Increasing demands on housing, transportation, water and energy due to rapidly increasing population both in local and in the global context and initiatives to ensure sustainability to mitigate the unfavorable environmental conditions have increased the demand for civil engineering practice. It is highly expected that a more intensive work will be undertaken in the field of civil engineering.
Civil Engineers who are aware of the current developments will be indispensable in order to develop innovative solutions and new technologies to earthquake and all other disasters (human caused or natural), to scrutinize the aged building stock and increase their service life, and to improve the effective use of new materials for a livable, sustainable and resilient built environment.
With the traditional curriculum of the conventional education system, minimum level of skills, competencies and proficiencies can be provided for satisfying the basic requirements of the system of education and the standards that graduates are obliged to know. In other words, the conventional system of education fails to address the new framework of services expected of civil engineering profession and civil engineers.
Therefore, it is essential to adopt and implement a new approach to meet new requirements in the near and medium term. In this context, a new approach which differs from the conventional one in the following two areas was adopted.
The first difference, in brief, is the universal approach adopted for the main subjects and concepts covered in the freshmen year. Unlike the conventional one, the new approach facilitates an interdisciplinary and holistic scrutinization of the subjects and concepts in order to help students to come up with enhanced understanding and innovative solutions to specific problems. Furthermore, students are being exposed to algorithmic thinking and being equipped with some soft skills in addition to natural sciences and mathematics and they get acquainted with the Project Based Education (PBE). In this mode of conduct, i.e. PBE, faculty members assume the role of mentors instead of being teachers in order to enhance the effective participation of the students with the help of set of relevant experiments and observations.
Project Based Education constitutes the second difference. In addition to the aforementioned differences from the conventional approach, the active participation of sectoral presence in the classes is another significant difference. In this educational model, the courses are conducted in two categories as ‘Project-Oriented’ and ‘Project’ courses.
A project-oriented course is structured so that within the framework of 6-8 ‘concept-specific’ projects are covered in a period of 14 weeks. Instead of expecting owning of a concept by the student via transfer of knowledge through a lecture by a teacher, the concept-specific projects are run under the supervision of a mentor, through a simple physical / mathematical model or a prototype application. This, facilitating questioning and doing some research based on observations, enhances the process of owning the concept.
A project course is structured so that within the framework of 1-2 ‘subject-specific’ projects are covered in a period of 14 weeks. This configuration is planned to cover all phases of pre-design and design stages of a project. The projects are preferably either an integral part of an ongoing and/or part of a completed project of one of our business partners. Furthermore, another major difference of the project courses from the conventional courses is that the subject-specific projects are structured without being limited to the major subject. That is, just like real project applications, the utilization of all other necessary/relevant fields are integrated in to the conduct of the process.
An indispensable component of this approach is the laboratories necessary for running projects and performing theoretical and/or applied research. In this context, laboratories, integral part of the recently established department, are under construction.
The Civil Engineering Program in the new format described above, meets the requirements for national and international accreditations and provides a solid framework for international cooperation in all aspects of education and research.