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Department of social work


The Beginnings of the Department of Social Work

The history of Social work study programme dates back to 1995 when the Department of social pedagogy was established in the Faculty of Pedagogy. In 2000 this department was re-organized into the Department of social work and became a part of Health sciences faculty.

The programme of social work was developed throughout 1996-1999 within the framework of international Tempus project S-JEP 11014 „Interdisciplinary training of social pedagogues/social workers“. Programme development group included teachers from Klaipėda and Šiauliai universities as well as social partners from Ministries of Social welfare and labour and Education and science. Members of development group were advised by experts from Kristianstad University (Sweden) and Manchester Metropolitan University (England) together with social workers from these countries.

The first professors of the department prof. dr. E. Acienė (E. Giedraitienė) and assoc. prof. R. Dobranskienė (untill 2003) were doctors of social sciences (educology) with a lenghty experience as teachers in higher education. Later on new teachers have been invited to join the department:  V. Kavaliauskienė, A. Kiaunytė, I. Dirgėlienė, all of whom successfully defended their doctoral theses in social sciences (educology) in 1998 and 1999.

Today the Department of Social work is constantly evolving center of studies and science, engaged in strengthening and development of social work as a branch of social sciences and field of applied studies. „Social work“ study programme carried out by the department was positively evaluated by international experts. In 2015 and 2016 „Ratings“ magazine positioned the programme among the best in the field in Lithuania.

The mission of the department

The mission of the Department of Social work – to train highly qualified social work professionals, able to solve social problems of individuals and organize the activities of social service market; carry out scientific research which shapes the links between theory and practice. Special attention is paid to the interrrelations of theory and practice as well as culture of reflection. This is achieved by utilizing not only scientific but also practical experience of teachers of the department and close cooperation with social work institutions.

The deparment of social work today

The subject of scientific research of the department – the development of innovative social work by applying interdisciplinary approach in the context of social welfare improvement.

The strategy of formation of the department is based on the principle of selecting the most gifted graduates of the department, who have the highest motivation and necessary characteristics to teach in the university. Today 80 percent of teachers in the department are former graduates who successfully prepared and defended their doctoral theses. During the years from 2011 to 2015 four former students of the department who went on to become teachers (B. Kreivinienė, V. Rimkus, D. Puidokienė ir S. Mačiulskytė), defended their doctoral theses in University of Lapland in Finland. Currently two more of the graduates of the department started preparations to acquire doctoral degree.


The subject of scientific research of the department – the development of innovative social work by applying interdisciplinary approach in the context of social welfare improvement.
Fields of scientific interests and practice of the teachers of the department:

  • Assoc. prof., dr. V. Rimkus

Scientific interests – social support in social work, client strenghts perspective in social work, human rights and social work, positive social work, juvenile delinquency.
Field of practice – senior specialist at Child rights protection department of Klaipeda region municipality.

  • Prof., dr. E. Acienė

Scientific interests – problems of Lithuanian social policy, interdisciplinary studies of social problems, professionalization of social work from the perspective of relationship between studies and science.
Field of practice – president of the Association of social work schools of Lithuania, chairman of the board of Health sciences faculty of Klaipeda university, deputy chair of the Senate of Klaipeda University.

  • Prof., dr. V. Kavaliauskienė

Scientific interests – training of social workers/pedagogues, training of teachers, pedeutology, social pedagogy, interpersonal communication, links between objective and subjective factors of the profession, subject of the profession and professionalism of practice, innovations in professional practice.
Fields of practice – member of editorial board of Health sciences faculty, teacher at joint doctoral programme in educology.

  • Assoc. prof., dr. A. Kiaunytė

Scientific interests – supervision (professional relationship counselling) in studies and practice, dialogue within profesional relationships, social risks and human rights.
Fields of practice – supervisor (professional relationship counsellor).

  • Assoc. prof., dr. I. Dirgėlienė

Scientific interests – supervision (professional relationship counselling), community social activities, resocialization, experiential learning.
Fieklds of practice – supervisor (professional relationship counsellor).

  • Assoc. prof., dr. B. Kreivinienė

Scientific interests – life quality of people with disability, animal therapy, dolphin therapy, positive social work, social work with the disabled.
Fields of practice – head of the Dolphin therapy center at Lithuanian sea museum, dolphin therapist

  • Assoc. prof., dr. S. Mačiulskytė

Scientific interests – research in Lithuanian social policy and system of social welfare, management of social services, development of social services to improve life quality of the elderly.
Fields of practice – vice-dean of Health sciences faculty of Klaipeda University.

  • Lect., dr. D. Puidokienė

Scientific interests – human trafficking, sexual exploitation and prostitution, domestic violence, psycho-social support for victims of violence, existential psychotherapy, case management in social work, family support, organization of volunteer work.
Fields of practice – head of Klaipeda Social and psychological support center, existential psychotherapist.

  • Lect. J. Vaičiulienė

Scientific interests – students internship in social work institutions, social work with youth, violence against children.
Fields of practice – member of assessment board of study programme competencies for social worker assistants at Klaipeda center of professional training and rehabilitation.


Klaipėda University
Faculty of Health Sciences
Department of Social Work
Herkus Mantas str. 84
LT-92294 Klaipėda


Assoc. prof. Valdas Rimkus
Head of the Department of Social Work

Room No. 316
Ph. (8 46)  39 85 64
Fax (8 46)  39 85 52

Erika Butkutė
Secretary of the Department of Social Work

Room No. 426
Ph. (8 46)  39 85 63
Fax (8 46)  39 85 52

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