50 years of Social Work education

(1970 – 2020)

Since we began teaching social work as what was then Birmingham Polytechnic in 1970, our mission has been to provide the highest quality student-centred education using the latest technology and advances in evidence-informed teaching and learning methodologies. Working in partnership with employers, practitioners, citizens who are ‘experts by experience’, our students and other professionals, we know that we are stronger together and aim to continue to make a difference and to transform people’s futures in our society.

To celebrate our journey so far we are hosting seven main events during the 2021-22 academic year. We look forward to meeting many of you as we celebrate our students and alumni, the efforts of all those who have worked here, and friends who have supported us over the last half century.

To be notified when booking for events is open, please email albert.moylan@bcu.ac.uk or sally.andrews@bcu.ac.uk advising which event(s) you are interested in.

  • Image of students chatting

    50th Anniversary Celebrations: Launch

    Wednesday 20 October 2021, 11am - 1pm

    Join us for an overview of our programmed events for the year ahead, plus a keynote address from Professor Mark Doel. Mark will reflect on teaching social work at University of Central England (as we were known then) in the 1990s and early 2000s when he was Head of School, as well as providing a postmodern view of social work and its purpose.

    Watch launch
  • Research conference: Launch of SWEPP

    Wednesday 10 November 2021, 1 - 5pm

    This online event will launch our Social Work Education, Policy and Practice Group (SWEPP). Core members of SWEPP will discuss their research interests and explain how you could be involved. Some of our international partner universities will join the celebrations and contribute to what is sure to be a thought-provoking day.

    About SWEPP
  • Our history: talk and exhibition

    11 March 2022, 12noon - 2pm

    This commemorative event features a short history of our involvement with social work education (1970 to 2020) and the opening of our exhibition. You'll hear the authentic voices of social work students and teachers from the past five decades plus a presentation from former Head of Social Services in Birmingham, Dr Peter Hay CBE.
    Download the exhibition catalogue.

    Read our history
  • Lived experience: embedding experts in social work education

    Wednesday 9 February 2022, 1 - 3pm

    This is an opportunity to celebrate our many experts by experience who have worked alongside academic tutors in delivering social work education. There will be reflections on how the involvement and participation of people with lived experience of social work in social work education, has developed over time. Expect fun and food!

    EbE poems
  • Stronger together: alumni event

    Thursday 28 April 2022, 7 - 10pm

    Bringing together former social work students from the past five decades, this event will highlight the voices, stories and achievements of our alumni. There will be food, drinks and the opportunity to network, reminisce, share anecdotes and catch up. We hope the evening will be a springboard for future gatherings and initiatives.

    Event gallery
  • Transforming futures: practice learning

    Friday 24 June 2022, 10am - 3.30pm

    This event pays tribute to our practice educators, practice partners, and our students and staff involved in practice learning. There will be awards for outstanding students, practice educators, employers and tutors and a focus on how our practice learning and practice educator training has developed over time. Feel free to dress to impress!

  • The Social Work Society

    Friday 1 July 2022

    This special event includes a charity walk led by a diverse group of social work students and the Social Work Society. Expect a buoyant and vibrant atmosphere throughout, especially during the final stretch and at the finish line. Remember this party has the potential to continue well beyond that point!

I AM BCU - Social Work Alumni

Victoria Coker

After working as a Nurse, Victoria decided to return to university to study Social Work. She thrived on the course, happy to finally do something she was passionate about. After graduating, she worked her way up the ranks in the industry, before returning to BCU to work as a Visiting Lecturer, where she is now inspiring the next generation of Social Workers.

Read in full


After arriving at BCU as a mature student, Simon thrived on the Social Work course and in his work placement opportunities. After graduating, he progressed in his academic career, completing a PhD, and working as a Lecturer in Social Work. Nowadays, Simon is Head of Department of Social Work, Care and Community at Nottingham Trent University.

Read in full

Muhiz Ali

Muhiz was inspired to study Social Work from a young age and arrived at BCU as the first one in his family to attend university. A decade after graduating, Muhiz has excelled in his chosen industry, now working as a qualified and experienced Social Worker in Birmingham, alongside supporting current students in their work placement opportunities.

Read in full