Turkish business professor experiencing globalization firsthand

imageOmer Iscan arrived at SUNY Oswego with his family in late June for a three-month stay as scholar-in-residence in the School of Business.

Ataturk University in Turkey, where he is an assistant professor, provides scholarships for its junior faculty to spend either three or six months at an American university, he said. He came to Oswego because of the relationship between Ataturk University and the State University of New York.

“We always talk about globalization and the effects of globalization, but really you have to see it for yourself,” Iscan said.

Educated at Middle Eastern Technical University in Ankara, Iscan specializes in organizational behavior and leadership. Much of his work so far has been an exercise in telecommuting, the topic of one of his publications. Even though he is 8,000 kilometers from home, he said, he is able to do the same work and communicate with the same people he does at home in Erzurum.

Published once already in an international journal, he is working on more publications in English-language business journals in preparation for his promotion to associate professor.

As the semester got under way at Oswego, he said he planned to take part in classes in the School of Business, such as Sarfraz Mian’s course in entrepreneurship.

His home university in the Eastern Anatolia region of Turkey is much larger than Oswego, with 30,000 students and 11 schools, including medical and engineering schools, he said. Faculty from the University of Nebraska helped establish Ataturk University as Turkey’s first land-grant-type of institution in 1957.

Of Oswego, Iscan said, “It’s small, but the campus is really beautiful.” He said Dean Crawford, chair of Oswego’s accounting, finance and law department, helped introduce Iscan and his family—wife Emel and 2-year-old daughter Nil—in the community. Iscan described the people in the community as “fantastic” and “hospitable,” noting that one family gave them a stroller to use for their daughter.

They have visited nearby towns, attending fairs and Oswego’s Harborfest. “The fireworks were really great,” he said.

They have also traveled to New York City, Niagara Falls and Buffalo this summer.

Much of their life in Oswego is familiar, he said, because globalization has introduced cultures to each other. “Most of the things we buy in the shops are the same, including food,” he said.

But he said he appreciates learning about the diversity of people, too. “People are different,” he said. “Having a global orientation is really important. The main aim of this experience is to increase that global perspective.”

The Iscans are living on campus in Mackin Hall, across Sheldon Avenue from the School of Business in Rich Hall.

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(Posted: Aug 24, 2005)