Study Türkiye, A Curriculum Development Project for University and Community College Faculty

The Study Türkiye program brings together professors from different disciplines and universities to study the history, politics, religion, economics, and culture of Turkey. Every year a group of professors comes to the Niagara Foundation to learn about Turkey through lectures by experts. After the first workshop in February, there is an application to attend the trip to Turkey in June.

During the trip there are lectures in the morning and a pertinent sightseeing trip in the afternoon. The professors get to actually live the things that they teach. They get to see the Hagia Sofia after teaching art history for years, or understand Turkish politics after teaching that subject for years. After the trip, there are presentations from the participants on what they discovered on their trip.

The Niagara Foundation started the Study Türkiye program in order to give community college professors, who have limited resources, the opportunity to study overseas. Mevlut “Hilmi” Cinar, Vice President of the Niagara Foundation, said, “We started the program in 2011 as a pilot project and saw how well it worked. We wanted community college professors to be able to give their students with limited means the opportunity to understand international issues better.” The Niagara foundation believes in the transformational power of community colleges and their professors and is happy to provide this wonderful service to benefit students, professors and the State of Illinois. There are even plans to expand the Study Türkiye program to Niagara Foundation’s other Midwestern chapters in 2014.

Past participants such as Ken Sawyer, professor at McCormick Theological Seminary, had nothing but great things to say about the Study Türkiye program. Sawyer said, “I don’t know that there’s a better place for a church historian to be than in Turkey. I’m not sure that I could find a better program or traveling companions.” Emphasizing the need for continuing education for professors, Meaghan Callan, professor at Joliet Jr. College said that professors “also need to learn, and this was a very important opportunity to learn about a culture, places, people that we don’t get to meet everyday.”

Daniela Broderick, a colleague of Meaghan Callan at Joliet Jr. College, spoke about the multi-disciplinary approach that the Niagara Foundation took when planning the trip, “I think that anybody in any field can find something in Turkey that is going to be applicable to what they teach.”

Take a look at what these professors and others had to say in this video about the Study Türkiye Trip they attended:

The program consists of the following steps:
• Pre-trip: One Day Workshop in February
• Application Period: Deadline in April
• 9-day trip to Turkey in June
• Post-trip: Participant Presentations in November
The program is designed to assist faculty infuse their curricula and engage students in a better and through understanding of this nation that promises to play an increasingly pivotal role on the world scene. The combination of workshop learning, international travel, and follow-up presentations arms faculty with the tools to develop an engaging curriculum that deals with Turkey-related issues, such as Turkey’s political position in European and global contexts, women’s issues, Islam and religion in Turkey, economic affairs, arts, and architecture.

To Find out More about the Study Türkiye program, visit our website.

The views and opinions expressed on The Falls are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Niagara Foundation, its staff, other authors, members, partners, or sponsors.