Textile Engineering Department of Istanbul Technical University (ITU) is the first and the single one offering textile engineering education in Istanbul, and also comes first among the top textile engineering schools in Turkey. Its history could be traced back to 1955; the year in which the textile division was established in the body of Mechanical Engineering. The school gained its current name and independent status in 1983. Therefore, it is obvious that the Textile Engineering Department is fairly new compared to the history of ITU stretching back to 240 years.
Textile has been a traditional occupation in our country over the years since the Ottoman Empire, and the industrialization was initiated during 1930s by the government of the Republic of Turkey, however, its improvement was achieved by the private sector. After 1970s, textile and clothing industry, with its important contribution to the industrial improvement, employment opportunities and trade of Turkey, has become the most advanced and modern industry sector of our country due to its accumulated technical knowledge and experience. Currently, it works in close cooperation with the foreign industry as a result of its open structure. Turkish textile and clothing industry is one of the leading industries of the global world. Having such leading industry in Turkey, 14 Textile Engineering Department are located all over Turkey to meet the needs of the industry. The first textile engineering program was initiated in 1975 to fill the gap of an engineer, who has the ability to apply knowledge on textile science and technology to the engineering problems. Our department has always had the priorities among the others, and it has also the advantage of being so close to the heart of the textile and clothing industry in the country, which produces and/or coordinates the majority of the total production and also to the center of textile exportation.
The textile engineers graduated from ITU are successfully recruited by a variety of companies in private sector and public foundations. Number of graduates is now over 1400. The engineers graduated from Textile Engineering Department are equipped with the knowledge of the behavior of textile materials and the functions of machinery in textile and clothing technologies. They also have strong basic engineering knowledge, analytical thinking and problem solving skills, understanding of their professional and ethical responsibilities, high level of communication skills and they can renew themselves with their investigating character.
They are employed in departments of textile plants and companies varying from small to big scale, i.e., production, planning, quality control, sales or marketing or in agencies of domestic or foreign companies for textile products and textile machinery, concentrated in different regions of Turkey. The graduates who wish to carry out their further studies are successfully accepted by national and international graduate schools.
Parallel to the efforts in the Istanbul Technical University, Textile Engineering Department upgrades its programs in accordance with the requirements of the textile and clothing industry, and the international equivalency. Noteworthy actions taken are as follows:
A supplementary curriculum under the name of ‘English Supported Teaching’ was introduced in all departments of ITU in the 1989-1990 academic year, and offered until 1996. Students who enrolled in this program took additional textile engineering courses of 20 credit hours in English, in order to receive an additional certificate proving their ability to use English in their professional life.
The textile engineering curriculum was thoroughly revised in 1996 and implemented in fall 1997 to provide students more time for the development of their skills and abilities necessary for the engineering practice through the facilities such as the library, computer and textile laboratories, and the practical training in industrial plants. The total number of credits was reduced from 180 to 153 with a minimum 30% English requirement and the program offered by the Foreign Languages School in ITU became obligatory for students having lower scores in English proficiency exam and various common tests. In 2010, the textile engineering program has been renewed again also this time with 100% English requirement. The program has also become more convenient for both intra- or inter- institutional multidisciplinary activities. The Department still strives for the continuous improvement of its undergraduate and graduate programs. In this context, the Quality Assurance System was built up in summer 2001,considering the recommendations of ABET. Furthermore, Master and Ph.D. programs were completely restructured in fall 2001 to be implemented in the next academic year. Textile Engineering Program is accredited by ABET for a second time.