Message from the Department Head
Welcome to our department's official website. Your presence here signifies a profound interest in the philosophical, psychological, social, and cultural dimensions of life and death. It may reflect a desire to explore the complexities of existence, confront the challenges of loss and sorrow, or even a profound aspiration to contribute to the fields of end-of-life care, suicide prevention, grief counseling, and medical consultation. Some may be contemplating a career as a facilitator of dignified farewells, a ritualist, or a counselor dedicated to supporting vulnerable communities in their daily lives and employment. Your engagement with our website opens the door to the possibility of becoming a valued member of our departmental community.
Our department has its roots in the establishment of the "Thanatology and Counseling Research Institute" in 2001, a time when Taiwan experienced the devastating 921 earthquake. This event prompted the education sector to emphasize the importance of life education, death education, and grief counseling in the face of immense tragedy and the need for psychological recovery. As our university is grounded in nursing education, we had already incorporated "Thanatology" as a mandatory course in the general education curriculum. This laid the groundwork for the subsequent creation of the "Thanatology and Counseling Research Institute." Over the following decade, professors such as Dr. Chi-Yun Lin, Dr. Haunn-Tarng Tseng, Dr. Yu-Chan Li, and Associate Professor Shu-Sum Ng collaborated to establish the academic and practical foundations of our department in the fields of thanatology and grief counseling. During this period, we organized numerous international academic conferences, invited renowned experts and scholars from around the world, and championed the development of professional competencies in end-of-life care, suicide prevention, and grief counseling. This marked a significant milestone in advancing grief counseling within higher education in Taiwan. Simultaneously, we established our department's unique "Health and Grief Counseling Center" and inaugurated Taiwan's first "Grief Healing Garden."
The undergraduate program of our department was established in 2011 and merged with the institute in 2014, becoming the "Department of Thanatology and Health Counseling." We are the only national polytechnic institution in Taiwan that focuses on training professionals in the areas of "thanatology" and "counseling" within the context of health care. Since the establishment of the department, we have added more faculty members specializing in psychological counseling. From the academic year 2012 to 2022, we have recruited nine full-time faculty members in chronological order: Professor Pei-Yi Li, Professor Chuan-Yung Huang, Assistant Professor Ming-Lee Yeh (transferred from the NTUNHS Department of Nursing), Assistant Professor Li-Yen Kuo, Assistant Professor Wen-Chang Teng, and Assistant Professor Ming-Yu Deng. Currently, we have a full team of faculty members with expertise in academic research and practical experience related to thanatology, such as life education, suicide prevention, funeral rituals, grief counseling, medical health counseling, end-of-life care, art therapy, animal-assisted therapy, career planning, and vocational rehabilitation, among others. Our undergraduate students have graduated over seven cohorts, with many working in the fields of career reintegration counseling and funeral rituals. Others have pursued careers in hospitals, suicide prevention centers, long-term care institutions, placement facilities, community counseling centers, and more, engaging in roles such as psychological counseling, case management, and research assistance. Their outstanding performance and professional service attitude have received recognition from the industry.
I would like to express my special thanks to former department head Professor Haunn-Tarng Tseng,who provided exceptional leadership to our department over six years. In July 2018, under his stewardship, the department successfully underwent a quality assurance accreditation process commissioned by the Foundation for International Quality Assurance for Higher Education Institutions, attaining recognition for both our master's and undergraduate programs. Professor Tseng also solidified our department's expertise in the field of funeral rituals, establishing collaborative agreements with numerous domestic funeral service providers. Moreover, he led our students on internships in Malaysia, fostering meaningful exchanges between our department and institutions such as Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak.
I took on the role of department head on August 1, 2020, and I deeply feel the weight of responsibility. I hope to secure both teaching and resource support for the department and guide our students to delve deeper and wider into the field of psychological counseling. I look forward to seeing our students approach their studies with a humanistic perspective on life and death, making good use of our department's "Health and Grief Counseling Center" and "Grief Healing Garden." Together, let's enhance the professional reputation of our department in the areas of thanatology and grief counseling. I sincerely wish that our students will put down roots and grow upward, becoming knowledgeable individuals who contribute to society, the nation, and the world with their humanistic care and their willingness to help others.