Tangül Başar retires as chief adviser

7/10/2014 Ashish Valentine, ECE ILLINOIS

Tangül Başar retired as chief adviser at ECE ILLINOIS, but will continue to teach. Lecturer David Varodayan will be joining the advising office in addition to teaching introductory freshman courses.

Written by Ashish Valentine, ECE ILLINOIS

Confronted with a tumult of possibilities before them, many freshmen enter ECE ILLINOIS feeling bewildered. Students venturing into advising offices for the first time can have a conception of the future in their minds that seems dark and mysterious, but also brimming with possibility. As they take their seats at desks across from their advisers and contemplate their futures, the value of the guidance they receive cannot be understated.

For 31 years, Tangul Basar has given students at ECE ILLINOIS the gift of that guidance, illuminating their minds with knowledge and lighting the way through their college careers as senior lecturer and chief adviser. She retired at the end of May.

Tangul Basar
Tangul Basar

Başar started her work in ECE ILLINOIS in January 1981. Between 1986 and 1989, she worked as an associate professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology, but returned to Illinois in 1989.

“I’ve appreciated the quality of students and other faculty members within ECE,” Başar said. “I’ve observed students going beyond the scope of material in their courses because they’re so passionate. They’re also doing quality research, and are prepared to make presentations at workshops and conferences. We have a great student body, and it's a great research institution. It makes you proud, to know you’re a part of it.”

As an advisor, she saw a broad spectrum of students, all with different needs. She helped them navigate ECE ILLINOIS throughout numerous semesters, find solutions when personal challenges affected their coursework, and learned to point them to other resources within the university for additional guidance.

Başar once taught a course at Ho Chi Minh Technical University in Vietnam, as part of a program at Ho Chi Minh at which Illinois faculty would visit and teach Vietnamese students who were learning the same curriculum covered at Illinois. She found it interesting to see how highly the students regarded the program at ECE ILLINOIS.

“It helped me understand how others around the world see us, and how much they respect Illinois,” Başar said.

She also enjoyed working with the department’s “top-notch faculty,” and that, along with Champaign-Urbana’s friendly, small-town feel, sets Illinois apart from other institutions.

“Everybody loves the community because of how much the university has to offer, so that's a great thing,” she said, adding that her children and their families still live in town. Though Başar is retiring as chief adviser, she is looking forward to staying involved with the department, and will continue to teach this fall.

“I love teaching, so coming and giving lectures will be very comfortable for me,” she said.

As Başar retires from a fulfilling career guiding countless students on their college paths at ECE ILLINOIS’s advising office, lecturer David Varodayan is joining the office with the same goal in mind.

David Varodayan
David Varodayan

Varodayan shares Başar’s passion for focusing on students’ potential. He said he joined the office in addition to teaching students in order to better guide them as they plan both their college and professional careers.

“Whenever I taught in ECE, many students would come to see me with questions about how to pursue their interests further at our department,” Varodayan said. “I’ve enjoyed helping these students and now I’m excited about being able to help them more.” By both teaching and advising, Varodayan hopes that his conversations with students will be better informed, as he will have talked with many of them both in class and at the advising office.

“I’ll be teaching one class a semester, ECE 110: the freshman introduction to electronics,” Varodayan said. “Teaching ECE 110 will be a great opportunity for me to interact with lots of freshmen every year, so there will be a good chance some of the students I teach as a lecturer will come and see me for more ideas in my capacity as an adviser. My interactions with students in class and at my office will also be much more meaningful, not just because of the additional knowledge I can give them, but also because they’ll be familiar with me and will be more comfortable discussing their futures.”

Varodayan hopes to be as helpful as possible to his students, and reiterated the importance of teaching and advising students at ECE ILLINOIS.

“The quality of our students makes the job of advising them have a tremendous impact on the world, and I look forward to getting started,” Varodayan said.

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This story was published July 10, 2014.