Üniversitelerde Araştırma Odaklı Yönetim Anlayışı: İstanbul Üniversitesi ÖrneğiMahmut Ak, Levent Şahin, Eray Yurtseven
Bu çalışmanın amacı, dünyada araştırma odaklı üniversite felsefesinin gelişiminden yola çıkarak Türkiye’deki araştırma üniversitesi konseptinin İstanbul Üniversitesi özelinde değerlendirilmesidir. İstanbul Üniversitesi’nin Türkiye’nin en köklü ve önemli üniversitelerinden biri olarak YÖK’ün belirlediği araştırma üniversiteleri içerisinde önemli bir paya sahip olması bu çalışmanın önemini ortaya koymaktadır. Çalışmada sırasıyla araştırma ekosistemi ve dünyadaki gelişimi, Türkiye’de YÖK tarafından başlatılan araştırma üniversitesi hamlesi ve son olarak da İstanbul Üniversitesi’nin araştırma üniversiteleri arasında başarılı olmasını sağlayan stratejiler anlatılmıştır. Çalışmada genel olarak literatür taramasına dayalı olarak betimsel bir araştırma yöntemi tercih edilmiştir. Sonuç olarak İstanbul Üniversitesi’nin Türkiye’de araştırma üniversitesi hamlesi başladığından beri bu konuya ilişkin önemli ve özel stratejik kararları aldığı ve bunları planlı ve koordineli bir şekilde uygulamaya koyduğu görülmektedir.
Research-Oriented Management Approach in Universities: The Case of Istanbul UniversityMahmut Ak, Levent Şahin, Eray Yurtseven
The purpose of this study is to evaluate Istanbul University under the concept of a Research University in Turkey, particularly based on the development of research-oriented philosophy. Istanbul University, which is considered one of the deep-rooted and important institutions in the country, is significant in terms of contributing an important share among the research universities determined by the Council of Higher Education (YÖK). The present work sought to explain the research ecosystem and its development around the world, the attempt of Research University by YÖK in Turkey, and finally, the strategies that enable Istanbul University to be successful among research universities. This research followed a descriptive research method related to the findings of the literature review. As a result, it was determined that Istanbul University has taken important and special strategic decisions on the issue since the start of the research university initiative in Turkey, putting this strategy into practice in a planned and coordinated manner.
Since they first appeared on the world stage, universities have continued to play a leading role in the development-oriented ecosystem of countries. Although the existence of universities affects the social system in general, its primary concern and impact is on the “education function,” which is a subsystem of the social system. Universities, which traditionally have carried out training and education functions, scientific research, and social services, have focused on research activities in an effort to support the development of countries, especially after the Second World War. In this context, it is evident that universities, which are seen to have started to produce knowledge, products, services, policies, and programs for the solution of all economic, social, political, cultural, and social problems of countries, have evolved in the direction of adopting a “research-oriented management philosophy.” Undoubtedly, this transformation has not been realized at the same capacity and on the same scale for all universities. While some universities have maintained their preference to prioritize education and training activities, those that are more suitable and sufficient in terms of material and human resources have come to the forefront with their research functions. Research-oriented universities, which are seen to differ from other universities in terms of their mission, vision, and fundamental objectives, strive for excellence, not only in research, but also in other roles and functions. It is recognized that research universities that prioritize interdisciplinary work strive to make a difference with their graduate programs and studies, have a strong strategic planning culture, and do not neglect to fulfill their responsibilities towards society have been predominantly public universities across the world. However, it is also seen that some private universities, especially in Japan and the USA, operate with a research-oriented administration philosophy.
Stakeholder relations and sustainability of the process are very important in the research university ecosystem. In this regard, research assistants and graduate students work in harmony to create a strong research culture, use funding sources effectively, and establish powerful productivity-oriented institutional collaborations with the business world. In ensuring the sustainability of the process, the continuity of workshops, research seminars, academic and library information systems, open research forums, journals and books are of great importance. The research-oriented university philosophy became evident in Turkey in 2017 within the scope of the “Mission Differentiation and Specialization” project of the Council of Higher Education (YÖK). The process started with the identification of 11 noble and five candidate research universities. At this point, research capacity is monitored with 33 performance indicators under the headings of research quality, interaction, and cooperation, with the results now beginning to be announced. Finally, in the public ranking of research universities in 2021, Istanbul University ranked fifth among 20 public universities with a total score of 54.72. This success of Istanbul University, which has followed a rising trend among research universities from 2017 when it was first announced until the last announcement, is appreciated and followed by the entire public, especially by the scientific community. The scope of this article is to strategically examine all aspects of this success of Istanbul University, one of the world’s most well-established and respected higher education institutions. In this framework, this article evaluates the University’s research strategy, institutional research structure, research process cycle and its sustainability, research competencies, and performance monitoring under separate sections.
Istanbul University has directly reflected its research-oriented administration philosophy to its fundamental principles and values. It has preferred to share this effectively with all of its stakeholders, especially the academic staff of the university, at different times and grounds and through appropriate methods. The 2019-2023 Strategic Plan of the University, which is currently in force, has two objectives: 1) to increase the research infrastructure and qualified scientific studies to an internationally competitive level and to ensure their sustainability, and 2) to increase its entrepreneurial and innovative activities and projects that turn into economic and social values. The 40 performance indicators in eight targets under these objectives are directly related to research activities.
Istanbul University fulfills the institutional functioning of research activities through the sub-units it has established. Some of the prominent sub-units in this regard include: Research Oriented Graduate Schools, Istanbul University Technopolis, International Projects Office, 3D Medical and Industrial Design Laboratory, CEOTEKMER Enterprise Center, Teknopark Esenler, and Istanbul University Pharmaceutical Application and Research Center.
The allocation of internal resources to research activities at Istanbul University is carried out through the BAP (Scientific Research Projects) unit. In this scope, it is clearly seen that the budget distribution of research support is based on project type, research area, priority areas, and technical infrastructure development projects. In this respect, it is apparent that the University encourages cooperation with internal/external stakeholders and procurement of external resources in different ways in order to make resource utilization more efficient and effective. It is important to emphasize that the other policy in budget allocations is output-oriented resource utilization. Focusing on project development activities and mechanisms in maximizing the research budget, the University attaches great importance to increasing the number of academic staff and even undergraduate and graduate students that constitute its researcher category. At this point, the dissemination of the project culture and its diffusion to the grassroots is seen as a function of special interest. The University, which attaches special importance to institutional collaborations with the business world, plays an active role in determining the areas of cooperation, the strategic content of the projects that can be produced in these areas, and in identifying the appropriate academic staff. Additionally, it also provides technical and mental support in the later stages of the projects.
Istanbul University devotes special attention to the University’s research competencies and the rankings of national and international academic rating organizations. It also attempts to extend its current situation and future perspectives on these issues to the grassroots. In the “Competency Assessment of Universities by Research Areas,” which was updated and published by Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) in 2021, 160 universities were evaluated within the scope of 130 subresearch areas. In this analysis, Istanbul University demonstrated a high-level performance by ranking first in 60 areas, second in 26 areas, third in 10 areas, and fourth in 11 areas. Considering the results of this analysis, the Council of Higher Education has associated Istanbul University in 16 fields in its 11th Development Plan. Four of them are in the areas of health, two in areas of science/engineering, and six are in areas of social sciences. The University displays particular interest in the areas with which it is associated and pays utmost attention to the development of projects related to these areas.
Istanbul University has achieved great success by being included in the list of all 11 reputable rating organizations that rank the most successful universities in the world. Of these, Istanbul University is the only Turkish University to be ranked in the top 500 of ARWU’s 2022 ranking, which is one of the most recognized lists worldwide. The University has also demonstrated the same success in the CWTS LEIDEN ranking. In the URAP 2022-2023 ranking, which evaluates the academic success of universities in Turkey, Istanbul University ranked third among public universities.