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Turkey, Academic Career Structure

Turkey

 

 

Introduction

The Turkish system of higher education is inspired to both the Anglo-Saxon and European Continental models. Most universities are public foundations funded and controlled by the state.

With the 1981 Law on Higher Education the country began a transition towards a more liberalized and competitive system. Some institutions have opened themselves to foreign researchers. International mobility programmes for students have been introduced. Bilateral and multilateral cooperation between Turkish and foreign research institutions are in place. By 2010, reforms tied to the implementation of the Bologna Process are expected to improve quality control and assurance based on peer review by national agencies.

However, in order to become more competitive and open Turkey will need both to reformulate the legal foundations of its higher education system and decentralise university governance by giving more autonomy to universities. Universities do not have financial and administrative autonomy regarding recruitment in academic and administrative positions. There is also a need to inject more money into the system: investment rate of GNP in R&D is lower than the EU average. Universities are often understaffed, underfunded, and lack adequate infrastructures.

 

Higher Education in Turkey  

Higher education is provided by 82 institutions: 54 are state universities, and 2 public Institutes of Technology; 24 are private universities, and there are 2 Vocational Schools of Higher Education. Of all state universities, 23 were established in 1992.

The Council of Higher Education (YOK), is a fully autonomous national board of trustees without any political or government affiliation which regulates higher education in Turkey. The Inter-university Board (UAK) consists of the rectors of all the universities and one member elected by the Senate of each university.

Universities, faculties, institutes and four-year schools are established by law, while the two-year vocational schools, departments and divisions are established by the Council of Higher Education. The private universities are under the supervision of the YOK and their programmes must be regularly accredited.

The state fixes the number of academic and administrative positions for each university every fiscal year. However, appointments and promotions are made directly by the university on the basis of the mininum requirements set by the Council of Higher Education and the university senate. The law defines the requirements for academic promotions and the procedures that are to be followed when making appointments.

In the universities, the language of instruction is generally Turkish. Some universities use English, French and German as the language of instruction with one preparatory year.

 

Career Curriculum

The 1981 Law on Higher Education defines positions in the academia. The basic structure of staff employment is determined by the Civil Servant Law n. 657 of 1965. The law distinguishes between two categories:

Teaching staff members:

Ancillary staff, including research assistants
Lecturer
Instructor

Teaching faculty members:

Assistant Professor
Associate Professor
Professor

 

Requirements for Positions

The career advancement for teaching faculty members is regulated by the Civil Servant Law. This law also sets the general parameters for career development of teaching staff members, which is then decided by individual universities that employ them.

To obtain a position among those included in the teaching faculty members you must have obtained your Ph.D.

The positions of both associate professor and professor are awarded by the UAK and the YOK. In order to become associate professor or professor, a candidate needs to have a good evaluation/report and pass an oral and/or practical exam by a jury of three to five experts in a given discipline (not sure it is the same for all disciplines).

To meet international standards of quality, the criteria to earn academic degrees and titles were recently amended to incorporate scientific publications in highly ranked academic journals. A centralised language proficiency test was also established.

Dismissal is very rare, and occurs only in cases of proven plagiarism: the YOK takes the first decision, followed by a legislative procedure.

 

Research Career

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Barriers to Career Advancement

The Turkish system is becoming increasingly meritocratic. There is a wide perception that competitions for academic positions are not decided thorugh informal agreements but won on the ground of one's academic record and portfolio.

 

Job Security

In public universities, full-time teaching staff and faculty members have civil servant positions. Assistant professorships are temporary positions. Professors and Associate Professors have tenure.

Private institutions usually function by calling part-time teaching staff members in public universities to work with them. However, private universities can also hire full-time teaching staff, with a different social insurance mechanism but the same career development structure. In general, provate universities do not offer permanent positions.

 

Contracts and Duties

Teaching, research and administrative duties vary from one position to another. With respect to teaching staff members, higher education institutions are free to fix the amount and type of teaching. The load of teaching hours is 12-plus per week. Academic staff members are supposed to get involved also in research, thesis supervision and eventually administration.

With respect to teaching faculty members, their teaching load is fixed by and varies from one position to another. Staff members with an academic title usually teach less than those without. As an Assistant Professor in Turkey you may expect a contracted worload of six hours of teaching to undergraduates per week and some other time (2-3 hours) to be dedicated to teaching to graduate students and thesis supervision.

Due to the increase in the number of students and the proliferation of courses the amount of plus hours of teaching per week can reach 30.

The situation in private universities seems different. Although we do not have specific information at the moment, there is a perception that contracts signed with private universities imply less teachig and administrative duties. This may be partly due to the smaller dimension of classes in private universities compared to public ones.

  

Sabbatical Opportunities

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Gross Salaries

Gross monthly salaries levels from 2007

 

 

-StartAverageMax

PhD Candidate

--

--

--

Postdoc

--

--

--

Assistant Professor

--

--

--

Associate Professor

--

--

--

Full Professor

--

--

--

Source:

Private universities offer, on average, better remuneration.

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Number of Existing Positions

 

 

 

 

Number of existing positions (2004)


------All Disciplines

PhD Candidate

--

--

--

Postdoc

--

--

--

Teaching staff members

--

--

47,990

Assistant Professor

--

--

13,266

Associate Professor

--

--

5,121

Full Professors

--

--

10,688

Total

--

--

77,065

 

Source: Mizikaci (2006), 'Higher Education in Turkey', UNESCO

Since 2001, the number of teaching positions in Turkish universities has been growing under the pressure of the expansion of the number of students.

Public universitites employ the overwhelming majority of the academic staff compared to newly established private institutions. The University of Instanbul has by far the biggest teaching staff of the country's universities (2,118), followed by the University of Ankara (1,622).

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Internal Recruitment

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Accessibility for Non-Nationals

Turkish universities are relatively open to foreign researchers. Both public and private universities recruit non-Turkish staff. Among universities with a clear international profile there are the universities of Bogazici (Istanbul) and the Middle East Technical University (Ankara), which are both public. Among private universities there are those of Sabanci, Koc and Bilgi (all in Istanbul) and Bilkent (Ankara).

Language is not a major obstacle to access. There are universities and departments within universities whose language of instruction is English or where English is the most common language. Some private universities were established as English-speaking universities, and they are now trying to compete with public universities to attract top international academic staff and researchers. There are also research institutions who provide teaching in French and German. In all these cases, there is no requirement on the academic staff to learn and teach in Turkish.

 

National Universities

Click here for a complete list of Turkish universities, both public and private.

 

Research Institutions

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Academic Unions

  • Egitim Sen (Egitim ve Bilim Emekcileri Sendikasi) is the union for academics (and the entire education sector)

 

Useful Websites

 

Info for History

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Info for Economics

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Info for Law

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Info for Social and Political Science

  • Turkish Political Science Association

In the area of political science, many jobs are advertised by ISA (International Studies Association) and APSA (American Political Science Association). You need to be a member of APSA to access job offers. As an alternative, you should also contact or send a letter to the department chairs of the university in which you would like to work.

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Postdoctoral Information

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Websites for Job Postings

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Sources

Euroeducation

Mizikaci (2006), 'Higher Education in Turkey', UNESCO.

Bologna Process, National Report 2004-05 on Turkey (.pdf)

 

Special thanks to:

Umut Aydin, MWP Fellow, 2007-08

Page last updated on 28 August 2018