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Lenka Klimplová

Ph.D. in Social Policy and Social Work

Now working at the Department of Business Administration and Management, Dalarna University, Sweden

Interviewed by Michaela Nespěchalová, December 2023

1. What motivated you to pursue a career in academia and teaching?

In my childhood, I wanted to be a teacher and a writer, and that came true. As an academic, I teach and write, although not fiction, but academic publications.

 2. How has your international experience, such as studying in Sweden as an Erasmus student, influenced your academic and professional perspectives?

Fundamentally. Thanks to the Erasmus internship and the subsequent Erasmus study in Sweden, I got an offer to work at a Swedish university (Dalarna University). The Swedish academic environment is different from the Czech one in many respects, especially in the emphasis on seminar culture and active involvement of students during the entire course of study. This has greatly influenced my pedagogical perspective and the methods I use in my teaching.

3. Looking back, what are you most proud of in your academic and professional journey?

I am proud of that despite many challenges I completed my PhD studies. I also take pride in writing up and coordinating a successful research collaboration project titled “Active Matching: Strategic Support of Labour Market Counselling”. This project involved a collaborative effort between a team from FSS MU and the Swedish and Czech Employment Offices. Its aim was to assess the feasibility of integrating a Swedish methodology for monitoring, analyzing qualification needs, and forecasting the development of the regional labor market into the Czech institutional settings.

Moreover, I am pleased to have established myself within the Swedish academic landscape and was honored with the title "Distinguished University Teacher" in 2020.

4. Reflecting on your doctoral studies in Social Policy and Social Work, how did the program prepare you for your subsequent academic and professional journey?

Doctoral studies helped me to develop my research skills, including critical thinking, communication and writing skills. The program also provided me with opportunities for presenting my research at various conferences which was very valuable. However, comparing to doctoral studies at Swedish universities, I missed more obligatory courses in philosophy of science and various research methods.

5. As an alumna of Masaryk University, how do you stay connected with the university community and contribute to the academic environment?

I follow Masaryk University and Department of Social Policy and Social Work (SPSW) on social media channels.

In October 2023, I visited the FSS MU as an Erasmus guest lecturer, delivering presentations on knowledge management to Bachelor’s and Master’s students enrolled in Human Resource Management courses. Additionally, I facilitated a workshop for teachers within the SPSW department, fostering an exchange of best practices regarding implementation of AI tools (ChatGPT) within educational context. It was after long six years not being at the FSS, and it was super nice to meet all my former colleagues and catch up.

6. Looking back at your academic journey from Bachelor's to Ph.D., what advice would you give to current students pursuing degrees in sociology or related fields?

My advice is to take all opportunities in which you can exchange and discuss your ideas and knowledge with your peer students and teachers and learn from feedback you receive. Giving and receiving critical but constructive feedback is one of the essential skills you learn on your academic journey.

7. Are there specific aspects of your academic journey at Masaryk University that continue to inspire your research and teaching practices today?

I was very inspired by my professors, prof. Mareš, prof. Rabušic, prof. Keller, prof. Možný (all sociology), prof. Sirovátka, prof. Musil and my Phd. thesis’s supervisor doc. Winkler (all social policy and social work). All of them contributed to and inspired my professional journey and development in some way. The saying of prof. Rabušic “even zero is the result” I continue to say to my students in all research methods course I teach.


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