UTPA hosts Turkish Delegation
On May 23, UTPA held a delegation for a visiting professor to discuss a possible exchange program.
Dr. Sermin Örnektekin, rector advisor and director of European and International center at Instanbul Kültür University, visited UTPA to try for the second time to reach an agreement to start an exchange program for students and faculty between the two universities.
During her visit, Örnektekin met with the College of Science & Mathematics, the biology department and the Office of International Programs. She also took a tour of the campus, where she noticed many changes since the last time she was here – 14 years ago.
“In 1998, the campus was very small”, she said. “The tour was walkable, now we had to travel by golf cart to go around campus. It’s a much bigger campus, now there are new buildings, more apartments and dorms, more colleges are added. The university is unrecognizable.”
The agreement between IKU and UTPA, would be for a student and faculty exchange program to work in research projects and joint degrees.
If the deal happens, accommodations will be made for the transfer students from IKU to take English as a second language classes at UTPA.
Although Örnektekin is back at UTPA with the same proposal, she is representing a different university than she was the first time around.
When Örnektekin, a former exchange student from Robert E. Lee High School in San Antonio, first came to UTPA in 1998, representing Mustafa Kemal University. She noted that some confusion may have led to the original deal being upopular with students and falling through.
“We actually had the deal, but people didn’t want to come,” she said. “They thought that the school was far away from Turkey, but this time, I believe Istanbul is a very good destination and student will prefer to come here.”
Dr. Örnektekin talked to faculty in the biology department about a possible collaboration in microbiology medical biology and cancer research. Mohammed Farooqui, the chair of the department said he was optimistic.
“It’s a win-win for the department, the college, and the University.” said Mohammed Farooqui, department of biology chair.