The Department of Social Policy and Social Work was established as a result of the TEMPUS SHESPSS project – Strengthening Higher Education for Social Policy making and Social Services delivery funded by the European Commission EACEA (Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency) and it belongs to the group of projects which refer to the curriculum reform and introduction of new study programmes at the level of higher education (http://www.shespss.ni.ac.rs). The coordinator of this project was the University of Niš and the following institutions and organizations participated in its realization: the University of Belgrade and the University of Novi Sad from Serbia, University College Zealand from Denmark, the University of Catania from Italy, the Institute of Education and University College London from Great Britain, the Republic Institute for Social Protection from Belgrade, the Centre for Independent Living of Persons with Disabilities from Belgrade, the Association of Social Protection Professionals in Serbia and the Association of Centres for Social Work of Serbia. The aim of the project was the strengthening of higher education in the field of social policy and social work and successful linking of the study programme with the needs in the domain of social protection and with the needs of the labour market.
Basic Academic Studies of Social Policy and Social Work (four years) and the Master Academic Studies of Social Work (one year) were accredited in 2016 by the Commission for Accreditation and Quality Assurance of the Republic of Serbia. The first generation of students in both basic and master academic studies was enrolled in the school year 2016/2017, and the Department of Social Policy and Social Work was established in 2018.
All courses at the basic and master studies last for one semester and the curricula are structured in a modern way and in accordance with all the standards necessary for the accreditation of the study programme. General education courses and professional courses are represented (from sociology, psychology, pedagogy, law, social policy and social work). There are also numerous elective courses that provide students with a possibility to shape their education profile according to their own choice. The courses are created in such a way that they provide both theoretical and practical training of students for comprehending the complexity of social work as a scientific discipline and profession, as well as for acquiring knowledge and developing the abilities and skills of advocacy, guidance and application of social policy measures.
The teaching staff of the Department includes professors and teaching assistants from the Faculty of Philosophy in Niš (mainly from the departments of Sociology, Psychology and Pedagogy Department) and guest professors from the Faculty of Law in Niš and the Faculty of Philosophy in Skopje. The professors and teaching assistants from the Department actively participate in both domestic and foreign scientific conferences and research projects and they publish their work in journals and other scientific publications. In early 2019, the Department has ten full professors (Jelisaveta Todorović, Natalija Jovanović, Marina Matejević, Aleksandra Kostić, Tatjana Stefanović Stanojević, Snežana Stojiljković, Dragana Zaharijevski, Danijela Gavrilović, Jasmina Petrović, Vesna Anđelković), four associate professors (Lela Milošević Radulović, Gorana Đorić, Dragan Todorović, Suzana Marković Krstić), two assistant professors (Kristina Ranđelović, Gordana Đigić), and three teaching assistants (Bojana Pucarević, Ljiljana Skrobić, Ivan Anđelković).
The Department has established good collaboration with the Centre for Social Work, the Regional Centre for Foster Care, the Office for Education of Children and Youth, the Home for Children without Parental Care, the Mental Health Clinic Niš, the Special Hospital for Psychiatric Diseases Gornja Toponica and the Gerontology Centre in Niš, so that the students could also acquire practical skills. The Department is also open for cooperation with other educational institutions in the country and abroad, as well as other relevant institutions and organizations.
The Head of the Department of Social Policy and Social Work is professor Lela Milošević Radulović.