The beginnings of the Department of English Language and Literature are connected with the 1919 re-establishing of the “Regele Ferdinand” University, at which time it started as an English Lectureship within the premises of the then Faculty of Letters and Philosophy.
Professor Petre Grimm, an outstanding scholar of national and international renown, was then elected head of department. Even though he had a Master of Arts in German, Professor Petre Grimm took up teaching English and channelled his personal efforts towards obtaining scholarships and academic positions for his most eminent students. Besides the teaching activities, he was also preoccupied with the theoretical and practical aspects of translating from Romanian into English.
After the period of the Vienna Diktat, when the University of Cluj found temporary refuge in Sibiu, Professor Mihail Bogdan, former assistant to Petre Grimm, was elected head of department in 1945. During the communist regime, in the 1950’s, the department was dissolved, the only one which remained complete being the one at the University of Bucharest. At Cluj, as part of the two universities functioning at that time, “Victor Babeş” and “Bolyai Janos”, which had resulted from the division of the old University of Cluj, there existed a small English department in each. After the reunification of the two universities in a unitary institution called the “Babeş-Bolyai” University, English did not represent a separate department but was included in the Department of Germanic Languages. During this time, an entire gallery of outstanding academics made a name for themselves, among which we can mention Margareta Quittner, Eva Semlyen, Sinka Zoltan. The first heads of department were professors of German, until Mihai Bogdan was re-elected head of department in 1959. Professor Mihai Bogdan was one of the most appreciated English scholars after WW2, being an expert in phonetics and phonology, literary studies, such as those on Shakespeare, Wilde and Shaw, and also an exquisite translator from the Romanian of the works of Blaga and Rebreanu and from English into Romanian of the works of Herbert Smith, Roy MacGregor Hastie and G. B. Shaw. In his quality as head of department he brought his valuable contribution to the quantitative and qualitative development of the department, which thus became the second in importance after the one in Bucharest. The 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s were a period of time during which, despite the numerous difficulties, most of which ideological in nature, the teaching of English and other foreign languages gained momentum, benefiting from the presence of visiting scholars from Great Britain and the USA, as well as from the creation of opportunities for Romanian teachers to study abroad. Within the department an independent library was opened, which offered to its readers American books and publications. In this period, noteworthy heads of department were professors Sever Trif and Ileana Galea. After 1990, English became the most popular foreign language, which led to the establishment of a large number of English departments in Romania; ours remains one of the most important English departments countrywide. After 1990, the department was chaired by:
- 1990 – 1991 – Conf. Dr. Aurel Trofin;
- 1991 – 1996 – Conf. Dr. Ecaterina Popa;
- 1996 – 2000 – Prof. Dr. Liviu Cotrău;
- 2000 – 2007 – Prof. Dr. Virgil Stanciu;
- 2007 – 2011 – Prof. Dr. Mihai Zdrenghea;
- 2011 – 2015 – Prof. Dr. Ștefan Oltean;
- 2015 – 2019 – Conf. Dr. Rareș Moldovan;
- 2019 – present – Lect. Dr. Petronia Popa-Petrar.