In Memoriam Funda Senova Tunali

Our friend and colleague, the vice chair of our department, Dr. Funda Senova Tunali, passed away on April 30th. We are sad and mourn. Our hearts are with her family, her husband, our colleague Erhan Tunali, her son Eren, her sister Basak Senova, and her parents, Isik and Ilhan Senova. Words can never express feelings. Our faculty, our alumni, and our students will deeply miss her. 

I was delighted to recommend Funda Şenova-Tunalı (Ph.D.) just last month for the I.D. Bilkent University Distinguished Teaching Award. In my recommendation letter, I wrote that Funda Şenova-Tunalı is a highly esteemed and dedicated design scholar who exemplary represents our departmental teaching environment in media design and artistic research. Without exaggeration, she is our team’s most vital teaching lead.

I like to cite the letter here further: 
“I have known her since 1998. She was my student in the Department of Graphic Design. Throughout her student years, Funda Şenova-Tunalı was a very successful student. Her craft and quality in her design works, her excellent working habits, and her creativity were far above the level of the group of students. Later, I became her thesis advisor in her MFA studies and co-advisor in her Ph.D. I supported her second master’s studies in interactive design in the Netherlands. This academic formation and background gave her a unique position and expertise in design, especially for teaching design in Turkey. It also made her a vital asset for any academic department to welcome her. She chose to stay with us in Communication and Design. 

We redesigned our studio education in COMD in the B.A. and the MFA with her. Her leadership emphasized design thinking, artistic research, and a strong orientation towards an intensive project and process—based learning environment to offer innovative and coherent education where the boundaries between theory and practice dissolve through artistic practices and research. Students are exposed to artistic production as inquiries and build their research activities on these projects to understand and contextualize meaningful interpretations. The B.A. graduation project courses (Visual Communication Project I-II) and the MFA program in Media and Design were at the center of this change to enhance artistic experience and research. She presented these approaches internationally in our accreditation body CILECT, receiving great interest and respect and opening up new, growing international recognition and potential partnerships.

Her relations with our students in the department are exemplary. She is a dedicated advisor in all situations, a teacher by heart, always available, never rejecting, and considered regarding the students learning success. Whoever you ask from our students or alums, you will receive more than positive answers, feeling the love she gives.

Funda Şenova-Tunalı is a fully engaged and excited member of the departmental steering team, always available and responsive, with excellent academic and administrative knowledge. Her presence and practice create a balance of studio and lecture-based education. Her students and colleagues admire her. Thus I strongly recommend her for the teaching award. I appreciate your consideration.”

Rest in Peace, Funda! With love, Andreas and the COMD family!