in particular the method of researching the economy and profitability of enterprises based on the knowledge of the cost functions (Profitability, economy, costs. A contribution to the macroeconomic theory. Warsaw: PWN 1963). The first group of employees of the Department was prof. Stanisława Bartosiewicz (at that time as an assistant). Professor's memories of those years, with particular emphasis on the relationship with prof. J. Falewicz, we can read in the article entitled How I became an assistant and a little about the effects of this event, published in the Silesian Statistical Review of 2020.
Prof. Jan Falewicz headed the Department until 1960, and the next head becomes prof. Zdzisław Hellwig (then the doctor), who held this position until 1995. It would be difficult to list all the issues and research areas as well as the papers devoted to them written by the Professor. Synthetically speaking, in his works on modelling socio-economic development and forecasting economic issues, the Professor focused on the econometric model, its essence, construction, selection of variables and interpretations. The research results in multidimensional comparative analysis and taxonomic methods gained international recognition, and the Professor used them in cooperation with UNESCO. Prof. Z. Hellwig was the initiator of creating a computing centre and advocating using computers to solve economic problems. Professor Hellwig inspired the Department of research in the field of insurance risk assessment. More details on the most important scientific achievements of Professor Hellwig and his biography can be found in the article by prof. Walenty Ostasiewicz (Professor Zdzisław H. Hellwig. On the occasion of his 85th birthday. Silesian Statistical Review, 2011, No. 9 (15), pp. 57-67). Professor Zdzisław Hellwig was a scientific personality known outside Poland, so he transformed his international friendships into cooperation between the Department of Statistics and research centres abroad. In particular, two international cooperation initiatives have survived up to this day, nurtured by successive chiefs and employees of befriended departments. At the end of the 1960s, the contacts of Professor Zdzisław Hellwig and Professor Josef Kozák from the University of Economics in Prague turned into regular scientific meetings of statisticians from both centres. The history of this cooperation is described by prof. Richard Hindls, prof. Stanislava Hronová and dr Prokop Závodský in the article Half a century of cooperation and friendship Department of Statistics, University of Economics, Prague and Wroclaw University of Economics and Business published in the Silesian Statistical Review of 2020. However, in 1980, because of the friendship between Professor Hellwig and Professor Wolfgang Förster, seminars for employees of the Department of Statistics and statistics working at the University of Marburg were initiated. Detailed information on joint scientific seminars is provided by prof. Karlheinz Fleischer in the article In memory of Professor Wolfgang Förster and Professor Zdzislaw Hellwig published in the Silesian Statistical Review of 2020. Regularly (starting from the 13th seminar), papers and extended summaries with the results presented during these scientific meetings are published in the Silesian Statistical Review.
In the years 1995-2012, the chairmanship was in the hands of prof. Walenty Ostasiewicz. At that time, on the Professor's initiative, research on social phenomena was initiated in the Department. In particular, the issues of quantification of social characteristics (in particular, the identification and analysis of factors causing stress, the so-called stressors) and the measurement of the quality of life (as well as the standard of living, living conditions, health, feelings and beliefs). An important aspect of the Professor's research has become the study of the impact of social cohesion on the quality of life. The Professor is an internationally known scientist not only for his research on the quality of life but also as the creator of the fuzzy set theory. In this area of study, he actively developed cooperation with prof. Mario Fedrizzi from the University of Trento, Italy. Prof. W. Ostasiewicz always had a vision of the development of scientific research in the Department. He inspired Department's employees to scientific work not only on the quality of life but also in various areas, including insurance statistics and surveys. He developed scientific contacts established with foreign centres in Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. He initiated collaboration between the Department's employees and researchers from Italy under the supervision of prof. Achille Vernizzi from the University of Milan. Scientific work has the best development opportunities when there is a forum for exchanging ideas and views. There is no better place than cooperation with researchers of various research centres during meetings, seminars and conferences. Therefore, the Professor with commitment continued and initiated this type of scientific activity. On his initiative, in addition to one-off scientific meetings (with friends and colleagues of the Universities of Economics in Katowice, Kraków and Poznań), cyclical conferences were organized. Since 1999, the Department of Statistics has been organizing international conferences on the Quality of Life. Thanks to the support of prof. Wolfgang Glatzer from Goethe University in Frankfurt information about these events appeared in the International Society for Quality of Life Studies (ISQOLS) newsletters. The conference was attended by well-known experts from abroad as well as representing the Warsaw School of Economics, the Warsaw University of Life Sciences, the Warsaw Management University, the Gdańsk University of Technology, the University of Wrocław, Wrocław University of Science and Technology and the Statistical Office in Wrocław and many other centres. In 2005, to celebrate the 80th birthday of prof. Z. Hellwig, the first conference on actuarial statistics in Poland was organized. Almost all famous Polish statisticians participated. This conference initiated regular nationwide conferences Actuarial issues - theory and practice. The Department of Statistics co-organizes this series with the Warsaw School of Economics, the University of Warsaw and the University of Wrocław, with the participation of the Mathematical Center for Science and Technology IM PAN, the Lodz University of Technology, the Warsaw University of Technology, the Polish Association of Actuaries, the University of Gdańsk, and the Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences. Besides, the Department of Statistics co-organizes with the University of Economics in Prague and the University of Mateja Bela in Bańska Bystrzyca, the international conference Applications of Mathematics and Statistics in Economics. Strengthening scientific cooperation with foreign centres was appreciated by the University of Economics in Wrocław authorities, which awarded with decorations for the merits of prof. Volker Mammitzsch from the University of Marburg and prof. Achille Vernizzi from the University of Milan. The Professor inspired scientific contacts with official statistics (e.g. through cooperation with the Statistical Office in Wrocław) and took care to popularize statistics (e.g. he actively organized open lectures with the partnership with the Wrocław Branch of Polish Statistical Association). Professor W. Ostasiewicz is known in many scientific circles as the author and editor of many-valued monographs that cannot be listed here. As the head of the Department, He took great care of the publishing activity of all employees of the Department. Among other things, on his initiative, the acclaimed publishing series "Statistics and Risk" was created, in which the results of actuarial works are published not only by the Department's employees. The current issue contains an extensive article written by prof. Walenty Ostasiewicz titled Americanism as worldly idolatry of the market and its impact on. This paper is a collection of reflections presented in recent years by the Professor at conferences, seminars and scientific meetings. One can agree or disagree with the opinions, but its content certainly proves that the Professor follows the principle "The goal of a scientist should be to learn the truth. ... The scientist is bound by a critical attitude, constant readiness to question, revise and reject theories." included in the code of ethics Good manners in science. A set of rules and guidelines. developed by the Polish Academy of Sciences. This article links the jubilee part and the scientific part of this issue of the journal.
After prof. W. Ostasiewicz's retirement, the management for the next three years (2012-2015) was entrusted to dr. hab. Zofia Rusnak, prof. EU. The Professor focused on the assessment of the economic situation of a human being. In particular, it concerns comparing the material living conditions of households belonging to specific groups distinguished according to different classification criteria. The research aims to look at the issues of measuring the economic aspects of social welfare more broadly than just by analyzing consumer spending and average income and identifying groups that need support in the form of social assistance. The primary measurement tool was survey research. A monograph entitled The statistical analysis of the economic well-being of households was recognized and awarded in 2008. Professor intensified and strengthened the Chair's cooperation with public statistics and the popularization of statistical concepts and methods.
In recent decades, the Department of Statistics has continued research on three research trends, i.e. quality of life, analysis of socio-economic data and actuarial science, which proves that “decisions made in the past shape our present” (D. Brown). Many authors representing the centers cooperating with the Department of Statistics honored the Department's 70th anniversary and in 2020, they submitted articles containing original and interesting research results to the jubilee issue of the Silesian Statistical Review. We are very grateful for this honour, so nice to us.
From 2015, the Department was entrusted to me for the following years. The task is not easy, but thanks to the research directions outlined over 70 years by its great heads, which are currently carried out by the department's team and the support of retired Professors and friends of the Department from Poland and abroad, I look to the future with optimism, because although “the past cannot be changed, but the future looks pretty good. It is full of endless possibilities ”(T. Canavan).
Series of conferences devoted to the quality of life issues and organized in Wrocław by the Department of Statistics of Wrocław University of Economics and Business started in year 1999, then next international and Poland-wide scientific meetings took place in years 2001, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2019. Quality of Life 2019 conference was held in Wrocław, September 12-13, 2019, and was devoted to the alternative methodological approaches in quality of life research.
The covers of conference publications between years 1999-2009 are presented on the website http://qol2012.ue.wroc.pl/en/about.htm. Covers of publications after conferences QoL 2012 and QoL 2015 are presented below (the pictures link to the open access papers in the Lower Silesian Digital Library, one should scroll down to find the issue of Research Papers of Wrocław University of Economics).
After the conference in year 2017 the papers were published in the separate issue of Research Papers of Wrocław University of Economics. Moreover three monographic volumes were published by the Publishing House of Wrocław University of Economics. Pictures given below link to the websites with open access or with possibility of books purchase.