Riga Technical University, Institute of Humanities (Latvia)
University Staff without Diplomas: Exceptional Cases in the History of the University of Latvia
Today it is impossible to imagine that staff without university diplomas could teach at a university, but after the First World War things were different. When the University of Latvia was founded in 1919, there was a lack of teachers with university diplomas, and so those without were allowed to teach until the university found someone with all the necessary exams. Thus Kārlis Dēķens only taught courses in 1919/1920 and Voldemārs Miezītis in 1920/1921. They were teachers who taught courses in the Department of Pedagogy at the University of Latvia.
The lecturer Friedrich Kuegler, who had studied at the Forest Academy in Eberswalde (Germany), did not have an academic degree. He taught from 1920 to 1922 until the University of Latvia found out that he had no academic exams.
Another case was Indriķis Saule-Sleinis. He taught methods of geography from 1940 to 1944. He became a university teacher during the Second World War and worked during the Soviet era. After the war he studied Marxism-Leninism at a so-called evening university. Saule-Sleinis was dean of the Faculty of Geography from 1947 to 1948. Authorities in Moscow found out that he didn’t have any university exams. In order to get permission from Moscow to stay at his post in Latvia, he received good references from the University of Latvia. In 1950, they wrote to the Minister of Higher Education of the USSR to get permission for Saule-Sleinis to take his exams, and if successful, to defend his dissertation as a candidate. But this was not granted, and so Saule-Sleinis decided to leave the University of Latvia.
In all of these cases the teachers were characterized as professionals and specialists. They had studied at universities but didn’t get their diplomas, which would have given them the right to be university teachers. They only had these posts as long as there were no others with the necessary diplomas.