International Summer University in Social Work 2016

Social workers are frequently given assignments that encompass paradoxical requirements: the goals of action may include help and control; assistance and citizen participation; individual coaching, collective action and social justice.Social work seems to carry dilemmas at its core. Ethical dimensions of social work practice are not only present in the one-to-one support relationship with the beneficiary. They can also be found within the rules that structure professional intervention: laws, ethical standards, professional deontology or common sense can sometimes be paradoxical. The ethical dimensions of social work are defined, in part, by the breadth and diversity of the professionals’ social constructs, by the multiple references that underpin their own values and their perceptions of what constitutes a good life. Ethical dilemmas also surface in the way social workers enact their mission in the public arena, through political and social actions.The 2016 Summer University participants will be invited to reflect on the ethical aspects of their own profession. The seminar keynote address will focus on the relationship between life’s course and ethical dilemmas. The impact of life’s course on the ways in which social workers cope with ethical dilemmas will be examined through three fields of intervention: child protection, addictions and undocumented immigration.The references underlying the ethical dimensions of social work will be addressed through presentations, workshops, and visits as well as individual and collective exercises. Participants will discover and use a range of concepts or paradigms, such as autonomy, care ethics, theory of recognition, responsibility. The place currently given to ethical dimensions and dilemmas will be discussed, especially with regard to the process of the institutionalization of ethics, the role played by ethics in the definition of assignments given to social work professionals, as well as the use of ethics in the public arena.

The organizing University


Involved and invested.

At the heart of society.

Driven by its values of openness, professional expertise and efficiency in the fields of social work and health, the HETSL adopted a new signature moto 2020 : "Involved and invested. At the heart of society."

This symbolises its commitment to grounding its action in social cohesion and integration of people in precarious situations. To achieve this, the HETSL relies on a strongly rooted participatory culture, including its institutional bodies, the Students' Association and regular exchanges with professional circles relaying the realities in the field and dialogue with its institutional partners.

The HETSL offers Bachelor's level courses in Social Work[Fr] and Occupational therapy[Fr]. Its teaching is practice-oriented and prepares tomorrow’s professionals to be involved at the heart of society. Within the HES-SO, the HETSL participates in Master level courses in its fields of expertise, thus offering its graduates the possibility of pursuing a tertiary training programme. It is active in continued education as well as in research and development. It also offers services to public and private organisations.

With its 180 employees and the help of numerous temporary workers, the HETSL offers training in two HES courses, aimed at a public of around 800 students: the Bachelor of Arts in Social Work[Fr] and the Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy[Fr].

The HETSL is actively involved in the Master of Arts in Social Work[Fr], which is organised in French-speaking Switzerland with the Universities of Social Work in Geneva, Fribourg and Valais, as well as with SUPSI, the University of Applied Sciences of Italian-speaking Switzerland. It is also involved in the organisation of the Master of Sciences in Health Sciences[Fr], a joint interprofessional Master's degree with the University of Lausanne (UNIL) and the four universities of applied sciences in the domain of Health of the HES-SO.

The HETSL's Continued Education Unit[Fr] also offers short courses and certification courses (CAS, DAS, MAS), enabling professionals in the field to complete and perfect their training.

The Health and Social work Research Laboratory (LaReSS) conducts a great deal of research, which helps to advance current knowledge, solve practical problems, feeding it’s findings directly into teaching. The results of research are presented at conferences and give rise to numerous publications; LaReSS also provides services, particularly in the form of expertise and evaluation mandates. Finally, the HETSL benefits from specific expertise networks which, by bringing together cross-expertise in different fields, enable the development of teaching, research and cutting-edge services.

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