At the inception of Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU/UNIZIK) Awka, in 1991 as an autonomous university, seven Faculties, namely: Education, Engineering, Law, Medicine, Management Sciences, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences, were bequeathed to it from its mother university, the defunct Anambra State University of Technology (ASUTECH). As at the time, the Faculties of Arts, Environmental Sciences, Health Sciences and Technology, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Agriculture were not part of the system.
However, in view of the fact that at its inception, Nnamdi Azikiwe University was made a conventional university, whose areas of study were to cut across many academic disciplines, including the Arts and in appreciation of the role played by Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe (whom the University is named after, in the development of the human society through the liberal arts), the authorities of the University welcomed the idea of Faculty of Arts and the others as a way of meeting the demands of Nigerian Society. Thus in setting a motion for a new Faculty of Arts the following were proposed to form the component Departments:
- African Languages
- English Language and Literature in English
- Fine and Applied Arts
- Modern European Languages
- Religious Studies
- Theatre Arts
Resulting from the foregoing was the recruitment (in December 1992) of 19 lecturers (mostly from the former Anambra State College of Education, Awka) to constitute the foundation staff of the new Faculty. At the time, the staff recruited, were to cover programmes of English, Modern European Language, African Languages, Linguistics, Fine and Applied Arts, Music, History and Archaeology, and Religious Studies. Over time, two additional lecturers were recruited to pioneer the degree programmes in Philosophy and Theatre Arts.
The National Universities Commission (NUC) was said to have denied an approval for the immediate take-off of the proposed Faculty. Arising from this development was the deployment of some of the staff already recruited for the proposed Faculty to other Departments in the University. In line with this policy on deployment, while Dr. C.C. Agbodike (later a Professor) was deployed to the Department of Political Science, Mr. F.O.E. Okafor went to the Department of Economics, the Rev. Canon Dr. D.C. Okeke and Rev. Msgr. Dr. J.P.C. Nzomiwu (both, now, Porfessors) were deployed to the Department of Sociology and Anthropology; the rest of the lecturers earlier recruited, were deployed to the Faculty of Education.
Meanwhile, following several representations of the subject, by the University, the NUC was to approve the establishment of a Department of Arts, instead of Faculty of Arts. The implication of this was that the originally proposed cognate Departments were to be constituted as academic Units in the Department of Arts. The proposed Department of Arts was, as it were, to be brought under the umbrella of the Faculty of Social Sciences which henceforth, was to be known and addressed as the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Appropriately, the new Department of Arts took off in the 1992/1993 academic session under Mr. John Kamen as its pioneer Co-ordinator. Mr. Kamen was succeeded by Dr. C.C. Agbodike (later a Professor) in 1994. In 1995, the Very Rev. Dr. Msgr. Nzomiwu (now a Professor) took over the co-ordinatorship of the Arts Department from Dr. C.C. Agbodike and later, succeeded by Dr. E. Mbanugo (now a Professor) in late 1998.
In the meantime, beginning from the 1992/1993 academic session, some of the academic units in the Department of Arts commenced academic activities in the University. For instance, for that session, English, Fine and Applied Arts and African Languages (Igbo) Units commenced work. In 1993/1994, History, Music, Religious Studies, Modern European Languages and Theatre Arts took off. In the 1996/1997 academic session, Linguistics came on-stream; and during the 1997/1998 academic year, Philosophy started academic work.