Conference 2012 – Teaching Social Policy for the Future

One-Day Conference organised by the Social Policy Association – Teaching Social Policy for the Future held on 20 April 2012 at the University of Edinburgh

Social Policy, as an academic subject and a series of policies and practices, is facing challenging times, and yet has never been more relevant and important. In the wake of severe public spending cuts following the global financial crisis, dramatic demographic change and fundamental shifts in labour markets and family life, traditional assumptions about the role and purpose of social policy are open to new interpretation. As higher education enters a new era of high student fees, new expectations and agendas on employability and skills, the teaching of social policy deserves new scrutinity. How new generations of students are taught, what they are taught and the skills they will need to acquire are of great concern if social policy is to make a convincing case for its growing relevance in UK higher education.

This one-day conference gave social policy academics a chance to consider the state of the discipline and what may need to be done to ensure that the subject increases its attraction for undergraduate and postgraduate students. Attendees were presented with results from a recent survey on social policy teaching in the UK commissioned by the Social Policy Association that addressed key issues such as research methods teaching; new subject benchmarks; work placements and employability; the ‘how and what’ of teaching social policy. The conference was designed to stimulate thought and discussion through break-out sessions, and was intended to act as initial stimulus for a series of workshops across the UK over the next eighteen months.

Plenary speakers

We were delighted to be joined by Professor David Byrne (School of Applied Social Sciences, Durham University) talking about the how and what of teaching social policy in historical and contemporary perspective. We also welcomed Dr Tania Burchardt (Deputy Director CASE and Department of Social Policy, LSE) who spoke on new agendas, research skills and employability: opportunities and challenges. Watch the plenary speakers here

Watch the plenary speakers:

We look forward to sharing with you the feedback from this conference

Ingela Naumann
Convenor, Teaching & Learning Group
SPA Executive