AUM Students Being Honoured…

IMG-20170616-WA0003Above is a picture taken in 2016. AUM students’ full names along with their GPA were displayed like this for everyone to see. A good way of celebrating success you think? Not exactly. There are at least two levels on which this was wrong:

  1. Students were embarrassed to see their full names along with their GPA stuck on the wall for everyone to see. Many were complaining to their instructors that this was a breach of privacy. Yes, the same privacy that AUM so much likes to brag about when it forbids faculty to publish research that involves students from AUM. Explain to us please why we cannot do anonymous, confidential scientific research with the students while you publish their names along with their GPA for absolutely everyone to see?
  2. The GPA of female students was displayed publicly and on this picture you are actually seeing two male students gloating at the names of female students, joking around with the GPA they have obtained. Many of the female students were livid! Can we ask if this was an attempt at match-making?

Students, this is one of the many examples of how little you count for AUM. They only SAY to you how student-centred they are. They are not. You are business for them and they will use your pictures, your work and anything you bring to this place to advance their own agendas. How many of you have been forced to appear on camera? How many of you were asked before footage was shot if this footage can actually be used? For how much did you sell your faces? Was it for 3% on top of a grade you got? Will you be happy one day that your face was, and might still be, out there for everyone to see? How many of you have had Student Affairs shout at them that they do not deserve the grades they got while they were trying to persuade you to agree to appear on a poster?

You can always say no. You can always tell AUM staff that you will call your lawyers!

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Teaching Excellence at AUM? You wish!

'I understand that Mrs. Doan is retiring at the end of the semester.'
The excellence and quality of teaching at AUM next year and forever until the day it becomes a mall.

After AUM fired 3 awarded faculty (for excellence) this year, all from the Liberal Arts Department, and 2 more with excellent international qualifications from the same department, we wonder how many it will recruit, from where and with what qualification.

AUM also terminated or received the resignations of nearly 50 people this year. You can refer to ACMAUM Review for details here. The turnover rate is phenomenal! One thing at least in which AUM are leaders – keeping faculty scared, overworking them, disrespecting them and terminating them for no reason, while continuing to overwork the rest.

Above is what teaching quality at AUM will be like for next year and forever and ever until the place becomes a mall. Do yourself a favour, do not even consider accepting a contract at AUM!

Meanwhile, non-fired faculty will be having great fun with fully paid for ready-made projects. They will have to decide whether to pass those students or to fail them and then face the wrath of Student Affairs and their “but we cannot prove it, so give them an A” replies. Take a look:

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Phobia-stricken AUMer ready to do anything

28-year-old multiple probation AUMer Fahad told our correspondent he is ready to do anything.

Fahad developed classroom phobia in his freshman year after attending the class of a dramatically terminated professor whose mid-semester departure left Fahad in a state of utter helplessness as newly-recruited TA from Georgia refused to give him an A.
“Since then, I have been going from office to office. I have also been praying for an A. I am an A student, but everyone refuses to give it to me. I enrolled here because the advertisement said if you believe it, then you will make it happen. So I am trying very hard to make it happen every semester.”

Fahad has already been at AUM for 5 years and is still trying to graduate. His classroom phobia has been worsening as new Ph.D. recruits took over his major.
“Student Affairs told me my disability will be taken into account. They gave one of the doctors the permission to give me a make-up in his office. They also asked another to give me a curve. But they still put me on probation for the 5th time and I have to pay from my pocket.”

Along with his friend Omar, Fahad had to take Introduction to Math no less than 4 times. The first time, they failed it because, according to their statement, “the doctor was told to not have too many As in the section.” In order to balance out the way the grades look, he had to have a couple of Fs, so he selected two of what he thought were his worst students, based on attendance. As Omar and Fahad had accumulated a high amount of late and absent marks due to Fahad’s classroom phobia, the cruel professor failed them on one of the 18 midterms. This was enough to tip the balance in their disfavor.

As Omar and Fahad head towards the local Indian sweatshop to pay for the academic activity deliverable they ordered, Fahad promises our correspondent: “I promise you one thing. I will graduate no matter what! I will have that graduation dinner with my whole family. I am ready to do anything for it. I said to the doctor this semester… Anything, doctor. You name it and I will do it. But give me an A.”

New Graduation Projects Ahead…

Spiderfatty and his new minions, the newly-formed gossip group, led by the Baptist and the Spark Plug along with the new dean Mr Couch Potato, have decided to reform the graduation projects. The previous reform had been done by the Hookah Master and the Minion. And even before that by Dr Jujubee himself. But AUM cannot have policies by people who are no longer with them – the moment someone leaves, everything must change. The moment the woman who designed the petty cash form it out, the whole place will be buzzing with creative people busy with new layouts for the petty cash… AUM changed the look of its official papers and its color scheme as many times as a designer in Marketing was fired. Same goes with the projects. We should not forget that when the Meek took over on his own for a period of time, he basically acted as if he had invented everything by trying look very wise and following the Hookah Master everywhere and in everything (more updates on the Meek’s new life coming soon).

Anyway! What is new with the graduation projects? While we might agree that change is good, “change is whate we do” to quote the AUM website, the Gossip Group has shared with us their idea of things. Wait for it … Are you ready for it? Graduation projects will be taught in classrooms with unified assignments. Isn’t this an amazing idea to kill off the scanty originality and uniqueness our students were capable of? But why, you may wonder? What is wrong with this? Good question! It is because HR and Registrar are confused. The assistants don’t get it. That means the Lady D doesn’t get it either. Nobody gets it. This shows you clearly how AUM works – faculty need to please the services that are supposed to be of service to them, not the other way around. Of course, if you get your idiotic faculty (and the Gossip Group) to follow the mighty orders from Spiderfatty, this will have unsurpassed results, usually ending in general chaos. Meanwhile, the Spark Plug will be extending his support to Patrick Star – the new robotics club leader who deals in fake robotics achievements (MORE on that latter).

So here are the advantages of the newly proposed graduation project scheme:

1)            Pay the faculty less

2)            The Egg knows what he is doing

3)            Lady D understands something for the first time

4)            Spiderfatty reaches his aim of making Engineering projects exactly like HR capstone projects

5)            The gossip group get to implement an idea for the first time

No one cares about best practice worldwide. No one cares about how well this worked for the students over the last few years and no one cares about academic integrity. Welcome to AUM!

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 kuwaitbusinessreview.com 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.”

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%.