Gender Equality in Academia: Innovative Aspects


The 2024 International Staff Week, hosted by the Gender Equality Office (GEO), is set to unfold from May 13th to May 17th at Koç University’s Istanbul Campus. This year’s theme, “Innovative Aspects,” brings together eight distinguished speakers from Koç University to explore avant-garde, creative, and cutting-edge approaches addressing academic inequalities.

Engage in a thought-provoking week dedicated to pioneering methods and creative methodologies fostering gender equality in higher education. Through immersive discussions, workshops, and collaborative activities, participants will confront and challenge prevalent inequalities within academic structures.

Throughout the sessions, our lineup of speakers will delve into inventive strategies, including dynamic drama techniques, progressive educational practices, gendered soundscapes, visual communication design combating gender-based violence, and the impactful role of podcasting in driving social change and sustainability.

This immersive experience invites professionals passionate about gender equality, inclusion, and organizational culture in higher education to join us. Together, let’s push the boundaries of innovation to cultivate an academic environment of equality and inclusivity.

Prepare to be inspired, engaged, and connected at the forefront of pioneering gender mainstreaming practices. Join us in Istanbul for a transformative week of collaborative learning and networking, embracing the future of inclusive academia.

The Program

Dr. Behice Pehlivan, Koç University’s Gender Equality Coordinator, delves into the complexities of implementing gender equality plans in higher education institutions (HEIs). Exploring challenges within HEIs like multidisciplinarity, generational diversity, and organizational nuances, she reframes these as opportunities for transdisciplinary collaboration. Dr. Pehlivan illuminates hurdles such as securing sustainable resources, embedding gender equality actions, and addressing internal resistances. She presents Koç University’s gender equality office success story, sharing strategies that surpassed external challenges and internal barriers. The session provides insights on fostering alliances, community engagement, and aligning efforts with EU frameworks, offering practical approaches to promote diversity, inclusivity, and catalyze transdisciplinary collaboration in education. With a Ph.D. in Sociology and vast expertise in academic management, she offers invaluable strategies for transformative change within HEIs.

Dr. Oğuz Öner, an expert in auditory landscapes and a multidimensional artist, orchestrates an enthralling ‘Sound Walk Journey’ that explores the interplay between space, sound, and human perception. Holding a Ph.D. in Urban Planning from Istanbul Technical University, Öner leads innovative projects merging art and design. Recognized for pioneering sound walks in İstanbul, Öner integrates sound with cityscapes, nature, and human-space communication as Koç University’s artistic director. His workshop applies a gender-focused lens to urban soundscapes, revealing sonic narratives and rhythms. Öner’s immersive session includes sound meditation and mapping, encouraging participants to creatively engage with their sonic environment, fostering a unique understanding of urban spaces and gender dynamics through sound. This auditory experience uncovers the layers of city soundscapes, facilitating a distinct exploration of auditory environments.

Dr. Mehmet Zeki Giritli, a distinguished recipient of the inaugural Gender Inclusive Teaching Improvement Grant, invites participants to an interactive workshop aimed at fostering inclusivity and equality through innovative arts. As an Academic Writing and Modern Theatre professor, Dr. Giritli leverages his expertise in immersive theater, comparative literature, and gender dynamics. Through kinaesthetic acting exercises and creative drama activities, participants challenge societal norms, fostering mutual understanding. Creative Drama, a powerful tool used in these sessions, offers a space for diverse individuals to express themselves verbally and physically, fostering self-awareness and confidence regardless of their artistic background. Dr. Giritli navigates gender roles in performing arts, examining the intersection between gender, drama, and artistic expression. Integrating dramatization, creative dance, writing, role-playing, and improvisation, this immersive workshop explores diverse themes, comprehensively addressing the complexities of gender representation.

Çağla Turgul, a faculty of Media and Visual Arts Department and an acclaimed graphic designer, discusses impactful design strategies to address gender-based violence in academic settings. With expertise in typography and graphic arts, Turgul shares insights into crafting visual communication methods that promote gender equality within educational institutions. The session explores the narrative behind the “ZONE” project, a collaboration between Turgul and the Gender Equality Office targeting gender-based violence among students. It highlights the role of visual arts and design in addressing critical issues within higher education. Turgul and her students from the Circle Graphic Communication Design Studio share challenges encountered while developing “ZONE” and outline upcoming projects aimed at fostering secure, inclusive campus environments. Emphasizing the student-driven nature of the campaign, this session showcases collaborative efforts across university departments to effect meaningful change in academia, providing a profound exploration of design’s influence on campus safety and equality.

Prof. Dr. Fatoş Gökşen, an experienced professor who has held numerous leadership positions in academia, enriches her session by sharing her extensive experiences in higher education and her impactful contributions to gender mainstreaming and equality within academic settings. Beyond her research on critical topics like girls’ education, school-to-work transitions, and the impact of economic crises on youth, she delves into fostering a safe campus climate free from harassment and bullying. Dr. Gökşen’s leadership in Koç University’s innovative CORE program, which interconnects diverse disciplines to address societal concerns, exemplifies her commitment to promoting inclusivity and intersectionality. Her insights extend to women in academia, equality, and organizational culture, drawing from her multifaceted academic scope encompassing sociology, demography, philosophy, and media studies. This session promises a robust discussion, enriched by shared experiences, where Dr. Gökşen navigates through the complex landscape of gender, education, and youth, fostering a dynamic exchange of insights and perspectives.

Justin Marcus, an Associate Professor of Business Administration & Management and Strategy at Koç University, leads a dynamic session exploring diversity within higher education, with a focus on age diversity. His recent project, the “European Network to Leverage the Multi-Age Workforce” through the Cost Action initiative, delves into work dynamics, organizational psychology, and human resource management. Participants in this session will gain insights into cutting-edge diversity management under Marcus’s expertise. He emphasizes the crucial role of age diversity in modern management, aligning with societal changes in demographics and technology. Marcus’s extensive study covers topics such as the impact of age, gender, and social class on successful aging, global work issues, and retirement, enriching his comprehensive grasp of diversity nuances. His exploration contributes significantly to the science of work and aging, addressing everything from work-related stereotypes to cross-cultural retirement research.

Dr. Gülşah Şenkol will lead an inspiring session on her renowned course, “Women and Gender in Literature.” This module, known for its innovative approach to gender studies in literature, has become immensely popular, with students eagerly lining up for enrollment. Dr. Şenkol will share the remarkable journey of this course, which started with just fifty students and has since expanded to five sections with 320 participants, demonstrating its remarkable growth and impact. Her teaching style, centered around seminars, stimulates critical thinking by exploring theoretical and contemporary literature. Beyond readings, the course hosts distinguished authors and scholars in Zoom sessions, fostering engaging discussions and personal development. Dr. Şenkol’s dedication to innovation extends to collaborations with the Stanford University Literary Lab and Fortext Lab, introducing students to computational literary analysis. This session promises to reveal the course’s transformative journey, highlighting its interdisciplinary nature and pioneering teaching methods, paving the way for significant academic growth.

Dr. Gonca Ongan, Executive Director of Koç University Social Impact Forum (KUSIF), leads an enlightening session spotlighting the influential role of podcasting in driving social impact and sustainability. With a robust background in sustainability and social entrepreneurship, Dr. Ongan delves into the “Podcasting-Based Social Impact Learning Environment” project, co-financed by the European Union Erasmus+ Program. This initiative aims to inspire and empower young professionals and youth on crucial social and environmental issues through podcasts and accompanying resources. Attendees will gain insights into the core philosophy and principles of using podcasts for societal good. Dr. Ongan shares her team’s experiences in podcast production, disseminating their recordings on KUSIF’s “About Impact” Spotify channel, fostering dynamic idea exchange. She outlines the journey of hosting training camps, developing a comprehensive podcast production guide, and organizing networking events, all enhancing the platform’s potential to effect substantial social change. Dr. Ongan’s session illuminates the project’s diverse applications in academia, gender equality, and social impact, highlighting podcasting’s profound influence on societal transformation.


We kindly request interested colleagues to register and finalize the payment through the provided links by April 30th, 2024.

Refund Policy: Full refunds available until March 15, 50% refunds until April 15, no refunds after April 15*.

*Please note that a full refund is only applicable in the event of a medical emergency preventing the participant’s attendance. A medical report is required for this circumstance.

Staff Week Registration Form

Cost & Funding

Fee: 300 euros

The fee includes domestic transportation expenses for the week, encompassing travel to and from the University and off-campus visits, as well as four lunches and the Welcome Dinner.

  • Participants are responsible for covering additional expenses, including accommodation, travel to Istanbul, and other meals.
  • Participants are encouraged to use Erasmus+ Staff Exchange funds provided by their home institution.

* If your home Institution is one of Koc University’s Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility (ICM) partners, please get in touch with your International Office in order to benefit from Erasmus+ ICM grant.


Staff Week Payment Form

Travel & Accommodation

Participants should organize their own accommodation and are responsible for covering their own accommodation costs.

​Any other hotel close to the M2 metro line is a suitable choice with easy transportation.


Transportation during the event

For the participants’ easy transportation TO and FROM the campus as well as for all off campus visits, we will use shuttle buses during the whole week.

Hacıosman metro station is the central station for the route TO and FROM the campus with the shuttle buses.  Depending on the daily program, the shuttle buses can make selective stops at convenient metro stations.

In case participants would like to commute independently, they should inform the organizing committee and use one of the following Transportation options.

Transportation in the city

Istanbul is a city of almost 18 million people but no worries, you can commute easily using metro, buses, mini buses or tramvay.  For your transportation it would be better to purchase and use Istanbul card which you can load and use in all public transportation. You may purchase Istanbul card from the automatic machines located at every public transportation station. The ticket prices are lower when using the Istanbul card while the price of one pass ticket is ₺.

Here are the main transportation options in order to find your way around during your stay.

Visiting Istanbul

Istanbul (Turkish: İstanbul) is Turkey’s most populous city as well as its cultural and financial hub. Located on both sides of the Bosphorus, the narrow strait between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea, Istanbul bridges Asia and Europe both physically and culturally. Istanbul’s population is estimated to be around 18 million people, making it also one of the largest cities in Europe and the world.

Take a look at the beauty and the attractions of the city:

Airport & Currency & Emergencies

Istanbul Airport offers two primary public transportation options connecting to the city center: Havaİst and İETT public buses. While Havaist is slightly more expensive, it provides the most convenient travel between the airport and the city center.

Currency: The official currency in Türkiye is the Turkish Lira (Abbreviation: TL, Symbol: ₺).

In case of an emergency, please dial: 112 (Medical emergency/Ambulance, Police, Fire)

Koç University

Have you ever seen the point where the Black Sea meets Boshporus?

The event is hosted at Koç University, in this wonderful scenery at the far north point of Istanbul.  Koç University was founded in 1993 as a non-profit private university in Istanbul, Turkey. Since its establishment, it has become one of the leading universities in Turkey, distinguished by notable contributions to the elevation of education, knowledge and service both domestically and beyond.  With Colleges of Social Sciences and Humanities, Administrative Sciences and Economics, Science, Engineering, Law, Nursing and Medicine, Koç University offers 22 undergraduate, 29 graduate and 25 PhD programs.

Past Events

Staff Week 2023

International Staff Week 2023: Gender Mainstreaming in Higher Education

The Gender Equality Office (GEO) is delighted to announce the successful completion of this transformative event. Drawing participants from 10 different European countries, this week-long gathering provided a dynamic platform for professionals in higher education to exchange knowledge and best practices on gender equality, inclusion practices, and gender mainstreaming.

The International Staff Week surpassed all expectations, fostering a vibrant and insightful dialogue among participants from diverse backgrounds. From May 8th to May 12th, 2023, the prestigious Koç University campus brimmed with energy as 16 passionate individuals collaborated, shared experiences, and forged meaningful connections.

Summary Report: Insights, Achievements, and Inspiration

2023 Staff weekEmbark on a comprehensive journey through the International Staff Week as you immerse yourself in our Summary Report. This document provides a detailed account of the event, capturing the essence of each day’s activities, fostering meaningful discussions, and celebrating notable accomplishments.

Throughout the week, participants from diverse backgrounds engaged in vibrant and insightful conversations, igniting a spirit of collaboration and innovation in advancing gender equality within the higher education landscape. Each day of the Staff Week featured engaging sessions and workshops, serving as catalysts for knowledge exchange and meaningful dialogue on various aspects of gender mainstreaming in higher education. The Summary Report comprehensively covers these topics, including work-life balance, student services, superdiversity, leadership, medical education, gender-inclusive teaching, arts and drama, and gender equality plans.

From the warm registrations and heartfelt welcome speeches on Day 1 to the captivating discussions on peer-reviewed diversity practices, gender-inclusive classrooms, and support services for students, the report captures the essence of each day’s program, inviting you to reflect on the inspiring moments and lessons learned

Go to the Summary Report

Video Highlights

Immerse yourself in the transformative moments of the International Staff Week. It not only provides a glimpse into the dynamic discussions and shared reflections but also features exclusive interviews with event participants. Moreover, you will have the opportunity to gain valuable insights from an interview with the Vice President for Academic Affairs, who was a distinguished speaker at the event. Embrace the empowering messages that permeated this gathering as you relive the transformative moments.