In view of the fact that social changes had put too much emphasis on utilitarian values and ignored the importance of humanistic cultural development, the educational authorities founded the National Open University (NOU) in 1986. The Department of Humanities, one of the first three departments founded, is tasked with enriching students’ life and expanding their perspective of life through the nurturing of humanities. In addition, students are expected to shapint up the appropriate philosophy and attitude towards life through the knowledge and practice of humanities. Under the planning and promotion of the department heads and the faculty, a solid foundation has been laid for teaching, researching, and facilitating students’ learning. At the same time, the department is constantly improvising for the coping strategies for the ever changing environment.
From 1986 to 1993, the beginning of the Department of Humanities was composed of six programs : literature, history, philosophy, arts, journalism & communication, and others. From 1994 to 1999, the six programs were changed to literature, history, philosophy, journalism & communication, library science, and arts. Due to the needs of the society at the time, the program of library science was formally established. From 2000 to 2003, in line with changes in the faculty members and the external environment, the programs were once again adjusted into four : literature and art, history, religion and philosophy, communication and library information so that resources can be more efficiently used for course production.
To meet the university’s policy, the foreign language program, formerly in the department of General Studies, was integrated into the Department of Humanities in 2003. From 2004 to 2007, in addition to the original four programs, the Department of Humanities added foreign languages, but the total number of courses of foreign languages was limited to 20 credits. From 2008 to 2011, the department basically maintained the curriculum arrangement, but , at the same time, implemented a few changes: the arts curriculum was moved to the religion and philosophy program in 2008; the recommendation of lifting limits on the number of courses from foreign languages was approved in the 3rd departmental general assembly in the 2nd semester of 2007, which was later proposed in the 4th curriculum planning meeting of the university in the 2nd semester of 2007, and was finally approved in the 1st curriculum planning meeting in the 1st semester of 2008. The rationale of these adjustments during the period was to anticipate the coming changes in faculty structure as well as student demands. Consequently, a few adjustments were adopted: (1) the foreign languages program was given greater latitude to enrich the department curriculum structure. (2) the library and information science courses would morph gradually out of a professional tract; (3) the six programs each should develop an integrated curriculum structure so that students can obtain enough credits for graduation in any single program in four years. These adjustments correspond to the policy of the university: to satisfy both the needs of higher learning education and lifelong learning education, as well as to meet the diverse needs of students.
Starting from academic year 2014, this department entered a tidal wave of retirement, while the university was encountering severe financial challenges. Notwithstanding, the Higher Education Evaluation and Accreditation was scheduled to evaluate this department on Oct. 2016. Therefore, this department initiated a revision of the process and rules for screening incoming candidates for faculty, putting much emphasis on excellent performance on research. Through this rigorous process, new faculty will be able to outshine the tasks they will be facing. One new teacher was recruited in academic year 2014 and 2015 respectively. Their outstanding performances in research helped lifted the overall research performance of this department and contributed, in no small part, to the smooth passage of evaluation.
This retirement tidal wave will end by 2021. By then, this department will have a brand new outlook of faculty structure.
At present, the department has sixprograms: literature, history, religion and philosophy, communication, arts, and foreign languages. The other two-credit programs are offered in the "Cultural and Innovative Industries" and "Religions."
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