Members of the DGSA can form Expert Groups and Expert Committees that are working in different thematic areas, which meet the targets of the DGSA in promoting social work.
If an Expert Group has been working for a longer time and contributes in an especially relevant way to the profile of the DGSA, it can apply at the Board to become an Expert Committee of the DGSA, which has then to be confirmed by the members’ assembly.
Currently, there are five Expert Committees in the DGSA:
Established as an Expert Group Theory and Science of Social Work in 1995 in Frankfurt am Main with members from Germany, Switzerland and Austria, the expert Group became the Expert Committee Theory and Science of Social Work in 2002 and was led by Prof. Silvia Staub-Bernasconi until autumn 2012. The current Chairs are Prof. Christian Spatscheck and Prof. Stefan Borrmann. Since 2013, the Expert Committee’s work has been focussing on the following two areas:
1. Spring meeting: Meeting directly after the DGSA’s Annual Conference
With the aim of ensuring continuity in the Expert Committees’ work and developing opportunities for long-term projects, a shorter meeting takes place every year after the DGSA’s Annual Conference, always in the last week of April. In preparation for the meeting, the Expert Committee selects a theme relating to academic and theoretical development with internal contributions and invited external speakers. Discussions are based on current and controversial publications from colleagues in the field.
2. Autumn meeting: Theory Development Conference
A special Theory Development Conference, which takes place every October, offers an open platform for discussion on theories in the field of social work. The conference is not a closed section meeting; on the contrary, it is open to all experts who wish to present and take part in constructive discussions on current theoretical developments. Presenters are given sufficient time for their paper (30 minutes) and discussion (1 hour). The conference also places special emphasis on giving participants opportunities to get to know each other and chat informally. It is not necessary to be a member of the DGSA to participate in the conference or to present a paper.
This Expert Committee focuses on analysing current developments in community work, updating the core concepts and methods identified, and teaching these in higher education and professional development courses. A further concern of the section is the theoretical and empirical debate of current socio-political conditions affecting community work. The Expert Committee takes a project-oriented approach, using knowledge exchange and collaborative analysis to produce concrete publishable results. The Expert Committee Community Work was established in 2004. It currently has around 25 active members, who teach and research at universities in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Some of them also work as practitioners in relevant fields. This Expert Committee focuses on analysing current developments in community work, updating the core concepts and methods identified, and teaching these in higher education and professional development courses. A further concern of this Expert Committee is the theoretical and empirical debate of current socio-political conditions affecting community work. The group follows takes a project-oriented approach, using knowledge exchange and collaborative analysis to produce concrete publishable results.
Based on a biopsychosocial understanding of health, illness and disability, clinical social work focuses on diagnosing, counselling and treating clients in the context of their lifeworlds. The Expert Committee Clinical Social Work serves as a hub and forum for academics and practitioners specialising in this area. As well as offering a platform for discussion on theory, research and practice, the Expert Committee supports the development of clinical social work’s profile in Germany, in terms of both training and clinical social work practice.
The Expert Committee Social Work Research brings together lecturers and researchers from universities and practical fields of social work. The section provides a platform for interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary social work research. Our aims are to develop the field of social work research; contribute to discussions that are linking social work research, theory, and practice; and forge a stronger role for research in the teaching of social work. We are also committed to establishing an international network. The Expert Committee Social Work Research would be very pleased to hear from you; please contact our chairpersons.