In 2018, the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES) established the Master's Degree in Social Work at the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA) was established on November 13th and the Education Committee of the Graduate Program in Social Work (PPGSS) in October of the same year. On December 21 of the same year, the Public Notice 01/2018 of the PPGSS was published, opening admissions for the Master's degree and allowing the course to start in the first academic semester of 2019. The long-awaited Program was born amid significant changes in Brazil. In this socio-historical context, fast decisions and referrals became political and academic priorities. We have received support from the Institute of Psychology (the academic unit housing PPGSS), the Pro-Dean's Office for Graduate Teaching (PROPG), and other UFBA representations necessary for implementing the course.
Over the history of the Master's Degree in Social Work at UFBA, in the universe of conditions that enabled its creation and the diversity of individual and collective agents who took part in its construction, we highlight two intertwined movements. The first refers to the initiatives that allowed the emergence and consolidation of the undergraduate course in Social Work at UFBA between 2007 and 2016; the second, (better developed from 2013 onward with an increase in the number of professors), strengthened articulations that properly shaped the process for the Master's degree implementation.
The establishment of the Social Work undergraduate degree at UFBA was the result of systematic actions by the group of social workers from the Professor Edgard Santos University Hospital Complex (COM-HUPES/UFBA) to implement the Social Work area in the Multiprofessional Residency Program (a postgraduate internship program) in conjunction with the entities of the category. This degree fulfills an old demand from social workers in Bahia. The Mobilization Commission to implement the Social Work undergraduate degree at UFBA was organized in 2007, amid the favorable scenario of federal universities restructuring promoted by the government. The Commission convened representatives of the Regional Council of Social Work (CRESS/BA), the Federal Council of Social Work (CFESS), and the National Commission of Social Work Students (ENESSO). In May 2008, the aforementioned social agents, guest professors, and the Department of Psychology of the Faculty of Philosophy and Human Sciences constituted a commission to prepare and submit the pedagogical project for the Social Work course to UFBA's undergraduate council, the body responsible for new course approval at the time. The course proposal was approved in August 2008, and the first group of undergraduate students started in the first semester of 2009. We emphasize that the pedagogical project of the course was created in line with the curriculum guidelines of the Brazilian Association of Education and Research in Social Work (ABEPSS), having social issues and work as central points in its professional training. Each stage to implement the course was thoroughly discussed. Also, there were various events where faculty members, students, representatives from CRESS/BA, guest professionals, and consultant professors debated about the pedagogical project and the addition of ethnic-racial transversality and gender issues to the curriculum. This initiative is innovative and attentive to the Brazilian reality and Bahian population. In the terms presented in the Master's degree pedagogical project, this initiative represents one of the main organic links to the undergraduate course. The undergraduate course in Social Work was recognized by the Ministry of Education (MEC) after the on-site visit of the Evaluation Committee on April 24 and 25, 2016. These intensive days of work counted on contributions from students, professors, and members of the course's Structuring Faculty Nucleus (NDE). After the visit, the Commission sent a report with the recommendations to the course, the course's recognition maximum grade (five), and, on September 9, 2016, they released the MEC Ordinance no. 465 course recognition. We would like to highlight that the maximum score in the MEC assessment meant a great incentive to project the Master's degree proposal in 2017.
The second movement is a set of conditions that enabled the creation and implementation of the Master's course. In this sense, we highlight the articulation of the faculty members and their respective projects and activities, foundations for the thematic and pedagogical focuses in the master's area of concentration titled Social Work, Labor, and Human Diversity. The area is divided into two lines of research: 1) Social Issue and Human Diversity; 2) Social Theory, Labor, and Social Work. These lines focus on the debate surrounding Social Work and the socio-historical configurations of the social issue in Brazil, framing expressions such as race and gender/sex determination in the objective and subjective conditions of the working class and its dynamics in contemporary capitalism. In this way, the social issue, social inequalities, labor, and social protection policies in Brazil are analyzed according to the dynamics of dependent capitalism at the global level as well as its national and regional features, and its relational and power structures shaped in the patriarchal, racist and cis-heteronormative domination and oppression which institutes and is instituted by the Modernity project.
The proposal for the Master's degree in Social Work at UFBA follows the criteria established in the CAPES guidelines and the ABEPSS guidelines "Contribuições da ABEPSS para o fortalecimento dos programas de pós-graduação em Serviço Social no Brasil (2015)" (ABEPSS contributions to the strengthening of Brazilian graduate programs in Social Work). This proposal also meets and reaffirms the core purposes in UFBA's Institutional Development Program (PDI) – academic excellence and social commitment. It is a relevant proposal for the advancement of research and professional training, particularly for Social Work professors, having regional and micro-regional impacts in Bahia. In this sense, this initiative fulfills the institution's objectives to expand and qualify Graduate degrees, with the purpose of promoting production and exchange of knowledge in the area.
We aim to participate in the construction of responses to the massive challenges posed by the social issue – the living and working conditions of the majority of the Brazilian population and its sociopolitical consequences, as well as the retroactions given by Brazilian social policies, focusing on regional and micro-regional impacts, notably in areas of activity for social workers. We stress our commitment to unveiling expressions of the social issue (a pivotal element of the Master's) and to the intersectionality of ethnic, racial, gender, and generational issues in the course, reiterating the social commitment proposed in UFBA's PDI to search for more qualified answers regarding the Brazilian and Bahian reality.