Read all about it right here! The crazy goings-on at Abu Dhabi Wankers' Camp ... er, sorry - Abu Dhabi Women's College!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

ADWC 'Supervisor' exposed!

I recently received an email from two former ADWC employees, both complaining about a certain unnamed (as yet) supervisor and their bullying tactics at work. The paragraphs below are just as I received them.

Teacher 1. I thought was doing fine at my new college (ADWC) until the department had a new supervisor appointed in the middle of the academic year. From that moment on, everything that I did appeared to be wrong, and I was constantly criticized in front of both students and colleagues. In the end the whole business got me down so much that I had to quit at the end of the year.

What happened to me? Well, I had begun to suffer from nightmares, had trouble sleeping, felt almost constantly jumpy, and my family noticed that I had become persistently grumpy and negative. I seemed to pick up every small illness that was going round the college, leading me to take many days off sick, which of course led to even more criticism from my supervisor, and caused a good deal of friction with my colleagues, who resented having to cover my classes so frequently.

My supervisor was extremely artful in persistently devaluing and demeaning my contributions to the department and harassing me to complete work (which I had readily volunteered to do) or do it again. Apparently, my standards of work were not high enough for HCT!

Later I discovered I was not the only one who had suffered at the hands of this supervisor. A chance meeting with a teacher from another HCT college revealed the same grisly truth about this inadequate sociopath.

Teacher 2. I was also bullied by the same supervisor, but at a previous HCT college. Unfortunately I used to get very upset about what was said to or about me, and I would try to forget about it by drinking. I eventually found the verbal intimidation and stress too much, experienced failing health, and also had to resign at the end of the academic year.

I was team leader when the new supervisor was appointed, and it immediately became clear that we had lost one very competent manager and unfortunately gained a social inadequate, one who managed to virtually destroy the department after a few weeks of arriving. Within a month, three of my colleagues were needing medical treatment as a result of the new supervisor’s actions, and staff would regularly be seen breaking down in tears on campus.

This supervisor’s approach to staff motivation usually consisted of making disparaging personal remarks, employing passive-aggressive behaviour, spreading malicious gossip, passing off ideas generated by others as their own, and even resorting to the occasional use of abusive language to myself and other teachers. Many others were also affected by this behaviour, and complaints were made to the Director, yet no real action was ever taken. Just before I left the bully had even co-opted a colleague to participate in completely ostracising me from the team. In the end, I had to leave a job which I loved, while my former ‘colleague’ took the post of team leader.

We all need to stand up to these pathetic and wretched individuals, which the warped HCT management system produces with such apparent regularity. If these bullies are allowed to continue their campaigns of vendetta and intimidation, they ultimately wreck people's minds and make their lives utterly miserable - just like the bully’s own miserable and pathetic life, in fact. The only effective response to this sort of workplace bullying is to expose the perpetrators for what they truly are - useless, degrading, and rubbish individuals. Hopefully, through this blog, we can do just that.

I’ll reveal the name of this ADWC supervisor very soon. Before I do, let’s have the cruel bastard sweat some first!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Miss Piggy's 'Modus Operandi'

The piece below leaves us all in no doubt about the management skills of ADWC's "Miss Piggy" (Jeanette Drissi). Her favourite approach, that of the backstabbing and two-faced terminator, is patently clear from this classic example of HCT management intimidation.


Dear Dr. Hodge (Director, Abu Dhabi Women’s College)

I must request another meeting with you at your earliest convenience.

After our conversation of earlier this week, as well as earlier conversations with Ms Drissi, I felt better; knew that I would happily address any ADWC problems in semester two; and thought that all matters were at rest. Frankly, I had finally got the orientation that I had not had since September.

Then, yesterday morning, Ms Drissi called a meeting with Mr. Munns. Again, we three spoke with conviviality and I thought that the matter(s) was/were at rest. I, in fact, informed both supervisors of what I believe is low staff moral, owning to some of the problems that I had confronted. Please realize that I hear problems of the nature-described-below on a daily basis.

The following is my point-by-point rebuttal, in bold print. I must apprise you that none of the following was brought to my attention before Wednesday, 5 January 2011, after four months of employment. No complaints of this magnitude were ever made to me before now. On the contrary, I have had to self-direct myself as best I could since September. I have not had much support or direction since September, but, nonetheless, I earned a good administrative observation report, as well as good student evaluations. Moreover, I was shocked to receive the email below, given the good-natured conversation that I had with Mr. Munns and Ms Drissi.

January 11, 2011

Dear John,

Further to our meeting today, I am writing to express my concerns with regard to the issues highlighted. These illustrate a lack of professionalism on your part.

This was never brought up in any of our meetings.

Your behavior in terms of proctoring exams and other testing issues have shown serious breaches of test security.

Student classroom decorum at ADWC has been surprisingly negative ever since my arrival, especially for a tertiary institution. There were never any orientation sessions of what classroom rules should be, or that classroom management would even be necessary among young adults at college in a conservative country. I was astounded at the ADWC ‘culture’ which I walked into. Speaking with longer-serving teachers, many not very sanguine, I was told that ADWC student misbehavior is historic and endemic. Veteran teachers attest that ADWC student academic interest has become less, as behavior has become worse. I was given no classroom management instruction until I conversed with Ms Jo Probert, again not until January 2011, about what I should do, or what authority I would have in disciplining students.

Until Ms Drissi’s very late-in-the-semester appearance, no one ever informally observed any class which I taught - in fact, I thought management’s absence from my classes owed itself to their satisfaction with me. I took it to mean that the students had said that I was ‘nice,’ but taught well, and that this had somehow got back to management.

Laptops, surfing the net, earpieces, telephoning, texting and tardiness occur habitually by students in the ADWC classroom; even opened conversation as I instructed. Talking in Arabic during examinations has transpired previously even after I requested silence. Often my verbal requests go unheeded because there is too much extraneous noise in the classroom. At the moment of the above-referenced examination, four months of student classroom indecorum had already passed without so much as an ADWC management whimper!

Frankly, during my hiring process, “life” at ADWC was misrepresented to me. (1) I had no idea that I would be at the ‘desert’ campus. I thought that I would be in the city of Abu Dhabi, not a 45 minute bus ride away, unable to leave campus even to go to the pharmacy when I was ill. (2) I had no knowledge that I would have to commute nearly three hours daily, thus working a 12 to 13 hour day from household door back to household door. (3) I did not expect a lecturer’s schedule to be from 8 am to 5 pm mandatorily and daily. (3a) The work schedule, plus the commute, means that I get up at 5:30 am, and that I am not back in my home until 6:30 pm. (4) I was not told that the “settling-in-allowance,” in fact, was a loan, which until repaid, binds me to the ADWC in a form of peonage. Likewise, I did not expect to have to manage and to teach student behavior at a “college.”

The patented administrative response to date is that all information is on the ADWC computer “Portal.” One, this is not true. Two, the response confuses data with information. Can the information be readily located and meaningfully utilized? If not, it is only data which a newly arrived employee may not have time to cull through. In fact, after management’s misrepresentations, coupled with the 12 to 13 hour daily work schedule, I am too tired, and have too much work, to search the computer “Portal.” In an educative institution, where people matter, a computer should be no substitute for face-to-face orientation. At ADWC, the “Portal” is a gimmick for management who cannot be bothered.

The catch-all management retort, “It’s on the computer,” is merely a cover for poor managerial organization. It is also an excuse for not beginning the preparation of the newly arrived staff early enough. I requested that ADWC Human Resources (HR) bring me to Abu Dhabi as early as 20 August 2010, because I could foresee that I would not have enough time to settle and to prepare to lecture in a new university-level post. HR's response to me was, “Why do you want to come early?”

I was astounded that I could foresee five months into the future, to possible problems, even before having landed in the United Arab Emirates. What is flabbergasting to me is that ADWC could not. Perhaps HR's response, “Why do you want to come early?” owes itself to the fact that ADWC management’s summer holiday could not be interrupted. Could ADWC management not foresee that only one week would not be enough time to prepare for college-level classes in a new country? This showed me, even before I was in-country, that ADWC management does not care until there is a problem, at which time the desired solution is the issuing of warning letters and dismissals.

You have marked students’ work in a way that shows little regard for the criteria in place.

I was only given a criterion after I asked for one. There was never a staff meeting in which all were told at once, “Do this, do that.” I was given a criterion confected by another teacher and instructed “to use it, change it, or use my own.” Thus, I ask, what criteria were in place which all staff was uniformly apprised of? My answer is ‘none.’ In turn, I made the decision to be popular with my students, purvey knowledge, and to help as many students to pass as I possibly could. I determined that no student would complain to management about me.

This should not be taken as cheating or as having little regard for criteria. It should be taken as having academically weak, disinterested and poorly disciplined students whom I had ‘to win over’ in order to avoid their complaints to my supervisors; student complaints that are legion and legend in the Arabian Gulf.

An ADWC veteran teacher, with experience at the ADWC sister college in Dubai, as well as Abu Dhabi, told me that ADWC managers never know which complaining student has ‘connections’ or ‘power.’ As a result, since ADWC management will not risk itself or its salaries, and the students might be connected or powerful, thus it is the teachers who must be to blame. Besides, if students did not have to complain about teachers, then ADWC management would not have to be bothered…so goes ADWC-‘logic.’

The lesson I observed (as a drop-in) was one for which no instructions were given to the class and no teaching was taking place.

Ms Drissi dropped in on a lesson after Christmas holiday, at the end of the academic calendar. The teachers’ union under which I worked at ‘home’ would never have tolerated any observation at that moment of the academic calendar. It would have been a flagrant labor violation, dismissed in any labor arbitration process. Will someone explain to me why Ms Drissi was on holiday for two weeks prior to her ‘drop-in’ observation? No one else was on holiday. The teaching staff worked through Christmas!

Moreover, Ms Drissi arrived after the beginning of class. Instructions had already been given. The students had already informed me that the semester was over; that they did not want to do any class…home…or extra work; rather they were desirous of preparing quietly for final examinations. They reminded me that I had completed the requirements of the course outlines; in the case of reading classes, I completed the course outlines ahead-of-schedule. Of course, the students did not work quietly. However, a lack of classroom quiet-study was in keeping with the low level of dedication, and high level of academic disinterest, which many ADWC students had exhibited since September 2010. During this five month period, management said nothing to me and I got along with the students well.

To my credit, during the Ms Drissi’s ‘drop-in’ observation, I worked with low-mark and failing-students to finish their late work in order to boost their grades or to assure that they passed the course. Of course, no mention of my dedication to these ‘weak’ students is made.

Only Mr. Stephen Munns observed me this semester and I received a favorable evaluation from him. Additionally, the students observed me every day and, according to Ms Drissi, their student evaluations of me were high.

I know the Arabian Gulf well. You teach a little bit and keep people happy. ADWC management functions the same way. You never know which quibbling student has ‘connections’ or ‘power.’ You do not over-challenge or over-discipline ‘Gulf’ students. We teachers and managers are foreigners. It is the students’ country. This philosophy is used by ADWC managers to keep their jobs. Why does ADWC management not extend the same courtesy to its teachers?

You have taken a day off work without notifying the office when you had interview duty and exam marking for the entire day.

Guilty. On Wednesday, 5 January 2011, when management’s dissatisfaction with me was first demonstrated (Although nothing had been ‘wrong’ for four months!), I was admittedly so fearful and angry that, the following day, Thursday, 6 January 2011, I sought labor, legal and employment advice in expectation of being immediately dismissed from ADWC. Rumors abound about ADWC’s instantaneous dismissals. Who can be thousands of kilometers from home and suddenly without an income or lodgings?

You did not come in for part of a day when you had lessons timetabled, although you were not sick.

I suppose that this is in reference to one day, perhaps three months ago. I had ADWC mandated business, in the morning, in the ‘city’ with other ADWC employees. I expected ADWC to provide transport back to campus afterwards. I was never informed that I would be responsible for paying for a taxi cab to the Khaleefa, ‘desert’ campus, 45 minutes from Abu Dhabi city. Another employee and I attempted to arrange ADWC transport from the ‘city’ to the ‘desert’ campus. On two occasions the ADWC transport was canceled by ADWC.

While awaiting the transport, before and during its two cancellations, I went to open a bank account. Even after more than 30 days in-country, I was still carrying in my pocket thousands of dirhams daily, both my settling-in ‘loan,’ as well as a first month’s salary. No one in management ever showed any interest in this ‘issue.’ In fact, I was misinformed by ADWC and told to await the issuance of my Emirati identification card (ID) before I could open a bank account.

While awaiting ADWC transport, I walked to the bank ‘just to see what would happen.’ At the bank, I was told that ADWC was wrong; that my passport was good enough to open a bank account; that I should not wait for an Emirati ID because it would take too long; and that it was dangerous to walk about with so much cash in one’s pockets for 30 days or more. I willing informed Ms Drissi of all the above. She said that in future that I was expected to pay for transport even if I was on ADWC business. No, there are no reimbursements. That was at least three months ago. This issue has not been spoken about since then…except for now.

You appeared frequently unclear about what to do this semester, due to not reading emails properly.

How can ADWC management determine if I read ‘properly’? Newly hired teachers whom I have overheard, and to whom I have spoken, feel that the ADWC electronic mail ‘system’ is abused. Thirty ‘emails’ in the period of 50 minutes (I counted once!), especially at the beginning of one’s first semester, are only relevant to someone who is already familiar with the institution. A ‘new-hire’ is left reading disjointed data with acronyms, abbreviations and names that have no points of reference. Imagine: We do not expect our students to do such because we know that reading disjointed data with no prior references is not an effective learning tool. ADWC management subjects its newly hired teachers to a confounding and confusing computer practice. If we teachers dared to relate to our students in such fashion, our lesson plans would immediately be called into question.

This conduct is having an adverse affect on your colleagues and the department’s overall performance.

My conduct in no manner adversely affected my colleagues. On the contrary, I am well liked; disliked perhaps by only one member of staff out of a group of 50 or more. In particular, I am well liked by my students – something that I made a priority. If it were not for the many years that I have already taught, there is no way that I could have literally improvised, as ADWC obliged me to do, throughout the first semester of 2010-2011. ADWC should express its gratitude to me that I did so well for it, despite so little assistance that it offered me.

Please accept this as a formal written warning, and understand that any subsequent performance failings will result in a failure to pass probation.

I will happily leave ADWC, effective 6 February 2011, if I am granted a letter of release and liberation from my “settling-in-allowance”-cum-debt of 30,000 dirhams. I may want to remain in the United Arab Emirates, but I absolutely do not need to work at ADWC. Frankly, ADWC must decide if it wants me.

Yours sincerely, No, yours sincerely,

Jeanette Drissi John Hamilton

cc Martyn Forsey, HR Office

Saturday, June 11, 2011

'The Claw' scratches deeper and deeper into the mire...

Lately there have been rumours about rumours regarding the imminent departure of ADWC’s ‘new’ Director, Dr Kathleen Hodge. Well, it all appears to be final now, and quite inevitable, given her academic qualifications, her past experience, and her integrity – much too good for HCT!

Of course, behind all the recent shenanigans there lurks the evil shadow of The Claw (pictured with her trademark sickly smile alongside), who has been busy at work undermining the sound and principled work of Dr Hodge. For example, several English teachers were recently ‘asked’ by The Claw (a.k.a 'Doctor' Christine Luscombe-Whyte) to switch departments to fill the gaps caused by HCT’s inability to recruit staff to teach IT and business, for example.

Now, this is most irregular, as faculty appointments are usually made based on a candidate’s qualifications in their respective area of specialisation. Indeed, it’s essential to have properly qualified staff for accreditation purposes.

Amazingly, it has since emerged that this open manipulation of staff has been carried out by The Claw entirely without the approval of the College Director. In fact, several teachers have reported being given the choice of either ‘agreeing’ to change departments, or finding alternative employment elsewhere. Such sparkling management and motivation techniques are the trademark of much-despised management goon known as The Claw, of course!

Inevitably, such abysmal treatment of the college’s most valuable resource – its teachers - will only lead to a bad situation becoming even worse. Resignations have been predicted to follow shortly ... and not just the ADWC Director’s!

And where will all this leave ADWC? Already unable to recruit enough teaching staff of sufficient calibre, it will now be reduced to scraping the barrel and forcing even more square pegs into round holes. The next academic year should therefore be a critical one for the college, and only a complete change in management can avoid the total meltdown of the place.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Education Without Budgets?

My latest report comes from a former ADWC faculty member of many years. He is keen to point out the expendable nature of western faculty at HCT, and how Sheikh Nahyan is even keener to maintain this state of affairs

The first Education Without Borders (EWB) shindig caused some upheaval among both faculty and management, as no one was really sure what it was all about. The only thing for sure was that lots of fireworks were in order. Two Canadians and one Middle Easterner, (claimed to be Lebanese, but may have been a Syrian, Jordanian or Palestinian), were given the job of putting this together, along with some teachers and “snoopervisors” who did most of the real work.

In the ever expanding desire for more fireworks the project went way over budget, and the two Canadians did not have their contracts renewed. Apparently, the budget problem and the insufficient number of fireworks had caused Sheikh Nahyan some irritation, so a sacrifice had to be made. It was unfortunate (but entirely predictable) that the Canadians were chosen as the blood-offering, because they were both very competent and dedicated employees. The Middle Easterner, unsurprisingly, is still working at HCT.

In my last year at ADWC I was instructed to accompany a group of students to the latest Festival of Thinkers (FOT) affair, as King Kamali was keen to have a packed hall paying rapt attention to Sheikh Nana's gormless introductory drivel. In the end there were far too many students and more than enough flown-in dignitaries, and yet the students and their accompanying tutors were not allowed to go home, or back to college - oh NO!

In fact, we ALL had to spend THREE HOURS huddled in a small back room without any refreshements at all. We did, however, have a wide screen real-time relay of the conference proceedings - without any sound! We weren't allowed to leave until 'His Excellency' had delivered his words of apparent wisdom and left the building.

Back at ADWC I complained about the abysmal treatment of staff and students alike, but I was told to shut up about it. Terrible, really, but it does sum up how little we are worth in their eyes.

The following year I left HCT. Although it was hard to find decent work back in my home country at first, I soon found something much more valuable - I immediately rediscovered my dignity and self-esteem. And that was something much more valuable than the two buckets I had acquired at HCT!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

ADWC - "a broken institution"

The item below appeared as a comment on a certain other blog last week. As it clearly pertains to Gulag 41012, otherwise known as ADWC, I have taken the liberty of appropriating it for these pages (and editing it ever so slightly). I do hope that the exceedingly well-dressed gentleman of the dunes pictured alongside, otherwise known as Dr Tayeb al-Kamali (who enjoys an extra-curricular role as stand-in for Inspector Poirrot) will actually sit up and take note of the way he is mismanaging the entire situation.

I don't know if this has ever been reported, but in Spring 2010, ADWC pressured 2 of the best teachers in the system, from the Applied Comm. department, to quit because of failing a student (deservedly).

The student, with major WASTA went on Arab radio and publicly accused the first teacher, named Cordula P., of prejudice, unfair treatment, cultural insensitivity, etc - you name it. The student was completely in the wrong, but of course that didn't matter.

The 2nd teacher, Andrew, went through the exact same garbage from this student. The teachers were ordered immediately out of the country until someone pointed out to TK that there was nobody to teach their classes. So they remained until the end of the semester before leaving.

I'm not sure about Cordula, but Andrew remained on the payroll until the end of Fall semester 2010/11 because he knew something potentially damaging and they wanted to keep him quiet.

The fallout from this mess continues, as Cordula in particular was nothing short of being the much-loved cornerstone of the whole Applied Comm. division. Several key Applied Comm. teachers have subsequently quit, not just at ADWC, but at other colleges as a direct result of this incident.

ADWC's Applied Comm. department was especially decimated by mass resignations last semester to the point that the programs can't be taught because they only had two faculty members left.

ADWC is a broken institution and a good example of the rot of the whole of HCT.

The above story is nothing abnormal in the history of HCT under King Tubby's dozy 'leadership'. He is quite happy to allow perfectly good teachers be humiliated by unethical students and then disposed of by the equally unethical management. It's almost become accepted practice there now.

A further example of TK's idiotic running of the place happened several years ago, when many IT teachers were not renewed because they had no Masters degrees. Quite why he had decided that teachers of typing needed MAs was never clearly articulated by the ADWC management, which is no surprise at all, seeing as anybody who is even remotely articulate would not ever want to be part of the HCT management Goon Squad.

The consequence of the above 'executive decision' was similar to that mentioned above - not enough staff to teach IT. As a result, an e-mail came round ADWC asking if there was anybody who would like to do a bit of overtime ... teaching IT!

So a situation in which IT had been successfully taught for many years by a knowledgeable team of experienced IT faculty members was transformed into one where it was a merely 'delivered' ... by inexperienced amateurs from the English department! In short, it was another glorious triumph for ADWC and their efforts to bring quality learning to the pampered young ladies of Abu Dhabi.

So, well done, King Tubby - your HCT legacy is really standing up straight ... as straight as your tie!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Those Poll Results!

Well, I'm more than happy to finally reveal the results of the 'Who's the biggest management wanker at ADWC?' poll, a popular venture which received a mighty 213 votes. The barchart below clearly shows that the most despised HCT Goon at ADWC is, without doubt, 'Doctor' Christine Luscombe-Whyte, a.k.a. 'The Claw'. This grisly specimen of HCT control-freakery managed to attract 37% of the votes cast, no doubt for her despicable management techniques and general all-round dislikeability. Well done, Chrissy-babes!

Following up some way behind, but still with 23% of support, was the bloated management entity known as 'Miss Piggy'. No doubt she'll be popping an extra cream donut between her large yellowing teeth in celebration - or will she be disappointed at missing out on the number one berth?! Sna-a-a-rllll!!!

Next is the fearsome faggot 'Dimbo', who could have pipped Miss Piggy for the number two slot, had his clutch of female followers voted in sufficient quantities. Must try harder next time, eh, Dimbo? And learn how to do your job properly, rather than bitching like the ageing bum-bandit you are!

The back marker appears to be the unfortunate Rula Al-Kayyali, also known as 'The Ruler', or more aptly 'The Vulture'. This shining example of quality Middle East management garnered a mere 8% of the votes, and appears to have dropped off the ADWC radar recently, so perhaps her masters have taken note of her lack of ability and removed her to a more suitable post - selling stationery in the ADWC shop?

Anyway, thanks to all of those long-suffering rank-and-filers who voted, and I hope that you are happy with the findings. Meanwhile, does anybody have a suggestion for the next ADWC poll?!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Better places to go...

Well, it now appears that Emirati students themselves have realised what a shitehole HCT has become in Abu Dhabi, and are now avoiding the place like the proverbial camel-shit sandwich.

A recent edition of The National lays bare the unfortunate truth for the HCT Provost, Mark Drummond (pictured alongside), that virtually ALL of the country's Universities are receiving more applications than HCT.

Overall, the HCT colleges have received about a thousand fewer applications than at this time last year, which is something like a 15 % drop. However, in AD the situation is MUCH worse. As the newspaper reports, "The biggest drops were seen at the HCT colleges in Abu Dhabi, where the number of applications fell by 27 per cent, and in Madinat Zayed [Abu dhabi region], where they dropped 45 per cent."

But Mark Drummond appears to be putting a brave face on things, claiming that it's all due to technology - "the decline could be attributed to this year's switch to online applications, which have allowed figures to be compiled earlier than in previous years."

Or not. Because the returns from other institutes in Abu Dhabi indicate an increase, as many Emiratis are now turning to the newer universities, such as Khalifa University and Abu Dhabi University.

According to a more informed observer, these two places are "really gaining ground with Emiratis." In contrast, the HCT Goliath seems to be running out of ground.

Quo Vadis, King Tubby?