The University is pleased to announce the recipients of the Distinguished Teaching Awards for 2022. Hüseyin Can Aksoy, Ercüment Çiçek, Hande Ilgaz and İlker Temizer were chosen for demonstrating outstanding teaching abilities and for contributing to students’ academic and intellectual development.
Hüseyin Can Aksoy (LAW)
I am very humbled and honored to be one of the recipients of the Distinguished Teaching Award in 2022.
The simple reason why I teach is that I love it. I very much enjoy being in the classroom with my students. I like challenging them academically and encouraging them to push their limits. For me, witnessing their improvement is an incomparable pleasure. In fact, it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to touch young people’s lives and experience their growth.
Information is infinite. A teacher cannot – and should not try to – burden his/her students with too much information. All he/she can do is teach them the vital basics, the sources of information, and how to critically process information to procure knowledge. I believe that in a classroom I have two primary duties: to teach my students how to learn, and to always try to make them think critically, analytically and creatively. Finally, I think that a teacher can only assist students in their journeys of learning. Therefore, I do my best to let my students know that I am there and ready to help.
Since I was an undergraduate student in the Bilkent University of Faculty of Law, it has been a dream for me to receive this award. I would like to sincerely thank my dean, Ece Göztepe, not only for nominating me for the award but also for creating the peaceful, democratic and collaborative work environment that I work in. I am grateful as well to my outstanding professors, who lighted my way to becoming a teacher. I also thank my beloved wife Pınar and son Arda for their continuous love and support. Last but not least, I am grateful to my current and former students for their flattering comments and letters of support during the nomination process. You are the reason I love my job so much!
Ercüment Çiçek (CS)
I am honored and humbled to receive one of the 2022 Bilkent University Distinguished Teaching Awards. First of all, I would like to thank the Department of Computer Engineering Teaching Award Committee and the Faculty of Engineering for the nomination and the Bilkent Teaching Award Committee for selecting me for this award. I also would like to thank the students and colleagues who supported my candidacy with their comments and letters. I feel privileged to join the distinguished group of scholars who have been presented with this award over the last 25 years.
I am very lucky for having met great teachers who helped shape my career and my life. The late Richard Hanson of Case Western Reserve University was one of them. A world-renowned researcher, he once said, “Looking back on my career, I think the real impact I made was through teaching.” I hope that I will also have had such an impact by the end of my career. This award further motivates me to achieve that goal and do my best in teaching. Once again, thank you.
Hande Ilgaz (PSYC)
I am greatly humbled and honored to have been selected as one of the recipients of the Distinguished Teaching Award. I thank my students, colleagues, department chair and dean for their support in nominating me. Knowing that I am among countless colleagues who share the same passion for teaching and learning makes this award even more meaningful. Along the way, I have learned immensely from great teachers whom I strive to emulate as well as teachers who fell short of my expectations. I thank them all.
As a student, I enjoyed educators who respected their students and provided safe pedagogical structure in their courses, where any hard-working student who participated in learning activities could advance themselves. I take this as a base model for my teaching. As a researcher, I adopt a social constructivist approach to cognitive development and aim to practice what I preach. I see myself as a facilitator of thinking and learning. In my view, I am only one critical component of the learning that happens in class. Every class, my students, with their questions and comments, contribute to my thinking and their peers’ learning. There has been many a class where I walked out of the lecture hall with an adrenaline high, armed with new questions for experimental inquiry. I feel incredibly fortunate to work with Bilkent students either in the lab or in class to discover, learn and experiment. I treasure their passion for learning and honest efforts to exceed themselves. I will repeat what I always tell prospective students when they ask me, “Why Bilkent?” There are many good reasons. For me, it is the students.
İlker Temizer (ME)
I am honored to have been selected as a recipient of this award, and would like to thank the Department of Mechanical Engineering for the nomination. Many students and colleagues kindly provided invaluable letters of support, for which I am grateful.
A lot has changed in my courses since the first time I offered them. I have done my best to steer those changes toward creating a better learning experience on the students’ part and a better teaching experience on my part. Along with the content of the courses, my teaching philosophy has evolved as well. The major practices that have guided my teaching efforts have allowed flexibility for change, but change cannot be realized unless one also recognizes its necessity. Indeed, I now believe that the key ingredient in any teaching philosophy is being able to acknowledge the need for change as well as to have the willingness to seek its direction and the resolution to steer toward it effectively. More broadly, in my view, a teaching philosophy constitutes an umbrella under which the course content flourishes in response to students’ needs.
Teaching is a personal journey. I truly enjoy a successful teaching effort and value each step of the process to achieve a satisfactory outcome. I recognize that there are many paths to a good teaching experience, and I am willing to search for them, even if that means straying away from what seems to be a good path or taking a more tiresome one at times. My personal journey has certainly been rewarding. Looking back, I see that I have climbed higher and that my teaching philosophy has a clearer view of what is involved in good learning. Looking forward, I anticipate many new, exciting challenges to be addressed in order to adapt to ever-changing needs.