The Social Policy and Social Change programme aims to examine the relationship between government, society and citizens in UK, and how those relationships impact on social policy in important policy areas such as housing, health and the environment. We will trace the birth of the Welfare State and explore how decisions about welfare are made in contemporary UK, and how these decisions may not reflect the diversity in our society. We will explore how the UK welfare state is changing, including the increased role of the voluntary and the private sectors.
There is growing evidence that welfare services are failing to meet the needs of our citizens, particularly the most vulnerable in society. This is underpinning increasing levels of social inequality and exclusion in our society, and persistent disparities in the life chances of people from ethnic minorities, lower socio-economic classes or those with disabilities or mental health problems. Therefore, this programme will look at the different areas of welfare provision, asking questions about how – and why – some individuals and communities are becoming increasingly marginalised. It will ask why UK policy makers have been slow to adopt the sorts of policies needed to maintain the health and wellbeing of local, national and, indeed, global populations. It will also think forward, exploring what policy changes could be designed to enhance social justice and inclusion. The local-global connections are particularly poignant in relation to the issue of sustainability, as the uneven impact that globalisation and climate change are having on the poorest in the UK – and across the globe – is not only an environmental issue but one of social justice. Therefore the programme will focus on how we are connected locally, regionally, nationally and globally and whether theories such as sustainable development and “levelling up” could lead to better outcomes for all groups and individuals within our communities.
We will start with our own lived experiences of the social world and reflect on how social policies impact on our lives. We will engage with contemporary case studies, such as racial discrimination, the mental health crisis and violence against women, and ask how we, as citizens and members of the University community, can bring about the change needed to address these critical issues.
The Social Policy and Social Change course will also encourage you, as learners, to engage with community-based learning, whether that is a school, a voluntary sector organisation, or the local council. These opportunities to gain experience in the ‘real’ world will not only embed your learning, through engaging with the lived experiences of people living with disadvantage and discrimination, but it will also support you to develop skills for the workplace. These community-based experiences are embedded in the course as an accredited part of your learning experience.
Learning about the impact of social policies on individuals and communities, through lectures, workshops and seminars, is an important part of your Social Policy and Social Change studies. However having the opportunity to experience the impact of social policies in the ‘real’ world is something we are committed to in Social Policy and Social Change.
Pedagogic research shows that student learning is greatly enhanced by such ‘hands on’ experience, through placements, volunteering or visits. Therefore the Social Policy and Social Change course offers a range of community-based learning opportunities, through modules such as Advocacy in Action and Volunteering in Action, and through the option to do applied research for a not for profit organisation as part of your independent project (dissertation).
These are some of the applied research projects our students have done in the past:
- A report on the impact of Universal Credit (Citizen’s Advice, Wolverhampton)
- Evaluation of period poverty services provided by Project Give
- Research into decolonising the curriculum for the University
- A music project to support vulnerable women for Goddess Living
- Marketing material for Black Sister’s Network
Community-based learning, whether that is through going to a school, a voluntary sector organisation, or the local council, is an important – and exciting – part of the offer here at University of Wolverhampton. These opportunities will help you gain experience in the ‘real’ world. This will not only embed your learning, through engaging with the lived experiences of people living with disadvantage and discrimination, but it will also support you to develop skills for the workplace. They also contribute to the wellbeing of the local community.
Local employers have told us these community-based learning experiences are valuable for graduates, helping them develop empathy, communication skills and problem-solving skills.