We had an interview with Gazi University Faculty of Engineering Department of Civil Engineering lecturer Prof. Dr. Joel Cahoon. Prof. Dr. Cahoon, who is lecturing at Gazi University under contract with the endorsement of YÖK (Institute of Higher Education), talked about Gazi and Montana State University.
First of all, how did the idea of coming to Gazi University shaped?
Scholars from Gazi University who came to Montana State University as visiting lecturers a year ago told me ‘we came here’, ‘now, it is your turn’. I thought to myself by coming here for a term, I could see Turkey and Gazi University, observe the education system and the curriculum and it would be very nice to contribute to Gazi University students so here I am.
What is Ankara like compared to Montana?
The population of Ankara is almost 5 million but the population of where I live is just 70.000, even smaller than Gazi University. I have never lived in such a big city before so it is interesting for me to live with so many people.
Prof. Dr. Joel Cahoon
What can you say when you compare Gazi and Montana State Universities?
The lecturers here are definitely top-quality, and this was one of the first things that I looked into before coming here. Also, research and academic activities are extremely strong, especially the lecturers in my department continually preparing new projects and publish academic papers. The materials used in lectures and the curriculum are very much similar to the ones at Montana.
The main difference between the two universities is the students’ attitudes towards performance. Our students at Montana State are very competitive, ambitious and motivated. None of them misses a class, they are on time and they never leave class early; however, here it's hard to convince students to participate in class. It is probably because of the differences in education systems; here students lack motivation. At Montana, students choose whatever they want to study; therefore, when they enter university, they are happy to study their favorite subject. However, here students’ main concern is employment and they choose a department that they think they will not be unemployed or they are placed according to their grades. Then, an engineer graduate works at a bank, he becomes unhappy and this goes on like that.
Is being at Gazi a good opportunity for you? Are you happy to be here?
Of course I am. My primary intention for coming here is to do a pre-study for students coming from Montana University to Gazi and to learn the procedures to help students because you feel like beaten up when you come to a completely different university and deal with very difficult lessons without any time for induction.
Do you recommend Gazi University to your colleagues?
Now, we are conducting a dual diploma program but in the future I would very much like a student and/or lecturer Exchange program. If any of my colleagues think about coming to Turkey or Gazi University, I will try to help as much as I can. Here everyone is very nice; Ankara is a very beautiful city. Most people would say İstanbul or İzmir is nicer than Ankara, but I think the opposite. As Montana University, we have programs with other universities in Turkey; if our lecturers can go those universities, they will surely come to Gazi University.
Would you like to stay more than a term?
I really liked here but I have been missing my family and friends, I have a horse and I even miss him. My wife was here a while ago, she met wonderful people and she visited very nice places. We visited Amasra, Göreme and İzmir; we really liked the places we saw.
Would you like to add anything else?
I am very glad about the dual diploma program between Montana State and Gazi University. Students study their first and third years here, second and fourth years in Montana. I hope there will be more students coming and going between Ankara and Montana over the years.
Prof. Dr. Can Balas, Dicle Başer ve Furkan Soy
The only one in Ankara!
Montana State Dual Diploma Program students Dicle Beşer and Furkan Soy will qualify their dual diploma this year by studying their senior year at Montana State University. Beşer and Soy stated that they are very happy to make use of this opportunity, added that they had concerns about studying at a very difficult department such as civil engineering in a completely different language, culture and country, but they said that they adapted very quickly, had a very good time and got a very good education. They emphasized that students wanting to study civil engineering should definitely make use of this opportunity.
Gazi University Assistant to Rector and lecturer at Department of Civil Engineering Prof. Dr. Can Balas stated that Gazi University is pacing steadily towards internalization and said that lecturers from Michigan State, Georgia State and Montana State Universities will give lectures at Gazi University not as visiting but as contractual lecturers, which will be a unique application in Ankara. Thanks to Gazi University’s agreement, students going to Montana State University pay in-state student fees; they do not pay international student fees. The Dual Diploma program places 20 students every year.
06.05.2015 / Consultancy of Press and Public Relations