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Maltepe University Image Study 2013

This section comprises data that is related to Maltepe University as part of a larger-scale study named “The Image of Universities in Turkey: A Qualitative Study of Students Attending Universities in Istanbul (2013).

Objective of the Study and Methodology

The number of both state and foundation universities is rapidly increasing in our country. This situation leads to the questioning of the quality of university education. The number of studies that focus on the image of universities and university students is low for a country where not only the number of universities but also the number of university students is high. The subject is contexualised within a business management perspective. There is no doubt that these studies provide important hints; however, it will be useful to evaluate the subject in a broader perspective and to develop policies and make decisions for further improvement.

This research is only one part of the above-mentioned broad perspective and was carried out to find out how university students in Istanbul perceive university and university students, how they evaluate their place in society, if there are any differences between state and foundation universities, how Maltepe University is perceived/evaluated domestically and externally (to carry out data for the image management of our university) and to prepare the groundwork for more extensive research.

At present, approximately 200 universities exist in Turkey. One-third of these universities are foundation universities. In Istanbul, it should be noted that the situation is just the opposite: There are 9 state universities and 37 foundation universities. That is, foundation universities constitute an overwhelming majority, 80 percent, of all universities in Istanbul. However, it should be kept in mind that when evaluated in terms of the number of students and faculty members, despite the fact that they are in an institutional minority, state universities have a very high number of teaching staff and students.

That is why, the study was carried out with two state and two foundation universities in Istanbul. As responses could differ according to faculties and departments, care was taken to include universities with faculties of Law, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences / Engineering, and Medicine but this aim was not entirely successful.

Istanbul and Marmara (state) universities were chosen because they are very old and deep-rooted and have a large number and variety of students; on the other hand, Maltepe and Fatih (foundation) universities were chosen as they attract students with different socio-cultural backgrounds. Another reason why Maltepe University was chosen is that one of the aims of the study was to reveal the perceptions and expectations of the MU students about the institution they are studying at as internal stakeholders.

This study was carried out with second year sociology students as part of the course ‘Research Methods in Sociology II’ taught by B. Akşit during the spring semester of the 2012-2013 academic year. Data was collected from a total of 206 students from four universities between March and April of 2013. Data was collected in focus group interviews which is a qualitative data collection method. The framework and points for discussion for the 30 focus group interviews can be found in Appendix 10

Due to the nature of qualitative research, as the study is not carried out with a sample that is representative and standard data was not collected, it is not possible to generalize the findings.  That is why, it is expected that the results will be assessed with caution and viewed as important clues for studies with a larger-scale and quantitative approach.

Overall Results and Recommendations

Data that was gathered about Maltepe University as a part of the study named “The Image of Universities in Turkey: A Qualitative Study of Students Attending Universities in Istanbul, 2013’’ and the related results and suggestions can be found below:

  1. Despite the fact that variations exist between different departments, most of MU students, perceive the quality of education they receive and the quality of their lecturers. They state that distance does not exist between lecturers and students, lecturers show interest in students, care for them, and allocate time for them; students are very satisfied with this situation. It was noted that the education provided is challenging although it is a foundation university. Similar statements were made about MU by students who are enrolled in different universities.

    This relationship and approach of lecturers should be recognized and actions should be taken to ensure the sustainability and improvement of the current situation.
  1. MU emphasize MU students emphasised the increased number of social activities on campus (e.g. spring fest, concerts, student congress). Similarly, other university students highlighted these activities as an important quality of MU.

    It seems that the sustainability of these activities and increasing the variety of these activities will be beneficial. It will be a good idea to increase the participation and contribution of students, especially in scientific activities. 
  1. Both groups of students state that MU is a mediocre university among foundation universities in Istanbul.

In accordance with findings related to this issue, one of the aims of MU should be to make connections/forge partnerships with the universities that are considered to be the best foundation universities. It is possible to reach this aim with an approach that prioritises the meaning of ‘university’ and internalizes current values. The efforts of MU in this respect should be recognized. For instance, the ECTS and Diploma Supplement labels that MU was awarded in the Bologna Process are a result of these efforts.

  • Internationalization that include encouragement of mobility and joint degrees;
  • Efforts for increasing the employment of alumni;
  • Quality assurance studies that require constant self-evaluation and improvement;
  • Life-long learning and importance given to social aspects,
  • Efforts for the encouragement of lecturers to carry out research

Aims which are supported by the administrative leadership of MU and carried out with the efforts of all MU faculty show the intentions of MU in this sense.

  1. It was emphasized that MU is convenient, there are dormitories on campus and this provides advantages for students. It was also noted that MU is located in a mountainous terrain and is in a natural environment.  Moreover, it was stated that the hotel and auditoriums on campus are impressive. However, some students report that the campus is far from the city center and that transportation to the campus is difficult. They state that this situation affects MU negatively.
     
  2. Generally, students at state universities, have the impression that foundation universities are  

    “organizations where unsuccessful students receive education in return for payment”. Nonetheless, a lot of people reported that opportunities which the ERASMUS and Farabi programmes provide are more widespread in foundation universities and this creates a positive image for external stakeholders and helps the promotion of the name of the university.   Both group of students emphasized that there are not enough scholarship opportunities at MU and because of that MU is preferred less.
  1. Both groups site the insufficient scholarship opportunities as why MU is preferred less.
     
  2. Both MU students and other students highlight that MU is not well-known and efforts are not made to promote the university. The students who state that the university is heard/known, assert that MU gives an inaccurate image to people at times and this image should be corrected.

    Promotions and advertisements should be carried out, faculty should be highlighted, information should be given about scientific and meaningful social activities, and attractiveness of living on a campus and campus life should be emphasized with an environmental approach.

    Student satisfaction about transportation should be enhanced and this should be reflected in promotions. In addition, the percentages of scholarships should be increased and this issue should be covered in promotions.

    In promotional activities, the importance given to internationalisation and student mobility should be underlined..
  1. It was stated that some problems do exist in foreign language learning by MU students

    This problem is caused by the fact that students who will study at departments whose medium of instruction is Turkish do not have to pass the preparatory class in order to start studying in their departments and there are not obligatory courses in English in the following years. In addition, it seems necessary that courses in English should be a part of the programme in each academic year of the undergraduate programmes no matter what the medium of instruction is. With this aim, coordinators of the programmes should review programme outcomes. Stated that some problems do exist in foreign language learning by MU students.
  1. It was said that MU students have problems or are inconvenienced as far as their basic needs on campus; students expressed that canteens on campus are expensive and food is limited in variety.
  1. MU students stated that they wanted to work and earn money on campus like students do in other foundation universities.

    It would be a good idea to increase the number and variety of work opportunities that already exist on our campus. It is also important that these opportunities be promoted. 
  1. The most remarkable result of this study is that the statements made by MU students and other students about MU are consistent.

    Then, increasing the satisfaction of our students will contribute to the positive external image MU has on external stakeholders and increase the degree which MU is preferred by students over other universities. 
  1. A final suggestion is that research in this respect should be continued. It would be a good idea to carry out this type of research study as a prerequisite of quality assurance in a large scale format in terms of content, population and departments. Moreover, including graduate students in the sample will enrich the study.

MALTEPE UNIVERSITY FACULTY OF SCIENCE AND LITERATURE SOCIOLOGY DEPARTMENT (SOS 202)

IMAGE OF UNIVERITIES IN TURKEY: A QUALITATIVE STUDY DONE WITH STUDENTS IN SOME UNIVERSITIES IN ISTANBUL, 2013

 

FOCUS GROUP INTERVIEW FRAMEWORK[1]

(Updated on March 25, 2013)

 

Information: It will be stated clearly at which university and with what sort of students (department/faculty) the interview was done. 

 

(Meeting: Thanking first, explaining which university we are from, who we are, what we want to do, how long it will take)

 

Place of the interview (Which cafeteria? Whose house? etc.):

 

Is it appropriate to record the interview? 1. Appropriate 2. Not appropriate      

 

Date of interview:

 

 

Time and duration of interview:

Interviewers:                             Moderator:

                                                 Observer(s)

 

Moderator and observers will introduce themselves in the order stated in the following table and participants will be asked to introduce themselves.

No

Name[2]

Gender[3]

Age

Place of Birth

Lived in Istanbul since

Department

Class

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sitting Order:

SUBJECTS TO BE DİSCUSSED  (and prompt questions)                 

PART I: UNIVERITY AND ITS STUDENTS

  • How they explain it as a construct? The functions of the university etc.
  • What does “good university” mean? What characteristics should it have? Why?
  1. Academic staff?
  2. Campus?
  3. Other?
  • How the society see a “university student”? Why?
  • How do you see a “university student”?
  • Are there any differences between students of different universities? How? Why do you think so?

PART II: UNIVERSITIES IN TURKEY

  • Which ones are well-known? Why them? What are their characteristics? Why are they well-known? (State and Foundation Universities must be evaluated separately)
  1. UNIVERSITIES IN ISTANBUL
    • Which ones are well-known? Why them? What are their characteristics? Why are they well-known? (State and Foundation Universities must be evaluated separately)

PART III: IMAGE ABOUT THEIR OWN UNIVERSITY 

  • How can he describe his/her own university? Why does he/she think so?
  • How does he/she describe what other people think of his/her university? Why does he think so? How do people see his/her university?

If the interview is with Maltepe University students, the interview ends here. 

Part IV:  IMAGE OF MALTEPE UNIVERSITY

  • Does he/she know Maltepe University? What does he/she know about it? Whay does he/she think so?
  • How does he/she describe what other people think of his/her university? Why does he think so?
  1. Any other issues that would like to be shared.

 

THANKING AND LEAVING

 



[1] P.S: This form is used to manage the flow of the interview.

[2] It is not obligatory to give names. They are free to ask to be addressed with a different name.

[3] Will be checked especially if there are different genders.