The School offers professional education and training in social work, multidisciplinary courses in the broad social welfare area at postgraduate level for postgraduate research students. A distinctive feature of the School is its staffing composition. Its staff is drawn both from its core disciplines of social work and social policy, and also from a range of other relevant disciplines including anthropology, education, political science, psychology and sociology. The School is pleased to acknowledge the special public sector, corporate and philanthropic support it attracts for some of its teaching and research activities.
Through high quality scholarship, the School seeks to identify, explore and impact on key social issues. The rapid changes currently under way in Irish society provide a fascinating backdrop and context for the educational and research work of the School. The teaching and research within the School is also enhanced by the strong engagement of many staff members in the policy and service arenas.
The School has a strong international orientation. Many of the School’s staff (and students) come from overseas. School personnel serve on international journal boards and participate in a range of international research networks and initiatives. International colleagues are frequently hosted in the School as visiting academics. The School also warmly welcomes enquiries from international students with relevant interests and experience.
The School provides many opportunities for supervision and support of postgraduate research students and hosts five research centres/programmes.
The School’s teaching at all levels is enriched by the range of research conducted within the School, and particularly so at postgraduate level. For all its postgraduate students, the School aims to offer an experience that is both challenging and rewarding in terms of personal and career development.
An important priority for the school is serving the life long learning needs of personnel in the public and nongovernmental sectors in what might broadly be termed the human services.
The School has a lively community of postgraduate research students, whether studying independently or within research centres or programmes. Some are full time students; others combine their studies with their work.
The School has particular strengths and capacity in research supervision in the following areas:
Ageing and social policy
Drug and alcohol policy and services
Child protection and welfare
Family and gender
History of social policy
Sociology of reproduction
In addition to the research activities of individual academic staff, the research effort of the School is also focused through five significant research ventures.
The Children’s Research Centre conducts policy relevant research on children’s lives and issues and is co-sponsored with the School of Psychology. With other TCD colleagues, Centre personnel will play a significant role in the major National Longitudinal Study on Children’s Development, the contract for which was awarded to the Economic and Social Research Institute and Trinity College Dublin. The Centre has strong international links and collaborates with other Irish researchers in many of its projects.
The School’s new Social Policy and Ageing Research Programme is intended to make a major contribution to knowledge of the social and policy aspects of ageing in Ireland. It is being launched with significant support from Atlantic Philanthropies. This research programme is closely involved in the work of the Trinity College Consortium on Ageing.
The Addiction Research Centre conducts independent and critical social research into social and policy responses to drug and alcohol-related problems. Its work is enriched by its close association with the School’s taught programme in this area: the M.Sc. in Drug and Alcohol Policy.
The National Institute for Intellectual Disability (NIID) at Trinity College Dublin is part of the School. It is an inclusive Institute centering on research, policy and lifelong learning for individuals with intellectual disabilities.
This emerging History of Irish Social Policy Programme reflects the research interests and strengths of a number of School staff and has already attracted a number of postgraduate students and some postdoctoral work and yielded a range of publications.