Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Post on behalf of heart aum: i.heart.aum@gmail.com

"Regarding the giant Rube Goldberg machine (or is it a Two-Ring Circus?) also known as the American University of the Middle East in Eqaila, Kuwait...
...
The time I spent at AUM led me to collect notes, typically once or twice a week, regarding the ongoings of this operation in Kuwait. While I had originally intended on piecing together an essay, I must say that I cannot, for the life of me, spend any more time thinking about the sparkling garbage dump known as AUM. Thus, I leave you with my notes in point form. I leave them not out of spite, but in an effort to fairly warn those who have devoted their lives to higher education and are currently seeking employment. Take from them what you will.

AUM’s philosophical components:http://www.aum.edu.kw/academics/. A more accurate description would be 4 pillars of fraud. To find them, one only need look to department heads and the CLO.

Delusional Megalomaniacs: a characterization covering those aforementioned pillars and extending all the way to the man in the white suit at the top.

ALL about appearances: look like you're doing something (“let’s keep those profs as busy as possible with meaningless, degrading, and (H)asinine tasks”). Don't bother teaching well, and don't bother grading properly. If you want to be a “good employee", give everyone great grades, regardless of their abilities. Praise your boss! Praise the chairman! If you can live with that... AUM is your place!

More on Appearances: from the sudden appearance of bicycles during graduation to show the parents how progressive AUM is (or perhaps to further delude those on top), … to the two-dimensional (literally) convention center… lest we not forget the white-suit-clad, ascot-sporting Chairman! What a picture!

Grading: Imagine first-year course averages in excess of 90% (indeed, I’ve even heard of 95%, AVERAGE!). How realistic is that? If you’re class averages are low, in the eyes of AUM, this means that you are a terrible teacher. So, many resort to handing out top grades for "character" only.

Are patterns of line-manager criticism of other colleagues in front of those colleagues' peersprofessional? They certainly are the norm at AUM. Better keep an eye over your shoulder, for you shalt be next.

Patterns of line managers making excuses for students: “Come on! They tried! It’s okay that they don’t use the one-click spell checker. It’s okay that they can’t subtract simple single-digit numbers!”

They will tell you everything you want to hear at the interview, except that they won’t allow you to visit current employees, diverting you with hollow excuses. I mean, if I want to secure employment, employment at a university where I can engage myself in collaborative research, should I not be able to communicate with these professors directly? What a complete sham.

Staff: With whom will you be working with? Can you find out? Why not? AUM certainly cannot publish this information online. If they did, their troubles in finding qualified employees would increase 10-fold. So, you can forget about talking to other professors during the campus visit. Perhaps you can find professors’ profiles online. Good luck with that!
If research is a pillar? What is being done? By whom? See above comment.

Professors have spent a considerable portion of their lives learning to be critical. Well, if you try that at AUM, you will be ignored for a while and likely fired once they have found another professor to dump your workload upon.
Along these lines, much of this professor reshuffling behaviour is academically reckless and irresponsible. In getting (or assigning) under-qualified teachers to teach advanced topics, AUM has clearly demonstrated just how clueless its leaders are. If not clueless, then hostile by design.

Do you love teaching? Join AUM—soon, you will hate teaching.

Too many times the CLO addresses the faculty as “dear respected experts,” but not experts to be consulted, rather experts to be dictated to. By what? That, perhaps, remains to be seen.

The CLO seems to consider himself as an Education Research subject matter expert. That’s great! This is what a CLO should be, at least in part. It would be nice to see some [of his] publications on that subject, or even ANY subject.
Be careful about pushing your students to the next level—and you WILL be asked to do so. When they underperform the following semester, YOU will be to blame! “But you passed those students last semester, didn’t you?” Unbelievable! I'll save the excessive use of ad hominems.
So, if this cycle of lunacy is continued, one might ask who will suffer? Well, it won’t be the university, not with the flow of tuition coming in from (perhaps some) unsuspecting students. One might even argue that the professors won’t suffer, at least not with a steady stream of cash deposited monthly into their bank accounts, and to be fair, many of us certainly need that. Beyond the dollar, however, there is nothing. ... Certainly, one group that will suffer is the students: What have they learned? How much have they paid? Their fake degrees will be laughed at anywhere outside of the Persian Gulf. Does the chairman tell them this? Or, does he tell them that they will be able to study at Purdue once they’ve finished paying him at AUM?

Join, if you need some quick cash. 
Join, if you're ready to play game. You can call yourself “Doctor” to the mirror all night long (that is, if you’re not completely exhausted after a day filled with frustration). While this might seem a bit unfair, it is also apparent that many of the successful professors at AUM fit right into this category. Yes-people to the end.Again, to be fair, there are some very good professors at AUM; however, they often don't stay very long.

Education at AUM is done “My Way or the Highway,” was a slogan I heard echoing from top half of the chairman, a man with little to no experience in academia. I would say, however, that he is seemingly adept at increasing his wealth through manipulation, and perhaps some other gym-associated activities, mirrors notwithstanding.
They will use "office hours" requirement to twist and turn you ways mimicking the soup-de-jour! For example: “You only have to be in your office for the duration of your office hours.” Almost immediately followed by, “You must be in your office for more than the allocated office hours.” Which is it? This is typical of AUM—Words flying from mouths seemingly not attached to any brain.
Be wary of the housing allowance they quote. It is far below what you will pay for decent housing. Also, they will try to trick you into a salary far lower than you should be getting by first setting the bar low, then proclaiming after the interview that they liked you so much, they can pay you a bit more. Nonsense, and probably NOT limited to AUM. Having said that, if you go… ask for 50% more than you think you’re worth. They are desperate.
It’s unfortunately that employment in academia is very, if not extremely, hard to find these days. Avoid the AUM trap, if you can. They are well aware of the difficulties professors face in securing good employment, and they will exploit this fact to feed their greed until you quit or are fired.

Be warned: For they will tell you research is a pillar.“Of course! We do a lot of research here, and AUM will certainly help you in that respect. I mean, 'come-on!' we are a university after all!” That is an utter lie. In this respect, your career as an academician will only surfer.

Try to not fool yourself into thinking, as I did--albeit very temporarily, that there is some value for yourself as an educator, aside from monetary gains, or for your pupils.

Random input: We were once told by one of the fourinept department heads (see above) that handing out grades less than 2% was forbidden. Why? "Oh, It’s simple! The Moodle system cannot handle numbers that small!" WTF? This is an example of how stupid and foolish the “leaders” think the professors are. Disgusting!

Fake: how about one of the deans asking for a lab to be set up with equipment that “had blinking lights on it” to make it look like something important was happening. Maybe this would be appropriate at a nursery school for lower primates.

A “Sacred Syllabus,” albeit with constant grade shifting to please the students… Ask the CLO about his syllabus if you want to be amazed at how much he can speak using sentences more void of meaning than the Al Kout mall has of class.

Command decisions coming down from the CLO with no explanation, even though we are the “dear respected experts.”

Military style: One of the deans tried to explain that experience in matters of the military leads one to understand that university departments should be run the same! How foolish!

Cowards: Deans blindly following the words of the CLO.

Double talk: If you join AUM, you will eventually get to witness some of the deans contradicting themselves IN THE SAME SENTENCE! (I think I already provided an example.) Not only are they corrupt, but one is tempted to conclude they are seriously lacking in grey matter. I guess that's for a "doctor" to decide... Perhaps one of the future AUM medical students could diagnosis such a problem. It could be part of the in-house AUM research that's talked about so often...but I digress...

Compulsive liars are not left out of AUM. You can find them everywhere.

Sexist... But not fired. Racist... But not fired: I was once in the unfortunate position of having to watch a “Dean” give a sexist and racist presentation, a presentation in which this person was trying to explain (again to the “dear respected experts”) how to teach and do research at a university. This person should have been fired on the spot, if not for the first instance of him giving that presentation, then for the second, without a doubt!

You, as a professor, will be fired for speaking up. However, if you, as HR personnel hire someone with a fake degree, you will not be fired… promoted, perhaps, but fired? No.

If you can bear temporary unemployment for a while, do yourself, your fellow academicians, and the student body a favour and stay as far away as is physically possible from the poisonous tendrils of the corporate collective known as AUM/ACM.

We are as good as our students: I realize now that the “we” refers not to the professors or to the guards (or even IT personnel), but to, perhaps, everyone else employed by AUM. That is one thing I CAN believe about AUM.
Alas, I grow tired… some final bullet points that I care not to write about:
·      Veiled Threats, bullying
·      Random decisions
·      False promises
·      20 page syllabus
·      Lies

By now, you've already a lot of warnings about AUM. I, too, read those warnings. Warning which I chose to almost completely ignore. In sharing my notes, I hope to steer those who are actually interested in education, and integrity in the same, away from the AUM circus of madness".

5 comments:

  1. Excuse me but what do you mean when you say "veiled threats" and "lies"? Are the conditions that serious? Were you fired or you just resign? You will help the others who may venture to teach there...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Every organization will have certain rules which an employee is supposed to follow. Your mail clearly shows that you must have done some blunder and got fired.
    Instead of releasing your frustration like this, why don't you take it positively and change your attitude. If this is your attitude, I am sure you shall not be able to work anywhere.

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  4. I publicly announce the collapse of this pseudo-university in 2015-2016. The Government will finally take the decision to remove this academic tumor from the Kuwait's cheek, Al-Othman remaining with the possibility to reconvert AUM in a big competitor for Gate Mall and all the other smaller malls around.

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  5. one of the adorable American University of the Middle East really amazing and most determinate American University thanks for awareness.

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