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Prof. Dr. Dorothee Schaffner

Prof. Dr. Dorothee Schaffner

Prof. Dr. Dorothee Schaffner

Undergraduate and postgraduate education and work experience


  • 2002-2007: Doctorate in Educational Sciences, at the Institute of Education, University of Zurich. Thesis Title: "Young Adults between Social welfare and the Labour Market - Biographical Coping with Discontinuous Educational and Employment Careers" (in German)
  • 1999: Lic. phil. Educational Sciences
  • 1990-1999: Studied educational sciences at the University of Zurich with majors in social pedagogy (Prof. Dr. R. Fatke) pedagogical psychology II (Prof. Dr. K. Reusser) and minors in social psychology (Prof. Dr. H. Gutscher/Prof. Dr. R. Hornung) and criminology (Prof. Dr. M. Killias)
  • 1984: Teaching qualification for primary and secondary school, Aargau HPL
  • 1982-1984: Studied education at the Higher School of Education, Aargau HPL
  • Since 2001: Various continuing education courses in qualitative methods of social sciences

Career milestones

  • Since 2008: Professor at the Institute for Studies in Children and Youth Services at the FHNW School of Social Work, with a focus on transitions of young people into gainful employment and independent living
  • 2005 – 2016: Development, joint management of the CAS certificate course “From school to work”, HSA & PH FHNW
  • 2005 – 2007: Research associate at the FHNW School of Social Work, Institute for Studies in Children and Youth Services
  • 2001 – 2005: Research associate at the University of Applied Sciences for Education and Social Work, Basel HPSABB
  • 1998-2001: Freelance work: counselling and conceptual work in the field of lack of qualifications, youth unemployment and gender-specific career choices
  • Since 1994: Motherhood (two daughters, born 1994/1996)
  • 1984-1992: Full-time teacher at lower secondary level in the Canton of Aargau

Main focus

Teaching and Research

  • Child and youth welfare
  • The transition to vocational education and training, gainful employment and independent living under difficult individual and structural conditions (e.g. transition to and from youth welfare institutions) as a major challenge
  • Migration in the context of youth welfare, social welfare and youth unemployment
  • Fields of action of vocational and social integration and the role of social work in the transition system -
  • Professionalisation in the field of vocational integration and transition support
  • Methods of qualitative social research, participatory research, subject-oriented transition research


  • BA 252 "Transition from school to gainful employment and independent living"
  • In the frame of BA 222 “Youth unemployment”
  • MA 4.2 “Qualitative methods in Social Science”
  • MA 09 “Research Workshop”

Development/continuing education/services

  • System, project and concept consulting in the field of career integration
  • Various continuing education courses on theories, procedures, instruments and methods to accompany vocational integration processes (choice of profession theories, coaching in finding a profession):
  • 2005 – 2016: Co-director of the CAS certificate course "From school  to work", from 2017 course lecturer
  • Since 2015: Seminar "Methods to accompany young adults in vocational and work integration".
  • Since 2017: Seminar "Young refugees in vocational integration"

Further information

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