1. Introduction

As one of the leading Turkish universities in education, research and community outreach, Sabancı University (SU) values the importance of internationalization and aims to enhance its international profile as a world-class university. The University’s 2007-2011 Strategic Objectives already emphasize this aim with the following statement:

Our main aim is to be a pioneering model educational base in a local and international context, in continuous interaction with the society, nourished by research and critical inquiry

This internationalization strategy document has been developed in response to the above mentioned objective. Thus, this strategy emphasizes the significance of the transformation of the university as a whole, through a participatory, transparent, responsible and responsive approach. Furthermore, by expanding the international experiences of the SU community, the University aims to create a new culture that values intercultural development and tolerance.

SU has already achieved numerous landmarks in internationalization which distinguishes it from other Turkish universities. Currently, 4% of the student body is international. Additionally 3% of students take part in an international programme abroad and 17% of full-time faculty members are from foreign countries. These figures demonstrate that a new and comprehensive strategy must be adopted in order to achieve our internationalization objectives. This strategy envisions that the outcomes of this process will transform SU into a globally competitive university.

In order to materialize such a strategy, the following vision and mission statements were adopted by the University administration through a participatory process.

2. Vision statement

Recognizing that human knowledge is universal and that the contemporary world presents unparalleled opportunities and responsibilities, SU aims to become a crossroads of communities of learning, research, and action for the internationalization of knowledge production and dissemination

3. Mission statement

We will function as an international and multicultural hub for education, research and outreach to become the institution of choice for faculty, students, and all other stakeholders. This will be done by

a. establishing and mobilizing private and public international networks/partnerships
b. building a competitive advantage by leveraging our knowledge and resources in the region
c. encouraging internationally recognized, leading-edge research
d. being socially aware and responsive in an international context by developing an inclusive, multicultural campus
e. developing outreach programs for society and business

4. Objectives

In order to reach the goals set by this strategy document SU plans to internationalize its research, education, community outreach and administrative structure. Thus, objectives for each of these areas are identified in the following sections.

4.1 Research

Sabancı University positions itself to be one of the most innovative and research-oriented universities in the region. As part of its philosophy, the University encourages not only the generation of pure knowledge but also the application of this knowledge to support teaching and the progress of the community. The University will therefore cultivate its resources and regional advantages to become a world leader in research. In order to achieve this, SU is committed to:

4.1. Allocate university resources more efficiently and create new ones in order to involve the SU community in international research projects, as well as attract more international researchers
4.2. Increase international research funds to 50% of the total
4.3. Join at least one leading international university network institutionally
4.4. Establish new research alliances and further expand the existing ones
4.5. Establish at least three joint/double PhD programmes with other prestigious institutions
4.6. Employ international PhD students in research projects
4.7. Establish a compulsory mobility period for all PhD students
4.8. Increase and encourage the researchers’ mobility
4.9. Create new incentives for international conference participation
4.10. Increase the number and visibility of international conferences organized and hosted by SU
4.11. Reevaluate academic publication policy
4.12. Incorporate global topics and concerns into the research agenda

5. Education

The main strategic aim of SU is to maintain the high quality of education, to support creative curriculum development and to integrate an international dimension into education. In order to accomplish this, SU is committed to:

5.1. Internationalize the curriculum
5.2. Increase the number of international students to 10%
5.3. Increase the number of mobile SU students to 10%

5.3.1. Promote EU mobility programmes
5.3.2. Create resources for non-EU mobility programmes

5.4. Increase the number and quality of international agreements
5.5. Establish a holistic international student recruitment policy that initially focuses on graduate students
5.6. Allocate resources to target a specific region and/or country for student recruitment
5.7. Increase the number of international faculty to 20-40% (excluding/including School of Languages)
5.8. Establish a SU Teaching Mobility programme
5.9. Further develop the summer school

6. Community Outreach

As a socially aware and responsive university, SU aims to lead national and international collaboration projects that contribute to encounter globally significant social challenges. In order to achieve this, SU is committed to:

6.1. Increase and deepen its cooperation with international NGOs
6.2. Promote diversity
6.3. Establish and maintain international CIP projects
6.4. Involve international students in CIP projects
6.5. Increase the number of SU students with an international internship experience

7. Administration

SU aims to adapt its administrative structures to meet its internationalization goals. In order to achieve this, SU is committed to:

7.1. Generate new resources and reallocate existing ones according to the needs of internationalization
7.2. Establish an internationalization budget
7.3. Develop plans for infrastructural necessities raised by internationalization
7.4. Transform organizational structures to meet the challenges created by this process
7.5. Develop a website that raises the universities international profile
7.6. Involve and encourage active participation of all SU members to the process
7.7. Nominate at least one representative from each unit for the implementation of internationalization
7.8. Promote multiculturalism at the campus
7.9. Ensure that all university communication mediums are provided in English
7.10. Improve the English competency of the staff
7.11. Link staff internationalization efforts to their performance criteria
7.12. Establish practice-sharing mechanisms
7.13. Establish monitoring and QA systems for the process