Volume 11, Number 14        21 December 2004

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ABET Evaluates EEE Department

The Bilkent University EEE Department was evaluated by an ABET (Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology, USA) team October 18 to 20. The team reviewed the quality of students, faculty, program educational objectives, program outcomes and assessment, facilities, and every other aspect of the department's undergraduate program under the new “ABET EC-2000” engineering criteria.
As of 2004, only three electrical and electronics engineering programs in Turkey are recognized as “substantially equivalent” by ABET. One of them is Bilkent University’s Bachelor of Science Program in Electrical and Electronics Engineering, recognized by ABET since 1997.
ABET was established in New York in 1932 as the Engineers’ Council for Professional Development (ECPD), for the purpose of assuring quality and stimulating innovation in engineering and technology education. Now the recognized accreditor for college and university programs worldwide, it consists of a federation of 30 professional and technical societies representing applied science, computing, engineering and technology.
Prof. Dr. Özgür Ulusoy, Acting Dean of the Engineering Faculty, stated: "During the recent visit of the ABET accreditation team to our Electrical and Electronics Engineering Department, every aspect of the department's undergraduate program was reviewed under the new 'ABET EC-2000' criteria. The department was commended for the effectiveness of the program, teaching and research skills of the faculty, and quality of the students. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of the faculty members, students, and staff of the EEE department for this professional level of recognition."
ABET uses the concept of "substantial equivalency" in place of “accreditation” for programs outside the U.S. "Substantial equivalency" is granted to an engineering program for a specific period, usually three to six years, if existing conditions satisfy the engineering criteria and are judged to potentially satisfy the criteria throughout the term of recognition.
“Substantial equivalence” serves to notify: parents and prospective students that a program has met certain standards; faculty, deans and administrators of a program’s strengths and weaknesses and of ways to improve the program; employers that graduates are prepared to begin professional practice; taxpayers that their funds are well spent; and the public that graduates are aware of public health and safety considerations.
“Our faculty members have always been conscious of the fact that an engineering education program must be continuously improved and that a solid quality assurance mechanism must be in place. An external evaluation like ABET’s is very valuable to us, since it gives us an opportunity for renewed self-assessment, and also the confidence and pride that we have been doing things right!" Prof. Bülent Özgüler, the head of EEE Department, noted.

Administrative Changes for Bilkent Endowment Companies

The general assembly of Bilkent Holding A.Ş. convened on Friday, December 17 and installed a new administrative structure for the companies under its umbrella. Under the new system, the business executives in charge of the operating companies will not hold board positions in the holding company. In this way, executive powers have been separated from
"overseeing" governance
functions. This clarification of accountability within an enhanced corporate governance structure is expected to eventually increase the endowment companies' financial support of the university.
Prof. İhsan Doğramacı was elected to serve as the Chairman of the Board of Bilkent Holding A.Ş.
Prof. Ali Doğramacı and Prof. Abdullah Atalar will be serving as his deputies.

Also in this issue:

Bilkent Professors on the European Union Accession of Turkey

The talks on Turkey's accession to the European Union, which took place on December 16-17, will have a momentous impact on the future of Turkey and of the EU as well. Last week, on the eve of the talks, Bilkent News asked two of our faculty members to discuss the background and possible implications of this issue.
Prof. Metin Heper,
Acting Dean, FEASS
“Turkey has had a European vocation since the late 18th century. During the 19th century, the Ottomans launched Westernization reforms, which were inevitably selective. The founders of the Turkish Republic in their turn adopted ‘Westernization with its roses and thorns.’ Secularism became one of the founding principles of the new state. Its nationalism turned out to be civic-cum-cultural nationalism, which therefore did not oblige the Turks to develop hostile attitudes towards the West. Turkey made the transition to democracy, considered an integral dimension of Westernization, in the 1940s. However, it was not long before democracy was seen, in the eyes of many Turks, as ‘a political regime worse than all the others’! Nonetheless, as democracy was consolidated in Turkey, a deeper understanding of its values followed: respect for the other gained increased importance. From the 1980s onward, Turkey made a momentous shift in its economy, from import substitution to export orientation. In brief, the cultural, democratic, and economic revolutions the Turks succeeded in making in the 20th century enabled them to align themselves with global trends and successfully compete in various international arenas. If and when Turkey obtains a date from the European Union for the start of accession negotiations for full membership, it will be another positive but, in relative terms, minor step in its Westernization saga. If Turkey fails to obtain a date, the country will not turn the clock back; instead, it will go it alone and continue to make further progress in the saga in question, with honor and dignity.”
Prof. Duygu Sezer
Department of IR

"This is a historic moment for both Turkey and Europe. Several signals suggest that at the EU Presidency's Amsterdam Summit on December 17, Turkey will be invited to begin accession negotiations. Contrary to what some circles maintain, I believe that all previous Turkish governments have worked very hard to reach this historic point in time. There have been serious ups and downs in Turkey-EU (formerly EEC, the European Economic Community) relations since the Ankara Agreement establishing an association status for Turkey was signed in 1963. None of these deterred successive Turkish governments from pursuing the ultimate objective of integrating with Europe. From the very beginning two fundamental issues undermined Turkey's
prospects with the EEC/EU. These were, namely, Turkey's socio-economic-cultural profile, which differed sharply from that of Europe, and second, the traditional role of the military in politics...



Bilkent Judges vs. Çankaya Cougars

Bilkent's American football team played the Çankaya Cougars on the Judges' home field on Saturday, December 18. The Judges suffered a surprise defeat at the hands of the Cougars, 23-16.
The game started at noon and lasted four hours. The score remained close throughout the game, with both teams struggling to get the upper hand. During the first two quarters in particular, when the players were in peak condition, the teams seemed evenly matched. At the end of the first half the Cougars held a slim lead of 16-10.
The Judges opened the second half with an offensive charge, forcing the Cougars to consolidate their defense. However, during this period tensions grew on the field, with a number of penalties and disputes with the referees. Although the game remained close, the Çankaya team held onto the lead and ended up winning by a score of 23-16.
The Cougars deserve applause for their tactics and speed. On the other hand, they displayed some poor sportsmanship and behavior that was excessively violent even for American football.
Coach Angın counseled his players: "We've never shown any attitude lacking in honor on this field, and we won't today either. Go out and play your game!" So, although the day ended with a Bilkent loss, the Judges can be proud of their efforts on the field.

Emre Kırtunç (COMD/IV)

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