Message from the Rector

Dear Bilkenters,

I wish to welcome you all to a new academic year. This year, about 2,400 high school graduates have entered Bilkent. I am glad to report that most of the University's departments have improved the quality of their student intake as measured by the entrance exam scores. It is worth noting that this year more than 65 percent of the incoming students are on full or half scholarships.

As of today, the total number of Bilkent students is more than 13,100, an all-time high and an increase of 4 percent compared to last year. We have a total of 905 master's students (up by 5 percent) and 539 PhD students (up by 11 percent). The number of exchange students has also increased; our total international student count is now 344.

Unfortunately, the performance of new students on this year's COPE exam was poorer than that of last year: Only 18 percent of the students passed the exam and started their programs.

The minor programs, which we initiated last academic year, have 255 students registered. All of these programs have attracted students from other departments. The most popular minors are those in the IR, ECON, POLS, PSYC, MATH and HIST Departments.

This academic year, 85 new full-time faculty members (57 of them international) joined Bilkent's ranks. We have a total of 259 international faculty members from 37 countries, with the largest numbers coming from the US, the UK and Canada.

A new initiative for the students in Applied Languages has been launched. Last summer, those students who had reached a certain threshold of competency in French participated in a language immersion experience in France for a month, with expenses paid in full by the University.

The format of the History of the Turkish Republic course given to all students has been changed, so that there will no longer be lectures. Instead, using the library and other available resources, students will work on various projects related to the history of the Turkish Republic. Groups of four students will prepare original papers on their research topics. I think the change will make this core curriculum course more interesting and interactive.

I wish everybody a successful as well as an enjoyable academic year.

Abdullah Atalar