The Poznań University of Physical Education (PUPE, AWF) originates from the Chair of School Hygiene and Theory of Physical Education opened in 1919 at the then established University of Poznań. It is the oldest sports institution of higher education in Poland and the third oldest school of that type in Europe after such schools in Ghent and Copenhagen.
It was established and managed first by Professor Eugeniusz Piasecki. In 1922 it was incorporated into the Faculty of Physical Education at the University of Poznań and transformed in 1950 into the Higher School of Physical Education featuring one faculty. In 1973, it was renamed the University School of Physical Education (AWF, i.e. Akademia Wychowania Fizycznego). AWF’s second faculty, Tourism and Recreation, was opened in 1974 and was the first faculty in the country to create the methodology for the field. In 2003, the Off-Campus Faculty of Physical Culture in the town of Gorzów Wielkopolski was established.
Since 1960 AWF has had its own teaching center in Chycin near Miedzyrzecz, where summer camps for students, children and youth, as well as conferences and conventions for graduates have been held every year.
AWF’s modern sports and teaching complex is located in the very center of Poznań, close to the bus and railway stations and the vicinity of the Stary Browar Shopping Mall. AWF has modernized teaching and sports facilities including: a sports complex with a gym, an indoor cycling and aerobic hall, a swimming pool with wellness facilities, a multifunctional stadium with a grass hockey pitch, tennis courts, fencing rooms and a modern team sports hall. Skycrapercity portal ranked AWF’s facility as one of the most beautiful structures in Poland in 2015. The facility was nominated for the ArchDaily award in the “Building of The Year” category.
During almost a hundred years of its existence, many outstanding athletes, including Olympic Games and World and European Championships winners have graduated from AWF. These include: Władysław Komar, Władysław Kozakiewicz, Bronisław Malinowski, Tomasz Kucharski, Michał Jeliński, Jan Szymański, Karolina Naja, Julia Michalska, Łukasz Nowak and Maciej Lepiato.
Currently, the University School of Physical Education is one of the best academic schools of physical culture in the country, where research and sports are at a high level. Its graduates include physical education teachers, managers, sports coaches, nutritionists, physiotherapists, dancers and neurobiologists. AWF’s almost 4,000 students may major in: Physical Education, Sport, Tourism and Recreation, Physiotherapy, Nutrition, Neurobiology or Dance in Physical Culture. A new major called Physical Culture 50+ was introduced in 2017. AWF employs 518 staff, including 261 academic teachers.