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Department of Social Work and Caritas Studies

The main task of the  Department of Social Work and Caritas Studies is to secure scientific and pedagogical background for study programmes Social and Caritas Work (Bachelor) and Ethics in Social Work (Master).

Mission and Profile of the Department

The main task of the Department of Social Work and Caritas Studies is to secure scientific and pedagogical background for study programmes Social and Charity Work (Bachelor) and Ethics in Social Work (Master). In addition, the department secures scientific and pedagogical background toother fields of study- particularly in the areas of pastoral theology for theological disciplines, ethics for all programmes at the faculty and the basics of psychology and social work for theological and pedagogical branches.

The Projects

Project No. TL02000390 in the Applied Research Programme TAČR Éta

Training of Prison Chaplains with Regard to the Specifics of the Prison Environment

The aim of the project is to innovate the training of future chaplains working in the Czech prison environment. The main investigator is doc. Jan Váně from the Department of Sociology of the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen. The co-researcher is doc. Michal Opatrný from the Faculty of Theology, USB which also acts as an application guarantor in the project, which means it will use the results of the research in practice. Another member of the team is Ing. Bc. Pavel Kočnar, Chief Chaplain of the Prison Service of the Czech Republic, the chaplain of the Vinařice Prison, and the parish priest of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren. The outcome of the project will be a lifelong learning course designed for future prison chaplains and masters students of theology which will help them to prepare for their professional activity in the prison environment. The concept of the course will be based on results gained from research amongst prison chaplains, prison staff, and prisoners.

Project No. 2018-1-CZ01-KA203-048104 in Erasmus+ Key Action 2: Strategic Partnerships

Spirituality and Social Ethics in Social Work

The main investigator is doc. Michal Opatrný from the Department of Social Work and Caritas Studies and the other member of the research team is Dr. Emanuele Lacca from the Department of Philosophy and Religion. The project is implemented by a consortium of Universities and research institutions in Spain (Universidad Católica San Antonio de Murcia), Germany (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg i.Br.), Hungary (Gál Ferenc Főiskola Szeged), and Ireland (Clare Youth Service, Ennis). The aim of the project is to innovate the educational content of follow-up masters and doctoral study programmes in social work. The modules and programmes will focus on the issues of spirituality and social ethics. Partial objectives include creating support materials for these educational modules, especially a multilingual manual for students, professionals, and academics on spirituality and social ethics in social work. The project thus responds to the growing cultural and religious diversity in the EU. Social work faces a challenge to support refugees and other incoming aliens from other countries for whom their spirituality and religiosity are an essential part of their lives. The issue of spirituality and religiosity is closely linked to ethical issues in social work because social workers work with the value systems of the client, society, social work, and their own value system, and must make complex decisions that require high ethical competence. The nature and theme of the project calls for an interdisciplinary approach that is common in social work, as well as an approach that will take into account the specificities of different cultural areas in Europe. The implementation of the project at a wide international level will ensure the usability of its results across the EU, both in traditionally religious countries such as Spain or Ireland, and in highly secularised countries such as the Czech Republic; this covers both the ‘old’ EU countries, such as Germany, and in post-communist EU countries, such as the Czech Republic and Hungary.


The Research Activities of the Department

In the field of ethics, the members of the Department mainly specialize in theological and social ethics, especially the specific ethical issues in the context of current social changes and challenges.

In terms of practical theology, the scholars are particularly concerned with the diaconal pastoral care, methods of pastoral care and history of practical theology.
In the area of social and charity work, the members of the Department primarily persue the relationship and interactions of social work and practical theology, the definition of charity work, social work with minorities and the identity and quality of social work.

In 2013-2015 the Department relizes two projects of Grant Agency of the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice:

  • 157/2013/H Ethics in the Context of Social Changes and Challenges; investigator: doc. Jindřich Šrajer
  • 117/2013/H Concept of Quality of Social Work in Relation to Selfdefining of a Social Worker and His/Her Profession; investigator: Markéta Elichová, Ph.D.

Study programmes secured by the Department

The Department mainly builds up social work education on the principles of human dignity and human rights, not on current social policydirectives. In its teaching, therefore, it focuses on professionalism and humanity as equally important criteria of the quality of social work.

Through the Bachelor programme Social and Charity Work the Faculty of Theology is a member of the Association of Educators in Social Work.


Martina Strusková
phone: +420 389 033 537
room: 206 c



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