The Joint University Council for Social Studies (JUCSS) was founded in April 1918 as part of ‘post war reconstruction’. Various kinds of relief work during the war had given a stimulus to the need for social studies training. Alongside this the provision of welfare workers in factories had increased during the war and part of their training included programmes of social studies. The aim was of the JUCSS was 'the co-ordination and development of the work of social study departments in Great Britain and Ireland' (JUCSS: 3). It was a body financed by the universities themselves, with the object of developing and coordinating the work of the new social studies departments. It came after a Home Office conference the previous year on social training. The first report of the JUC, written by Mr St. G. Heath, writes about ‘Social Study’ as follows:
“In the etymological sense of the term it has been pursued for generations as a part or an aspect of Philosophy, Law and History, and Economics. The forms of social activity concerned with the functions and methods of the State have more recently been introduced into the Universities in systematized courses commonly called Political Science or Public Administration. But Social Study as the term is now used differs from all these in spirit, in method, and in purpose. In spirit because it is distinctly and continuously conscious of the close interconnection of all and several sides of human life in society. In method because the formal academic instruction is closely associated with ‘practical work’ outside the Universities by which is meant the acquiring of first hand knowledge of social conditions and of personal experience in the working of social institutions. In purpose because it invites students who intend to devote themselves to ‘social work’, whether as officials of public bodies or organizations, as members of local authorities or as public spirited citizens” (quoted in Macadam (1945) p20).
Elizabeth Macadam was secretary from 1919.
In 1935, the council enlarged its membership to include teachers of Public Administration and became the JUC for Social Studies and Public Administration. By 1955, two separate committees within the council were set up in parallel - the Social Administration Committee and a Public Administration Committee – and the council changed its name, to become the Joint University Council for Social and Public Administration. The committees did most of the work and the council became largely formal in character. A third major sub-committee was added in 1976 – the Social Work Education Committee.
The council’s purpose has been to develop and coordinate the work of higher education institutions in the three subject fields of public administration, social policy and social work, discussing contents of curricula, resources, standards in teaching and research etc. It has also supported research activities including workshops and conferences.
The records were deposited in the Modern Records Centre at the University of Warwick in 1992.
For current information about JUC SWEC, its structure, committees and work, check out its website.
For more information on its history, read Chapman, Richard A. (2007) 'The Origins of the Joint University Council and the Background to Public Policy and Administration', Public Policy and Administration Vol 22, Issue 1, pp. 7 - 26 First published date: August-18-2016 10.1177/0952076707071500
Source: Records of the Joint University Council for Social and Public Administration, University of Warwick, http://modernrecords.warwick.ac.uk); JUCSS (n.d.), A Survey of Work During the Years 1918-1935; University of Chester, Riverside Museum.