About us

About us

We are a network of social work faculties under the scheme of Erasmus Life Long Learning program of the European Union (higher educational institutions). SocNet98 was founded in 1998 during an international conference in Groningen (NL) and Jena (Germany) by universities of Groningen, Emden, Jena, Odense and Porsgrunn. In the meantime the network includes several partners all over Europe.

In 2018, we could celebrate our 20th anniversary. Find out more about the developments of these two decades in this presentation: “SocNet98 20th Anniversary – History and Reflections

20 years of SocNet98 – Watch our image film

What do we do?

We exchange lecturers and students on an individual and bilateral level. We secure a working platform for partners in the network cooperating especially within the Erasmus program of the so-called life long learning program of the European Union (the universities named above have common bilateral Erasmus contracts). We cover relevant aspects of social work in a multinational perspective through organising and participation in the International University Weeks which are held every year in April or May. Usually four members organise the weeks which are held in the same week and are open to all the members and other invited guests. Being part of an International University Week is often the first step for students to make personal contacts regarding international exchange on an personal basis and experience.

Definition of social work

As stated in the description of SocNet98, we are a network in social work, and we use the global definition of the social work profession, approved by the IFSW General Meeting and the IASSW General Assembly in July 2014:

“Social work is a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people. Principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities are central to social work.  Underpinned by theories of social work, social sciences, humanities and indigenous knowledges, social workengages people and structures to address life challenges and enhance wellbeing. The above definition may be amplified at national and/or regional levels.”

Here you will find the definition in different languages.

What do we offer?

We have been working together for quite a while with very positive results for the internationalisation of our universities and students. To keep and enhance this task we are still open for new members in other, so far not represented, European countries or regions to join our network. We offer a well-functioning network with engaged people who think that internationalisation is an important aspect in social work education. All universities are linked via bilateral Erasmus contracts with each other to foster student and lecturer exchange.

Every year in April the International University Week is hosted by at three or four network universities which bring together students and teachers from all university partners. In October we take turns hosting a network meeting with the participation of international coordinators and other relevant persons. The common language of our network meetings and International University Week is English.

What do we expect from our existing and potential new members?

All existing and new SocNet98 members need to be actively ready to:

  • sign bilateral Erasmus agreements with all SocNet98 partner universities
  • actively exchange students and lecturers
  • organise an International University Week every 3nd or 4th year
  • send students and lecturers to International University Weeks in other European countries
  • send an authorised representative to the annual coordinators meetings

We expect and provide responsibility and active participation of our members and are also interested in welcoming new partners in our network, especially from countries or regions that are so far not represented yet.

To contact us, click here.