About the Faculty
Faculty of Social Sciences at Vytautas Magnus University focuses on research and studies of the nature, behavior and development of an individual, community and society. The Faculty unites professors and students whose scope of interests involves studying behavior, functioning and development of individuals, groups, organizations, communities and society, analyzing learning processes, career development, issues and methods of education, developing social services, social justice and human rights. Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences are based on the culture of discussions, development of critical thinking, creativity, synergy between theory and practice. The mission of the Faculty is creation of new knowledge and activities in collaboration with diverse social groups and communities, striving to nurture strengths and dignity of a person, cherish social welfare and develop creating society on local, national and international level. The Faculty values creativity, diversity and collaboration, focuses on the innovative studies and breakthrough research, cherishes personal freedom and responsibility in the face of social change.
Faculty offers unique opportunities for international European and transatlantic studies. Joint doctoral degree programme in Education has been established with the University of Aveiro (Portugal). Professors and students participate in joint projects and exchange programmes. Professors from the Southern Illinois University (USA) give lectures in the Social Anthropology Master programme. VMU Students obtain the Anthropology certificate from the Southern Illinois University (USA). Joint lectures with the Chicago Loyola University (USA) take place via weekly video conferencing. VMU students in social work obtain the attendance certificate from the Loyola University Chicago. The „International Journal of Psychology: a Biopsychosocial approach” is published in collaboration with the University of Nebraska at Kearney (USA). Annual joint video conferences with psychology students presenting their academic research are held.
Major research areas at the Faculty are: psychological issues in health promoting and stress coping; risk taking behavior in different age groups; psychological issues in organizational development and employee well-being; outcome of psychological interventions; psychological issues in teaching and learning; use of the theory of individual psychology in school and organizational settings; vocational education and training; adult education and learning; technologies enhanced learning; career design; education quality management; sociology of family, gender and sexuality; civil society and political participation; environmental, consumption and health sociology; social exclusion; sociology and anthropology of religion and new religious movements; migration studies; analysis of the vulnerable people’s experiences and social work practice and professionalism in social work from the critical, feminist and social construction perspectives; research on social services and social policy from the perspective of empowerment, human rights and social justice
Periodically published journals on social sciences testify to the quality of studies and research. International scientific databases include the faculty’s journals “The Quality of Higher Education”, “Vocational Education: Research and Reality”, “International Journal of Psychology: a Biopsychosocial Approach”, “Social Work: Experience and Methods” and “Culture and Society: Journal of Social Research”.
The driving force of the Faculty of Social Sciences lies in its quality of studies, international relations, research projects and results which are used to determine the direction of university curriculum activities and the community at large. Utmost attention is given to the honing of the students’ professional skills, values, and abilities, which are used to transform theory into practice. Collegial academic communication between the students and the professors is a crucial part of the faculty’s culture.
The studies of the Faculty of Social Sciences are based on the principles of liberal arts teaching which are designed to develop the professional competencies of students, impact their universal and humanistic world views, encourage critical thinking, create a culture of tolerance and to promote participation in various academic activities. Attention of the faculty is given to the improvement of the students’ universal practical and professional skills. Active collaboration with governmental institutions, companies and communities allow the students to expand their competencies while reflecting and balancing theoretical and practical knowledge, familiarizing themselves with the working environment and establishing relations with potential employers. Currently, faculty members along with the students are involved in more than 60 studies and research projects that are funded by numerous institutions and foundations in Lithuania and the European Union.
These forgoing activities seem to be supported by external surveys. The results of an opinion poll of social partners (employers and the alumni) has identified that our graduates possess strong common competences and theoretical as well as practical abilities which ensure their competitive advantage in the job market. According to the partners, the internationalism, professional motivation and humanistic orientation are the qualities that make our alumni highly competitive in the job market.
The students are also encouraged to expand their academic endeavors with participation in extracurricular activities such as the Psychology student association, the Social Work student association titled Vesta, the Sociology student club and the Education sciences student club, various community projects, conferences and fine arts events organized by the university. Students are in addition encouraged to participate in organized academic and decision making activities related to the Faculty of Social Sciences policy making.
In addition to these extracurricular activities the faculty and students have many opportunities to acquire international experience through study and internship exchange programs, such as LLP / Erasmus, Campus Europae and others in university settings throughout Europe, USA, South Korea, Japan, etc. A number of Faculty lecturers have substantial experience of teaching at the universities in the United States, Canada and Europe. Intensive short lecture courses by international lecturers are available on a regular basis as part of the educational experience for the students of the Faculty of Social Sciences.