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.