Batuhan Aydagul – Graduate Student International Summer Research or Residency Award Recipient

Higher Education Governance in Turkey: Insights from Field Research

Mural at Istanbul University: Don't Be Afraid to Speak the Truth by Ataturk

The International Summer Research or Residency Award played a pivotal role in facilitating my field research in Turkey during the summer of 2023, a crucial component of my dissertation project. Throughout this period, I conducted interviews in both Istanbul and Ankara, immersing myself in the historical ambiance of Istanbul University’s main campus. Notably, my face-to-face interviews included high-profile officials such as former ministers of national education, presidential advisors, former rectors, and scholars well-versed in higher education governance. During my time in Ankara, I also with the chair of the Education Commission at the Turkish Grand National Assembly.

This field research significantly influenced the early stages of my dissertation project. The interviews not only bolstered my confidence in the feasibility of my research but also provided invaluable feedback for refining my research design. Equally important was the promise of establishing connections with potential future participants. Delving into recent developments in higher education governance, particularly the transformation of power relations in rector appointments, was a key aspect of my inquiry. The insights gleaned from my participants have been instrumental in identifying policy changes that will guide the trajectory of my research.

Batuhan Aydagul at the Turkey Grand National Assembly

A noteworthy component of the research involved a site visit to Istanbul University, where I made insightful observations about artifacts and had the opportunity to meet with faculty members. These experiences enriched my understanding of the academic landscape and provided a nuanced perspective that will contribute significantly to my research.

As a direct outcome of the summer research, I completed an application for the NAED/Spencer Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship for the academic year 2024–2025. Furthermore, a paper proposal incorporating findings from my research has been accepted for presentation at the Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference in 2024. Anticipating further progress, I eagerly look forward to continuing my research during the upcoming Winter Break.