22 SES 11 B, Development of Academics: Careers and Professions
Higher education systems are widely acknowledged to play an important role in the development of an emerging economy (Hazelkorn, 2015). Recognizing the potential of higher education to cultivate intellectual capital, enhance research capacity, and promote a culture of innovation, countries identified as those with emerging economies have invested heavily in their postsecondary infrastructure (Loyalka et al., 2014). As one example, Turkey has seen a dramatic expansion of its higher education system over the last two decades with a specific emphasis on developing research universities and partnerships between higher education and industry (Çetinsaya, 2014). While evidence suggests that higher education systems can productively serve as strategic partners in development efforts, concerns exist over how emerging economies might ensure the quality of their systems while also increasing quantity and capacity (Carnoy et al., 2013).
Using Turkey as a case study, this paper examines the preparation of doctoral students in countries identified as emerging economies. Although Turkey is a participant in the European Higher Education Area and a signatory of the Bologna Process, its experiences are not often examined in depth in policy or academic circles, adding greater significance to this study (Erdogan, 2015).
As an emerging economy, Turkey has recently experienced a dramatic expansion in higher education by establishing new institutions, an increase of 55% in the total number of universities since 2004. The number of doctoral degree recipients has also increased 65% from 2002 to 2012 (Çetinsaya, 2014). These developments have led Turkish policy-makers to consider ways to produce more doctoral graduates who will be future faculty hired in newly established universities. The current number of annual doctoral graduates (4500) does not meet the actual need (15.000) for the system (Çetinsaya, 2014).
The Turkish Higher Education Council implemented the Faculty Development Program (FDP) in 2010 to train future faculty. The program builds upon a 2001 initiative of leading Turkish universities to better socialize doctoral students to research and teaching roles. Recognized as the largest source of future faculty, this program is widely acknowledged to play critical role in the development of the universities (Erdoğan, 2013). The recent development plans released by the Turkish Ministry of Development reflects the nation’s goal to have a “globally competitive [higher education] structure…that can convert its potential to production, technology, and services” (Plan, 2014, p. 31), which also supports the rationale behind starting such a nationwide program.
Considering the extant literature briefly mentioned above, this study sought answers to the following research questions:
1) What factors shape doctoral student experiences in the Faculty Development Program?
2) What are the expectations of the students about their future career with respect to challenges and aspirations?
3) How do the students interpret their role as future academics in terms of contributing to the Turkish higher education system and the country as a whole?
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