Positioning of our department
Positioning is a difficult issue that any profession, organization and individual has to face. How does the field of social work position itself among various other service oriented occupations? How does the Department of Social Work position itself among other departments within Tunghai? Department faculty also have consider how to position themselves in our department, in our school, and within their profession.
A large majority of faculty members have a primary self position of ‘being a competent educator’, by doing their jobs well and leading students effectively into social work related professions. Full-time faculty have such a strong common consensus on this issue, and they are very active and enthusiastic in both teaching and assisting students. This attitude has helped create a sense of coherence in our department, and has allowed faculty and students to maintain very good interaction with each other.
Our department has continuously maintained its position within Taiwan’s social work field throughout all levels of education. As the earliest established social work department in Taiwan, many newer social work or related departments will look to us as an example. Throughout many years, we emphasis:
- Relationships between faculty and students
- Students’ opportunities after graduation
As our faculty has been very diligent in maintaining these values, our department has established a good reputation and continues to influence Taiwan’s field of social work. We are proud to say that the Department of Social Work at Tunghai University has cultivated a great number of people whose professional abilities contributed greatly to the rapid development of Taiwanese society in the past few decades.
Of course, choosing to position ourselves this way makes it impossible to situate ourselves in other important positions. Examples of other positions include engaging in further research, expanding our relationships with new academic groups, more actively joining or advocating social issues, further involvement of social policy formulation, etc. Our current position has caused our department’s academic research to be below a level we would like it to be. We would like to interact more with the outside world and to become more involved with social issues and public policies. If Tunghai University allowed our department to hire more faculty and give them and our postgraduate students more time, we would be able to contribute more. Due to a variety of limitations, maintaining our position is not easy. In order to break through our barrier, our department will need more human resources, physical space and financial support.
Furthermore, we are a private university, not a public university; we’re in Taichung, not in Taipei; students we can enroll into our program aren’t the best; our university has a total of 33 departments, so the resources and space available to us are limited. These are all real problems we face. As our faculty members are burdened with academic responsibilities, it’s not easy to maintain our current situation, which will ultimately affect our ability to contribute more to society.