The Department of Social Work at the Soochow University was established in 1990. Currently, there are an estimated 520 students in the Bachelor of Social Work Program（BSW）and 60 students in the Master of Social Work Program（MSW）. The foci of educational development are characterized by "Action”, "Cooperation”, and "Diversity” . In teaching, the department is well-known for its training. Both teachers and students are respected by social work practitioners in Taiwan for their professional performance.
In 1988, in response to the professional development in social work education, Professor James C. Hsu, the Director of Department of Sociology and the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the time, submitted a proposal for an independent social work department. The Department of Social Work was transformed from the Division of Social Work（1978-1990）and became independent from the Department of Sociology. In 1992, the Master of Social Work program officially became independent from the Division of Social Work in the Graduate School of Sociology in order to improve the specialization of the curricula, to enhance faculty qualification, and to strengthen the profession. Later, the Bachelor of Social Work and the Master of Social Work are united in the Department of Social Work in 1994.
The specialties of our faculty are well-balanced in both the fields of the clinical practice and social welfare policy. In addition, the faculty concentrated their effort to train social work professionals for the purposes of improving social well-being as well as advocating for social diversity and social justice.
In teaching, we emphasize caring for families and stress the promotion of community welfare/services by strengthening the partnership between the academics and the practitioners. The primary features of teaching are:
1.Action-Active Learning : providing students with hypothetical or live situations for practice either through role play or practice in the field to enhance their understanding of social problems. "Learning by Doing” reflects in action on the issues of power, discrimination, and social exclusion. In addition, the students will learn to identify and solve problems while encounter social changes.
2.Teaching Diversity: nurturing students’ integrity of caring for the community and respect for diversity, and emphasize the value of multiculturalism. The curricula include knowledge about the disadvantaged in terms of their particularities and relevant services. Therefore, students develop understanding regarding the inequality in relationship and different needs for social welfare among different genders, ethnicities, social classes, or occupations.
3.Cooperation in Teaching：developing partnerships and expanding connections among teachers/practitioners/government, as well as participation/feedback from service users/care givers/alumni.
In 2010, the Department initiated a revolutionary course "Practicum: Program Management” in social work education with a radical idea to integrate 4 required courses（"Social Environment and Human Behavior”, "Social Work Practicum”, "Social Work Research”, and "Program Design and Evaluation”）. The ideology of this course is "learning by doing”. The course is characterized by 3 features including "action in teaching”, "teaching diversity”, and "cooperation in teaching”. Students actively participate in designing and implementing programs in agencies with guidance from faculties, seasoned senior students, and the agency’s practitioners. This program not only trains students to effectively work together to meet the agency’s various needs, but also promotes interprofessional partnerships and long-term university-agency collaboration.
Each year, the Department holds 22-25 speeches, seminars, conferences, research presentations by teachers/students, and social work forums to improve academic development and the students’ learning effectiveness. All subjects are relevant to social work education, practice issues, and research outcome, and benefit both the teachers and the students for their professional growth.
Our students are active in extracurricular activities, mainly focused on self-organized or off-campus NPOs and NGOs for public services including service volunteers in student congress of the department, development camps for elementary students, winter camps for disabled children, after-school club activities for junior high school students, etc. In addition, our students also hold social work camps for high school students to enhance their understanding of social work profession.
On the other hand, alumni events are held every year with the combination of course teaching and student guidance. An average of 10 alumni every year are invited to give a speech or seminar. In teaching, the Department often invites practitioners to give speech about the issues related to their social work practice with the intention of increasing the students’ understandings for current relevant social welfare policy and services. In student guidance, alumni are invited to share their experiences and opinions about their career planning in terms of personal learning and employment in order to help the students to improve their learning in college. In addition, an alumni reunion is held every academic year. Also, senior and junior alumni regularly participate in forums not only to maintain the relationship among alumni but also to reflect whole environment and personal approach and to break down barriers accordingly.
To further the development, the department is dedicated to fulfilling the following goals: (1) continue to fulfill service action through teaching and research in order to integrate teaching with practice and theory; (2) refer to concentration areas of "family”, "community work and services”, and "policy and management” to gradually establish an information system to enrich relevant teaching materials; (3) continue to build the evaluation mechanism for the students’ learning effectiveness in response to their needs in future careers; (4) actively participate in international academic exchanges and expand academic relationship with both the cross-strait (Taiwan and China) and international societies while affirming the localized social work practice in Taiwan.
English consulting service:
Hsiu-Chen Wu, Secretary of Department
Telephone:886-2-2881-9471 ext. 6342 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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