Department of Social Work

Department of Social Work through the eyes of partners

Department of Social Work was established as the first of its kind in former Czechoslovakia in 1991. Since the beginning the study of social work has had interdisciplinary characteristics in order to integrate all aspects of social, cultural-social, social-psychological, social-legal, social-economic, social-politic phenomena focusing on the analyses, correction, development or providing assistance on micro-social, mezzo-social and macro-social levels.

The department offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral studies of social work in full-time and external study programs. It also provides a rigorous form of studying for PhDr. title in social work.

Education of social workers on the first and second levels of university studies is based on three pillars:

1. Theory (social work, basics of psychology, sociology, philosophy, law, economy and methodology of sciences etc.)

2. Training in social skills (perception self and others, conflict resolution, social work with individual and with the social group, management skills)

3. Professional practice (in different areas of social work practice)

The aim of the bachelor's study is to develop the concept of social work as an applied academic discipline, support the ability to think professionally and critically, understand the problem, analyse and implement theoretical models directly into practice, to acquire the skills of professional social work, as well as to develop personality potential of students.

The aim of the master's study is to encourage, prepare and develop the scientific, research, political and management concept of social work, implement the theoretical knowledge in social practice, increase professional and personal potential of students for competent performance in the social field.

The aim of the doctoral study program is to create a specialized form of training doctoral students for the field of social work in a wide range of theoretical investigations of social practice. Unlike some models of pre-gradual and gradual preparation of social workers with more extensive content the doctoral study of social work has more intensive character. It is focused on methodology of science and theoretical aspects of social work. In the sphere of research the focus is either on one particular phenomenon or on several phenomena with an intensive immersion in the problem area.

The lecturers of Department of Social Work coordinate also Social Counselling Centre which is primarily intended for students of the Faculty of Education, as well as for students of other faculties of Comenius University and provides professional services through personal contact and electronic mail. The main aim of counselling is to provide students with advice on social affairs, to contribute to the development of social skills, help students adapt to the university and university life.

The Department of Social Work organizes annually the competition in the Student Scientific, Professional and Artistic Activities (SVOUČ). Students successfully represent their faculty in national competitions which are held annually and are organized by different educators in social work. The department cooperates with many foreign universities, but also with other partner organizations in the area of student and teacher mobility programs as well as in the scientific research.

History of the Department

The Department of Social Work at the Faculty of Education of Comenius University in Bratislava was established in 1991 as a direct consequence of the political changes triggered by November 1989. The social need for this type of study was evident long ago, but the political conditions before 1989 were not conducive to social work education. In the years of the onset of communist totalitarianism 1948-1950, all social work colleges in the country were closed as unnecessary and outdated. Social work clients remained, however, and social workers had to be replaced by other professions. The quality and quantity of social care declined sharply, and people affected by social problems were marginalised or isolated outright. Political changes, the liberalisation of society, and the democratisation of the academic environment opened the way for the re-establishment of university education in the Social Work curriculum.

In the late 1980s, a group of professionals working in the spheres of counselling, psychotherapy and resocialisation formulated an acute need for university education in social work. On 1 May 1991, the first Department of Social Work in Slovakia was established at the Faculty of Education of Comenius University in Bratislava. Its establishment and development is mainly associated with the names - M. T. Bažány, Š. Strieženec, J. Gabura, V. Labáth. Professor Gabura was the head of the department for almost twenty years and is responsible for the active promotion of this type of study throughout the Slovak Republic. M. T. Bažány, as dean of the faculty, played a significant role in promoting the university study of social work at the faculty and university level. However, the current state of the curriculum and the quality of teaching is undeniably a credit to all past and present teaching and research staff of the Department of Social Work.