AUM Professor thinks campus is not 100% resort-style these days

Dr Burak Papadopoulou is gloomily sitting in his office while our AUM News Weekly reporter is interviewing him. He has been reading the article about his beloved institution and he is not 100% sure the article covered professors’ workplace satisfaction levels during the past few weeks. In his high-tech office, Dr Papadopoulou has a phone, a computer screen and a computer. “

“I do not like this screen,” Dr Papadopoulou confesses, “Look, my neighbor has a bigger screen. What is this? Does it mean he will be promoted? Or does it mean I will be terminated? Last time, when a friend of mine changed his office, they put him a smaller screen and two weeks later he was out.”

But what about the globally competitive syllabus that you are teaching, Dr Papadopoulou? Does it not satisfy your professors’ needs?

“Not at all. First of all, when I came here, I came for the lakes and the palm trees. I was given a campus tour and they showed me the Starbucks. Back then there was a Starbucks. Now, it is gone. I believe every resort-style campus should have a Starbucks of its own, preferably in the library. Now we all have to go to Al Arabia mall during the breaks. As for the syllabus, they told me I had to make it simple to fit the mini-academic activities and the academic activities days. So now I teach them how to add numbers from Week 1 to Week 4, and then I have some free practice. But I don’t feel fully satisfied… no.”

But, surely, you must do some “applied research and a focus on providing Kuwait with scientific and economically significant value and graduates of the highest caliber”? They say, this is Kuwait’s “oasis of learning”.

Yes, yes. I went to a conference in Dubai but we got sidetracked with the drink in the hotel. I could not go to the conference in Germany because Dr Rma said I have to get a ticket Kuwait – Lebanon – Greece – Lebanon – Sri Lanka – Canada – Kuwait, passing through Istanbul. You know, this Turkish wave I am not sure about, so I thought, let me cancel this conference. He did not approve my article on the significance of the love call of the bushtit bird because it was culturally inappropriate. I told him it’s a real bird but he is in Engineering. Knows nothing about bushtits.

But they say 7000 students are currently enrolled! That must, surely, make you happy?

No. I am a negativist by conviction, although I am hiding it. What I don’t like about the 7000 students is that now they are here, there is no space for us left. It’s student next to student next to student. In my class, they are sitting on top of one another. It’s a problem, you see. I have this class of 100 students. Before the proctoring rules changed I got to proctor them all by myself. I could not even enjoy myself. You know, usually exams time is when you get lots of fun – unfair allocation of hours, coming on Saturdays, overtime with no pay. But now, the colleagues don’t want to discuss this. They got scared about something and nobody hangs out anymore. I think I will get the summer money and maybe go. But I haven’t decided yet.

So if you could talk to a potential employee or student, what would you tell them?

Listen, the place is not 100% resort-like these days. There is too much going on all the time. There needs to be a balance between too much and too little. Look how my neighbor over there got kicked out. Spent here two years; scratched his armpit under the camera the other day. They told him to remove one of the visitors chairs in his office because university policy says you only should have one chair apart from your own in your office. If you get two or more, it means you are promoted. So they told him – “remove extra chair”. He asked “Why?” and HR called him, and he got kicked out. They told me to learn from his mistakes. So I am not saying anything about this screen. Just waiting to get summer salaries, then see if I get into Sharja. We have all applied there. Dr Henrique says they are real nice there. Do you know Dr Henrique? The math guy with the big head? Yea, that one, who got kicked out for…

This is where our reported left Dr Papadopoulou. One of his neighbors says he is still talking to himself. “It must be the stress,” he confided. “The place is not fully resort-like like it used to be.”

Breaking News

After terminating the entire engineering graduation project instructors, Jean the Apostle also known as the Graduation Project Baptist and the 5G Revelation Bearer became the only faithful member of the Spark Plug gossip group. Both men decided to give all students grades ranging from 92 to 96. This includes the D-range students. After all, they deserve it. The poor students shelled out so much money anyway. AUM News Weekly is impatient to hear what kind of grades the final exams will reveal.

Jean, also known as Dr Y.L., did this out of charity. It is a well-known fact that charity is one of the highest virtues. Dr Y.L., apostle and follower, is just trying to create a student-oriented environment. Hopefully his career at AUM will not end in martyrdom. But even if it does, AUM will be finding new faculty to fill his place. Recently-interviewed professors have shared new salary scales with us.

To infom everyone here, a salary of 1200-1500 KWD is not worth your Ph.D. You can get a similar one at any school in the region and you will have more free time and greater academic freedom than at AUM. The strict minimum a new hire should be accepting is 2000 KWD. Anything below that is a mockery. AUM News Weekly knows of faculty currently at AUM earning less than that, and still doing the job of people hired at 2200 KWD and above. The rumor that you cannot negotiate your salary is a myth!

AUM News Weekly will soon be publishing the copies of faculty contracts for you to take a look, as Dr Flowers advised us to. We shall be highlighting for you all the illegal clauses in the contract. If you are brave enough, send us a copy of yours!

A Letter from a Concerned Professor

Dear AUM News Weekly, 

I want you to publish a few thoughts I gathered during the past few weeks that relate to the way we see our students and our work at AUM.

We are as good as our students

This is AUM’s motto. Most of us ridicule this, and we always laugh at that line. In fact, not a single soul at AUM takes it seriously. We do not because:

  1. No professor has a say in student admissions. None of us know what the entry exams are, nor do we grade them. We all believe the criteria are commercial, rather than educational. 
  2. No professor has a say in the final grades of  students for two very simple reasons – the gradebook contains countless assignments and quizzes for 0.0005% and the overall grades are constantly curved. AUM mistakenly believes that to be “student-oriented”, it must keep students busy all the time with tests and assignments, and that this must eventually be rewarded with a pass garade. We do not spend time teaching them; we spend time writing exams and tests.
  3. No matter what we do, students know that they will pass. Their diploma has 0 value. Not only is it not accredited, but it also has become the object of a moneyed exchange – “Give me, Doctor.” And out of fear of Student Afairs conplaints, some Doctors give. Many students are here because their parents want to marry them off for a better dowry. Many others are here to socialize. 

Only those of us who are at AUM for the money are actually as good as our students. And new recruits will be increasingly so as AUM will have more and more trouble recruiting quality professors. 

It is curious, however, that AUM demands of its staff something it calls “character “. 

A friend and colleague of mine took this picture when he was going for the interview. He was concerned about how he would work with people who have 25% technical knowledge in their Engineering domain. How to teach future engineers when you, yourself, have not acquired even 50% of the knowledge you need in order to perform your job? He told me that he wondered then if he corresponds to the “We are as good as our students” motto and hoped that he would be among those pioneering teachers to raise the level of that 25%… 

Four years later he is jobless for having only done his job, which is teach, and for trying to raise the level of these students. He was hoping to give Kuwait a future. But that did not go along AUM’s idea of what it wants to do. AUM raises a generation of students who know how to buy with what is not their own money, a generation of make-believe fakers who only care about looks, not about substance. So having a character to value genuine learning and knowledge is not part of what AUM means by “character”. “Character” for AUM means “shut up and pretend you are intelligent”. If you need to do something, go and pay some Indian/Pakistani guys to do it for you. That is why most AUM students fail both midterm and final exams, and that is why they have three midterms and a final of 20%.

AUM Exams Policy

Thanks to Spiderfatty­ and the Hookah Maste­r, at #AUM we have the­ most sposticated exa­m policy:

It is the on­ly university on eart­h that requires facult­y to produce four ver­sions of each exam. For exams taking place during different days, four versions per day. If your exams take place over 3 days, 3*4 = 12 versions. All of them different. Good luck finding material. A sad thought about courses with over 10 secions… They may need up to 20 versions. Are you looking forward to socializing in the control room? Maybe you will find your soulmate there.

Rumor has it that is also h­ow Hookah Shops work ­in Egypt. You have to­ produce four bills f­or each customer. The more the customers, the more varied the bills. 

Iro­nically, the exam weig­ht is 20% (of course) b­ecause it is complemente­d with a very sophist­icated grade distribu­tion scheme for which­ #Spiderfatty won the ­International Award o­f Can-you-be-more-idi­otic-i-dont-think-so. ­

The difference betwee­n the final exam and ­any other assessment ­at #AUM is nothing in ­terms of weight. The final ­exam, however, requires a milita­ry regime enforced to please… the… hmmm… oh­ yeah, the students. Of course, it is the st­udents who matter. It works for ­the students, mind yo­u, but not to teach them, rathe ­to ensure they pass­. Mor­e in – more out = more money. You get ­us! Sadly the professors in-and-out balance is not that stable.

Spiderfatty is a ­big believer of in-an­d-out methodology. We are sure you all felt ­it. They appointed a ­Nobody from the ­Hookah Master’s home to­wn to run exams. His p­rior experience in Hookah places was his m­ain qualification. W­hat did he add to the­ process, you might as­k. Many things in fac­t, but primarily nothing. But the proctoring ­improvement is eviden­t. Now you have to p­roctor more! Come on, you, ­lazy people! 

Ironical­ly, exams and grades me­an nothing. Let me ­tell you why… It doesn’t­ matter what the stud­ents get, you will be ­asked to curve the re­sults. If you don’t, ­our beloved AUM will­ do it for you. Be thankful. Every semester­ AUM kindly curves the­ results for 2000 stu­dents in average. Of ­course, our admission ­is booming. Who wouldn’t go for it?