Dr Niina Manninen


I am a senior lecturer in social work. My main responsibility in our department is teaching in Working with Children and Young People: Social Pedagogy course. I am teaching modules such as: Working with Children and Young People: Professional Roles and Contexts and I am supervising Research in Practice - Capstone Projects. I am a personal tutor to our students in Social Pedagogy course and a year 6 leader. I am a member of the SPPA and a qualified social care worker.

I have worked in social insurance sector and in higher education and research in Finland. In Helsinki, I taught social services students for almost ten years. The curriculum of these social services studies was based on social pedagogy.

My teaching expertise lies particularly in social exclusion and social participation related processes and phenomena, in Scandinavian social policy and in life purpose in social care work. My research interests include ethically sensitive and strengths based social care work, promoting social work and social care students' self-knowledge and emotional intelligence, and supporting people's holistic wellbeing, life purpose and social responsibility by means of social pedagogy.

Academic responsibilities

Senior Lecturer in Social Work


  • Doctor of Philosophy (Education)
  • Master of Arts (Education)
  • BA (Hons) in Education
  • BA (Hons) in Social Care


I defended my interdisciplinary PhD thesis on Social services students' education and purposes in life at the University of Helsinki in May 2019. I have also studied social services students' learning in service within the framework of social pedagogy. I have worked as a researcher at the University of Helsinki (paid doctoral student position) and at Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences. At Haaga-Helia I was responsible for studying student selection procedures for vocational teacher education in Finland. The study was financed by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture. The full list of my publications can be found online at: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1675-3168

Manninen, N., Kuusisto, E., & Tirri, K. (2019). Finnish social services students' perceptions of purpose and helping unknown others. International Journal of Social Pedagogy, 8(1), 1-13. doi: 10.14324/111.444.ijsp.2019.v8.1.001.

Manninen, N., Kuusisto, E., & Tirri, K. (2018). Life goals of Finnish social services students. Journal of Moral Education, 47(2), 175-185. doi: 10.1080/03057240.2017.1415871

Manninen, N., Kuusisto, E., & Tirri, K. (2018). What field education experiences do social services students regard as meaningful? Sosiaalipedagoginen aikakauskirja,19, 43-57.

Manninen, N. (2015). Service learning and social pedagogy – Discussing the KAMU service learning program. European Journal of Social Education (26/27), 55–75.