An investigation of mission differentiation and specialization in Turkish universities in the context of strategic objectives

  • Nazife Karadağ Adıyaman University, Turkey
  • Betül Balkar Çukurova University, Turkey
Keywords: regional development, mission differentiation, strategic objectives of universities, strategic plans of universities, higher education


This study examines and compares the strategic objectives of the universities included in the “mission differentiation and specialization on the basis of regional development” project carried out in the Turkish higher education system and well-established universities in Turkiye. Therefore, the aim of this study is to determine how the goal of “mission differentiation and specialization on the basis of regional development” is tried to be realized in the higher education system and whether this goal really brings a difference to the activities of universities. The study was conducted through document review. The universities included in the study were determined by criterion sampling and two different study groups were formed for comparison. The first study group consisted of the universities involved in the mission differentiation project. The second study group consisted of the well-established universities located in various geographical regions of Turkiye. Data were analyzed through the content analysis. The strategic objectives of the universities were examined under the themes of increasing quality in education, increasing the quantity and quality of scientific research, improvement of communication and interaction with stakeholders, strengthening of corporate identity/structure/ensuring institutionalization and internationalization. The strategic objectives of the universities with mission differentiation are also analyzed in terms of leading local and regional development. The results of the research show that universities subject to mission differentiation and well-established universities have different qualifications only in terms of “leading local and regional development” and “strengthening community service studies.” However, there are also points where goals and performance indicators depending on these strategic objectives are resembled. The similarities in the strategic objectives of the universities show that the missions of the universities with mission differentiation and specialization should first be clarified based on a general framework provided by the Council of Higher Education. In line with the guiding framework, universities should establish their unique strategic objectives in the strategic planning process in order to contribute to regional development. 

Received: 20 October2021
Accepted: 7 October 2022


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Author Biographies

Nazife Karadağ, Adıyaman University, Turkey

Associate Professor of Educational Administration in the Department of Educational Sciences at Adıyaman University, Turkey. She obtained her master’s degree in Education Management at the Gaziantep University, Turkey. She holds the Doctor of Philosophy in Education Management of Gazi University, Turkey. She teaches graduate courses concerning education management, educational planning and economics. Her research interests include higher education, higher education governance, and higher education policy.

Betül Balkar, Çukurova University, Turkey

Associate Professor of Educational Administration in the Department of Educational Sciences at Çukurova University, Turkey. She won a PhD scholarship from the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) at the beginning of her doctoral studies. She previously worked in the Department of Educational Sciences at Gaziantep University, Turkey. She is the editor of the field of Educational Administration in the Journal of Çukurova University Faculty of Education. Her main research areas are educational administration, national and globalizing education policies, employment, educational planning and economics. She teaches graduate courses concerning educational policy, educational leadership, educational planning and economics. She has supervised doctoral dissertations and master’s theses in educational administration, planning, supervision and economics.


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How to Cite
Karadağ, Nazife, and Betül Balkar. 2022. “An Investigation of Mission Differentiation and Specialization in Turkish Universities in the Context of Strategic Objectives”. Tuning Journal for Higher Education 10 (1), 189-226.