MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
Dear Members of the Koç University Community,
It is amazing how much happens in a month . . . November was another one of those incredibly active months both in the world, in Turkey and at Koç University.
On November 10th, we mourned the Founder of our Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who passed away 78 years ago at the very early age of 57, before seeing the full development of his young Republic. When I look back at the time I was 57, and think about the many things I have been a part of since then, I am overwhelmed by a deep feeling of what would have been had he lived longer.
As we end the month of November, we celebrated Teachers Day on the 24th; reminding us all about how lucky we are to be in this noble profession of teaching & learning. We owe so much to those who have taught us and also those who have learned from us, as I really believe the dialog is always two ways, i.e., that we learn as we teach and teach as we learn.
Our institution is a premier research university in Turkey and in our region. One of our primary missions is the creation of new knowledge through scientific research. Our faculty members are expected to be not only good teachers, but also cutting-edge scientists conducting world-class research in their fields.
On 23rd through 24th of November, we visited the European Research Council (ERC) in Brussels, together with the Presidents of Middle East Technical University, Istanbul Technical University, Boğaziçi University, Bilkent University & Sabancı University, as a Turkish delegation headed by the Director General of TUBITAK. We had fruitful discussions about scientific research opportunities over a wide range of areas as well as opportunities for partnerships with other prominent research universities in Europe. The six universities constituting the newly formed Alliance of Turkish Research Universities (ALTRU) currently receive 70% of all Research & Development support in Turkey from Europe, with Koç University being by far the leader, by itself representing 33% of the total.
Interdisciplinary research is particularly underscored by the ERC as being more and more important in this day and age. In this respect, our University is in a unique position because of the diversity of its seven schools, all of which are among the very best in the country. The most recent addition to our portfolio of schools is the Medical School, which constitutes the largest financial investment by far on the part of our Foundation, but which in many ways ‘completes’ our University.
In the next two decades, the most important developments and new advances for the benefit of society will undoubtedly emerge from the overlaps of medicine with other areas, engineering, sciences, social and administrative sciences and law. With an outstanding Medical School and the newly completed Koç University Hospital, we are uniquely positioned to be the leading players in these new developments.
As an institution, we are still growing in terms of hiring new Faculty, completing our departments so that they can all properly support undergraduate and graduate programs and contribute most effectively to our research mission. During my tenure as President, since 2009, we hired no less than a total of 145 new Professoriate Faculty (i.e., Asst., Assoc. or Full Profs.) outside of the Medical and Nursing Schools and 248 of them with those schools also included. Last year, we hired 23 new colleagues as a result of our global Faculty Searches. During this academic year, another 18 Faculty Searches have been authorized and are currently underway.
Full engagement of our growing Medical School, as well as our new Faculty colleagues, requires collegial interactions at a personal level, which were facilitated via informal dinners hosted at our residence on six evenings this month, attended by no less than 250 Faculty and many tens of Administrative Staff members. My wife and I find these dinners very enjoyable, especially when we observe that many people meet one another for the first time during these events.
Also important for us as a research university is our relationship with industry, i.e., the drivers of our economy, employers of our graduates and our potential partners in education and research. In this connection, we celebrated this month the philanthropic contributions of more than 150 companies and individuals, generously supporting 290 students as part of our Anatolian Scholarship program. Company CEOs and Chairpersons of Boards and their spouses met the students in another set of six dinners hosted at our residence, which were truly enjoyable, uplifting and very motivating for the students. This unique program is the best demonstration of well-directed and impactful philanthropy in action in Turkey and gives all of us hope for the future of our country.
I would like to close by congratulating eight of our young faculty members who received the Turkish Academy of Sciences Young Investigator Awards (TUBA-GEBIP) that were announced this month. Our University received 8 out of 31 Awards this year, by far the most of any other university, underscoring once again the excellent standing of our faculty.
My best wishes and regards to you all,