Head of Department: Associate Professor Viviene Taylor
The Department of Social Development provides undergraduate social work education and training commensurate with the professional standards laid down by the South African Council for Social Service Professions. It also offers postgraduate specialist taught programmes in selected social service professions and postgraduate programmes by research. As befits professional training, the Department maintains relationships with a wide variety of community-based organisations where students undergo practical training.
The Department places great importance on research. Current research interests of the Department include social policy and social protection systems, the social development of emergent communities, clinical intervention strategies, restorative justice, research on gender inequalities and social transformation, human development and capabilities as pathways out of poverty & social exclusion, social work in prisons, child & youth care, social administration and planning, and HIV/AIDS care strategies.
The Department is also involved in a number of extension services at both national and international levels. The Department collaborates with the Western Cape Provincial Government Department of Education to undertake research in schools in the Cape Metropolitan area. International research and comparative work is encouraged. At present staff in the Department are involved in international research collaboration in the fields of mental health, comparative social policy in Africa, conflict resolution and community development, financial management of the third sector and mapping social protection systems in Africa. The latter is research that feeds into the African Union process on social policy and social protection.