Comprehensive Social Work Curricula
Curricula that both include the requirements of Taiwan’s social work education and those of global social work education are offered for BSW, MSW and Ph.D programs to train and prepare students for various areas of social work practice.
Emphasis on Field Work Practicum
BSW students are required to complete three levels of social work field work practicum. BSW students complete the minimum of five hundred hours of social work field work practicum under supervision upon graduation.
Nurturing and Frequent Interaction among Faculty members and Students
Students are encouraged to talk to faculty members. Several regular meetings that bring faculty members and students together to share thoughts are held in each semester.
Diversity of Faculty Members
We currently have twelve full-time faculty members; eleven of them have Ph.D in Social Work degrees. A large number of experienced social work practitioners with MSW degrees, psychiatrists and lawyers are hired to be sessional teachers.
Balanced Environment for Research and Teaching
Full-time faculty members engage not only in teaching but also in research on social problems. Research topics cover a broad range, including practicum programs, minority group study, social work ethics, women and labor, social policy, welfare organizations, non-profit issues and many others. Grants provided by Taiwan’s National Science Council are often awarded for research done by our faculty. They are often invited to different countries to present their research findings and give speeches on related subjects, which increases the interaction and influence our faculty has upon international academia. Additionally, undergraduate students must take research methods courses and practice writing research reports while master’s and doctorate students have to complete their graduation thesis. These teaching practices allow our graduates to stand out from their peers when pursuing further education and when taking professional exams.
Academic Interaction and Broad Learning Space
In order to promote a broader world view and stimulation of the minds of our students and faculty, our department often invites famous professors from Taiwan and abroad to give speeches on a variety of topics and organizes visits to social work organizations and schools abroad.
In addition to scholastic scholarships, our department offers many other scholarships for students to help them through difficult financial situations.
Balanced Cultivation of Independence and Cooperative Team Spirit
Our department supervises students’ extracurricular activities and practicum to help them develop not only in their studies, but also in their attitude of helping others and coordination cooperative efforts. Our department’s student body holds different activities to enhance student rights and offer volunteer social service in communities near campus.
Strong Relationships with Graduates
We maintain a strong relationship with our graduates by sending them communications. Since the establishment of our department’s Graduate Association in 1989, many meetings and reunion activities had been held. Graduates are often invited to participate in discussion panels to help current students prepare for future employment opportunities and examinations.
Active Participation in Social Services and Non-Profit Activities
Our faculties are constantly involved in evaluating research cases conducted by local and national government and non-profit organizations, and act as professional training lecturers to assist their professional development. Many students volunteer for service in a variety of groups, such as the Children Charity Club, Social Service Group, Volunteer Counselors, and other community service organizations. This relationship between our department and social organizations reflect our concern towards minority groups and overall social welfare.
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.
Whole Picture of Our Department
In order to better understand our department’s situation, let’s evaluate five major points.
The first point is “Departmental goals, features and self-improvement”. Our department’s goals for teaching and student cultivation conforms with Tunghai University’s development plans. We periodically evaluate our performance in these areas to make sure we are proceeding according to the plan. The goals we have set and our students’ core abilities attest to the importance we place on providing our graduates with the necessary tools and knowledge needed for their future. In order to better understand our academic performance, we collect and analyze faculty and student performance data from other schools. With this information, we can more accurately create a framework for development while better understanding unique features of our department.
The second point is “Course design and teaching”. Our department’s committee for course development is responsible for course design, periodic review and revision of course framework and content, and offer students guidance for learning. Our department has sufficiently high-quality faculty, but we lack the space and equipment to adequately supply our instructors and students with the resources they need to do research or hold discussions. This is really a very serious problem for us.
The third point is “Student affairs and study”. Our department encourages students to partake in interscholastic and international educational activities by them offering books, audio-visual tools, multimedia hardware, and informational software to establish an overall high quality learning environment. Our administrative personnel have a positive service oriented attitude and run administrative affairs smoothly. Homeroom teachers actively instruct students in their studies, assist them with any personal issues they have, offer career advice, and work with our department’s student body to ensure it functions normally.
The fourth point is “Research and professional performance”. Generally speaking,our faculty, master’s and doctorate students still have room to improve research of practical social work. The hard work of our doctorate students are apparent in their research presentations and publications, but master’s students need much improvement while still enrolled in our program.
The fifth point is “Post graduation performance”. We provide our students with the professional and common knowledge they will need after graduation to be successful, socially responsible, and ethical. Graduates of our department generally perform well in both pursuit of higher education and obtaining employment. We periodically survey our alumni and individuals in related organizations in order to continually improve the quality of our program and enhance the level of satisfaction of our graduates.
Every committee member in our department has a copy of our organization’s guidelines, which they refer to during meetings and while discussing agenda items. Committee members all do well with their administrative plans and duties. Members of the course planning committee and the intern committee especially excel at establishing and following their specified goals during the planning of elective and required courses. Their firm grasp of the necessary skills and qualities to pass on to our students enable them to set the framework for our department’s yearly curriculum. Our full-time faculty take turns to act as coordinators during students’ internship and hold periodic seminars to discuss and review each stage of the internship program. By reviewing years and years of revisions to our intern program, we have been able to continually update and improve it. Both the level of cooperation and our methodology in this program has allowed us to reach a high standard and establish clear regulations.
In terms of goals, our department has set clear goals and standards for our undergraduate, master’s, and doctorate courses. Every course, seminar and speech are planned out in order to realize our objectives.
Participants in our department consist of faculty members, administrative personnel and students. Our faculty generally have abundant practical experience, many of them have obtained national and international social work or therapist certification and have served as supervisors or consultants in social work associations and non-profit organizations. Most part-time faculty are managing or are involved in social work organizations. Administrative personnel are cordial, familiar with administrative procedures, very active in dealing with their work, and develop close relationships with students. A majority of our students identify strongly with our school, our department, and social work as a profession. Our department’s student government is active and united. Master’s and doctorate students come from a variety of backgrounds, and quite a few are working students, which helps their interaction and exchange of ideas.
In regards to the ability of our faculty members, they have four main tasks – teaching, research, service, and student guidance. Overall, acceptance of our faculty is high due to their abundant experience. Their level of research and service to society varies, but every faculty member is devoted to assisting and guiding students. Many of our department faculties have received outstanding teacher awards.
Environment is an ambiguous concept, so specifically this term is referring to ‘task environment’. Task environment refers to three areas. First, the strengths and people that are involved within an organization. Second, ability to set and reach goals. Third, factors that help or hinder the efforts made by organizations.
The task environments for most university departments include students, organizations both in charge of and who report to the department, competitors, governmental organizations…etc. But it is more complicated for the Department of Social Work because it includes past, present and future students, other departments, social work organizations, governmental organizations, professional organizations…etc. Given this framework, here is the analysis of opportunities and threats our department is facing.
Opportunities after Graduation
In accordance with the Social Workers Registration Ordinance, we strongly encourage and instruct graduates to take exams for social workers certification and other qualifications. By 2008, about 550 graduates have obtained social worker certification. Many graduates act as social worker association supervisors and directors. In addition to social work related exams, our graduates are well prepared for either further education or pursuit of employment opportunities.
Main Career Paths
- Governmental Bureau of Social Affairs personnel (requires public servant qualification).
- Practice as a social worker (requires social worker certification).
- Social workers in public and private social welfare organizations, medical units, enterprise organizations and foundations.
- Managers in human resources of industrial & commercial organizations.
- Managing personnel of non-profit organizations.
- Public relations, marketing and research analysis.
- Undergraduate and master’s program graduates can choose to pursue higher education goals. The percentage of graduating students pursuing higher education is very high.