Matthies Aila-Leena, professori/Professor

Sosiaalitieteen yksikönjohtaja/head of the Social Sciences units
Matthies Aila-Leena, professori/Professor
Puhelinnumero:
+358 40 7422 199
Huone:
344

Biography
I studied at the University of Jyväskylä from 1978 to 1984 in the master’s degree programme of social environment and social work planning and wrote my thesis about alternative social work. At the end of my studies, I worked as a substitute social worker in Jyväskylä. From 1985 to 1996, I was a researcher funded by the Academy of Finland and a lecturer of social work in the Department of Social Policy at JYU. I completed my licentiate degree in 1991 and received a PhD in December 1994. I was appointed to docent in 1998. During my years at the main campus of the University of Jyväskylä, I had two 12-month grant researcher periods at the universities of Kassel and Bremen, Germany (DAAD 1995–1996, the EU’s Human Capital and Mobility programme 1995). From 1996 to 2007, I was a professor at the University of Applied Sciences of Magdeburg, Germany. From there I moved to Kokkola to work as the head of master’s degree education in social work. In 2016, I spent three months at the University of Durham, UK, funded by the EU’s COFUND Senior Fellowship. I am a member of the Executive Committee of the European Association of Schools of Social Work, an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Social Welfare, a vice member of the SosNet board and a vice member of the grant division of STEA (Funding Centre for Social Welfare and Health Organisations).

Orcid ID http://orcid.org/0000-0001-5758-4869

Recent Publications
Matthies, A-L, Närhi, K. & Kokkonen, T. (2018) The Promise and Deception of Participation in Welfare Services for Unemployed Young People. Critical Social Work 19, (2), 2 – 20.
Närhi, K. & Matthies, A-L. (2018) The ecosocial approach in social work as a framework for structural social work. International Social Work July 61 (4), pp.490-502.

Research Areas
My research interests are built around three central themes. Since my master’s thesis I have been interested in citizens’ own participation and communities, i.e. the research of informal or third sector as well as citizens’ participation and service user involvement. Consequently, I am involved in developing approaches of professional social work, which search for equal collaboration with service users, citizens and local communities. I have had the opportunity to co-create and research different community work models in urban and rural contexts. This includes structural social work and the development of social work with adults to more participatory settings. My third long-term research orientation focuses on ecosocial approach in social work, that is, linking social work to environmental and sustainability issues. All these research themes of mine are based on great practice-research teams and international networks.

Teaching
Currently my teaching is mainly focussing on doctoral studies and the supervision of 9 doctoral students. I also assess master’s theses and participate in the planning and development of our bachelor’s and master’s courses of Social Work. I am an external evaluator of the international Advanced Social Work master’s degree programme coordinated by the University of Lincoln and Aalborg University. In addition, I teach in a national programme of specialisation studies in structural social work. The programme is established by SosNet, coordinated by the University of Jyväskylä and led by Professor Kati Närhi.

Current Research Project
ECOSOS: We have launched the concept of ecosocial innovations and investigate its practical implementations in five countries. We are also interested in how social work and the social security system can support activities that may be forerunners of a transition towards an ecologically, socially and economically sustainable society.

PROSOS: The purpose of our sub-project in this national-wide development project is to contribute essentially to the development of knowledge-based social work with adults. This work takes place in a co-creation between experience-based knowledge of the service users, the professional knowledge of social workers and the researcher-based knowledge of researchers in Vaasa, Pietarsaari and Central Ostrobothnia (Soite) in cooperation with municipal agencies.