New Faculty Spotlight: Adjunct Professor Özge Hacıfazlıoğlu

adjunct professor Ozge Hacıfazlıoğlu smiling at camera long brown hair black scarf and sweater
adjunct professor Ozge Hacıfazlıoğlu teaching in a classroom

About Özge Hacıfazlıoğlu

PhD, Marmara University, Educational Administration and Supervision

MA, Ankara University, English Language and Literature

BA, Bilkent University, English Language and Literature


Clark, C. M., Olson, K., Hacıfazlıoğlu, Ö., & Carlson, D. L. (2021). Community of practice among faculty team-teaching education doctorate (EdD) students: A reflective study. International Journal of Doctoral Studies, 16, 379-393.

Hacifazlioglu, Ö., Kalkavan, B., Yang, C., Unlu, G. & Gurun, S. (2023). Cultivating teacher resilience through intercultural interaction and collaboration. Teaching and Teacher Education in International Contexts: ISATT 40th Anniversary Yearbook (pp. 307-325). C. Craig, J. Mena & R. Kane (Eds.). UK: Emerald Pub.

Showing the powerful impact of communities of practice by using them in class

Visitors to Özge Hacıfazlıoğlu’s sunny office should be prepared to enjoy a cup of Turkish coffee and some Swiss chocolate.

And stimulating conversation about the importance of building communities of practice that support teachers and connect teacher leaders and school psychologists.

Bringing people together to share their stories of teaching and research is at the heart of Hacıfazlıoğlu’s work. Teaching graduate students in School Leadership and School Psychology, she integrates a community of practice model in her seminars, intentionally putting students from the two programs together.

“School psychology students have more experience in theory and research methodologies, while leadership students have more leadership experience in school contexts,” she says. Students work together on research, which she wants them to enjoy.

“We work on how to tell a research story,” she says. “You have to feel the excitement. Your heart should be beating when you collect your data and do your analysis.”

Her community of practice model is designed as a “story-telling” approach to teaching research and encourages students to take risks. What often results is deeper research addressing crucial issues facing educators, such as equity and serving children experiencing trauma.

“Communities of practice are a great framework that leads to pathways to make change,” Hacıfazlıoğlu says.

Since completing her post doctoral research in educational leadership at Arizona State University, she has worked in her native Turkey, Switzerland, and United States teaching educators at the K-12 and graduate level how to use collaboration to create change for students.

“In each of those spheres,” Hacıfazlıoğlu says, “I have put communities of practice in place. They enhance diversity and inclusion."

Why communities of practice?

Teaching, Hacıfazlıoğlu believes, requires a community that both supports teachers in their work and makes an impact on children.

She brings this passion to her role as adjunct professor at Berkeley School of Education. At BSE, Hacıfazlıoğlu is a leader scholar in the Principal Leadership Institute and the LEAD EdD (Leaders for Equity and Democracy) programs.

"We are excited about Professor Hacıfazlıoğlu's future contributions to the leadership programs,” says Rebecca Cheung, assistant dean of BSE’s Leadership Programs. “Her personal experience as a higher education leader brings a unique perspective to our professional programs in both leadership and school psychology.”

As a global scholar of leadership, Cheung adds, Hacıfazlıoğlu’s expertise is a tremendous resource for BSE students and faculty.

Hacıfazlıoğlu has also served as a visiting scholar at a Swiss boarding school, and was most recently vice rector at a university in southern Turkey, where she helped train teachers who work with Syrian refugees.

“I loved working there. I loved serving as an academic leader there because you can see the impact you can make in the lives of those kids who need your help,” she says.

But it came with challenges. After two years of traveling between her home in Istanbul to Hasan Kalyoncu university (a 90-minute flight), Hacıfazlıoğlu felt the strain, and family worried about her safety. The university is 30 minutes from the Syrian border where there have been military conflicts between the two countries.

In 2022, Hacıfazlıoğlu joined BSE as a visiting professor and a year later was appointed an adjunct professor.

In addition to her research, Hacıfazlıoğlu can speak from experience. While teaching a Theory of Knowledge course in an Istanbul high school’s International Baccalaureate (IB) program, she was also teaching school leaders at a university how to implement an IB program at their own schools.

“I was teaching them how it should be done and at the same time I was kind of testing myself,” she says. “I was teaching [my own high school] students, grading students and attending teacher meetings. It was a very enriching experience for me.”

By Kate Rix
Kate Rix is an education reporter based in Oakland, Calif. Her reporting about school mental health services won the Education Writers Association's 2021 Award for Education Reporting. Her work has been published in USA Today, and The Guardian.