30 Dec 2020

Our Rector Prof. Dr. İsmail Koyuncu Declared 2021 “Breakthrough Year” for Our University

İTÜ Rector Prof. Dr. İsmail Koyuncu: “2021 will be the breakthrough year for İTÜ”

News: İTÜ Media and Communication Office

Istanbul Technical University Rector Prof. Dr. İsmail Koyuncu expressed that with its experience and knowledge gained from its past, İTÜ will continue to do good works and add value to our country’s education quality and R&D infrastructure in 2021. Koyuncu stated that İTÜ attaches great importance to internationalization in the new period and, therefore, institutionalization has been started and new units were formed and said, “As research universities, we should involve our students more in application and research with research centers and we should incorporate more qualified international students and faculty members into the system. If we can do this, we will be ‘the best’. As İTÜ, we declare 2021 the breakthrough year. Hopefully, 2021 will be a breakthrough year for İTÜ in terms of education, R&D, institutional restructuring, and international relations!”

A great and strong institution heading toward its 250th year: İTÜ

Making a general assessment of 2020, İTÜ Rector Prof. Dr. İsmail Koyuncu expressed that even though it was a pandemic period, this was a year full of academic and cultural achievements for İTÜ: “We left 2020 behind… In the online education period, nearly 600 thousand sessions were held and 107 thousand courses were taught online. İTÜ’s total number of students is 36,442; 10,457 are graduate students, 25,985 are undergraduate students. Also, we are a big family with 1,127 faculty members, 932 research assistants, 430 instructors, 2,137 administrative staff and around 172 thousand graduates. In our university that pursues education and research activities in 5 campuses in Istanbul and TRNC campus, we have 13 faculties, 6 institutes, 36 application and research centers as well as Turkish Music State Conservatory and School of Foreign Languages. In all these units, there are 69 doctoral programs, 123 master’s programs and 99 undergraduate programs.

İTÜ will be a pioneer in “digital transformation” among universities

Prof. Dr. İsmail Koyuncu expressed that, after taking over the office of rector, they contemplated how they could serve İTÜ better institutionally and made some additions to the current administrative units for this purpose. Rector Koyuncu proceeded as follows: “We have established a Vice-Rector office responsible for international relations and created its sub-units. We established the digital transformation office. With this project we call “Digital İTÜ” that includes smart education, smart research, smart campus, smart governance, smart interaction, smart management, we thought about how we can transfer all institutional internal processes to digital environment and thus manage the university more easily and independently of individuals. In the next 6-7 months, we will have the first results of this. Here, all the sub-working units were determined. Hopefully İTÜ will soon be a pioneer in digital transformation among universities. We are very ambitious in this. Our Communications Directorate has adopted a very powerful, interactive and result-oriented method of communication with our students, graduates and other stakeholders.”

Improvements to education, research and social facilities

“Improvements and updates are constantly required in campus life. Therefore, we plan to put new units into operation in our campus. Student Affairs Additional Block will start service at the end of February. We are moving our School of Foreign Languages to our Ayazağa Campus. It will be built at a point easily accessible to all campus locations as a complex containing a 750 person-capacity conference hall, student club spaces, psychological counseling center, classrooms and lecture halls. Besides that, construction of Library Additional Block, Faculty of Aeronautics and Astronautics Additional Building, Faculty of Business Building and Lodgings will be completed until the end of 2022. New student dormitories are also among other projects.

A central building is being built for the transformation of risky buildings in our campus. The structure planned as New Central Classroom C will meet all the needs of a faculty building. The transformation will be realized by moving those that require renewal into this building one by one. Student Design and Prototype Center is being built for our student teams that achieve degrees in national and international competitions and contribute to our technological infrastructure with their work. Thus, a safe environment where our student teams can implement their workshops and that meets their needs will be provided. We are preparing very convenient environments for our student teams to carry out their studies here.”

Sustainable campuses: Green campus

“We plan to carry out studies for renewable energy and to complete them in one year. At first step, 1 MWh electricity will be generated. 1/5 of the consumption in Ayazağa Campus will be provided from renewable resources (solar). Our university took the 1st place in Turkey, 37th place in Europe and 71st place in the world in UI GreenMetric rankings which evaluates academic campuses in terms of green area ratio and sustainability. İTÜ is the only Turkish university that is in the first 100 of the world ranking. In the upcoming period, we plan to focus more on renewable and sustainable projects. For example, we will turn approximately one tone of organic waste created every day into compost and use that produced organic fertilizer in our own gardens. In addition, we will implement Rainwater Harvest project. This way we will use rainwater more efficiently. All the buildings will collect the water from their own roof. A cistern of 300 cubic meters was made at İTÜ Mosque for the first implementation. We will treat the waste water of our buildings close to the pond and feed our pond with this water. Again in terms of sustainability, we plan to make in-campus transportation easier with autonomous vehicles.”

İTÜ: A research university

“As for our plans in terms of R&D, we aim to utilize our research infrastructure effectively, develop projects with high added-value that will bring our university to the fore in international competition, establishing Centers of Excellence oriented toward large-scale product, system or subsystem development and increase our academy-public-industry cooperations with interdisciplinary projects in thematic fields. There are over 500 laboratories in our university. Combining them under thematic centers will be one of our most important projects. We have also started working on this.”

Five new Centers of Excellence will be established

“Laboratory equipment sharing system will be implemented and five new Centers of Excellence will be established: Center of Excellence for Advanced Vehicle Technologies, Center of Excellence for Nuclear and New Energy Technologies, Center of Excellence for Smart Cities and Sustainability, Center of Excellence for 6G Communications and Mobile Device Technologies, Center of Excellence for Advanced Materials Technologies. We will conduct all our R&D and innovation work through these centers.”

New R&D collaborations

Prof. Dr. İsmail Koyuncu said that since İTÜ is a research university, it is always open to new collaborations and aims to increase its cooperations further from now on. Koyuncu also said, “We are conducting work with many institutions within existing relations. Within the framework of our collaboration with the Turkish Space Agency, TSA Space Command and Control Center will be established in İTÜ. İTÜ will be joining the first phase of the Turkish Space Program. With İTÜ – SAHA Istanbul cooperation, we are carrying out studies toward project collaborations for product, system and subsystem development, testing and joint use of infrastructures. Recently we signed a protocol with Turkish State Railways Directorate General (TCDD) for making joint studies on transportation and safety.”

Applied and integrated undergraduate and master’s program

“We are initiating applied and integrated undergraduate and master’s programs in order to strengthen our education activities. I believe that this new project will carry our university to a higher level. This program includes a 10-month industrial internship. Hybrid education is now indispensible for us. Graduate Institute has been established in order to gather our institutes where master’s and doctoral education are given under a single roof. Students in all institutes are gathered here. This way application unity and digital process management were achieved. Career Center and Central Internship Unit were merged; they will continue to serve as Career and Internship Center in the new structure. Open source exam applications were made on İTÜ servers by creating an open source exam platform for distance education. Improvements were made to protection of personal data and information security. Our Department of Information Technologies is working on a new generation student information system. First phase tests started. We aim to complete the development phases in June 2021. ABET Accreditation applications will be made again for 25 undergraduate programs. ABET application will be made for Mathematical Engineering undergraduate program for the first time.”

İTÜ is in EELISA European University

“Internationalization activities will be accelerated. We participate in EELISA European University. We established a coordinatorship for rankings. The coordinatorship will perform creation of dashboard for international, ranking-oriented data, applications to THE Impact Rankings 2021 under all main headings, studies for use of Altmetrics, studies for ORC-ID Integration, standardization for WoS and Scopus indexed publications and verification of WoS and Publons indexed publications.”

İTÜ’s 250th Anniversary activities

“We started preparations for our 250th Anniversary … 2023, the 100th anniversary of the foundation of our Republic, will be our university’s 250th anniversary as well. We have already started our preparations for this important date. As we approach our 250th year, we plan to organize symposiums, talks, publications, exhibitions, concerts, sports activities and competitions.”