Saturday, 30 July 2011

HCT in RAK - part two

I am so glad I left RAK in the year 1 BC (Before Claw). The more I hear, the more I shudder in my retirement slippers. Thanks to my many dear friends for their anguished updates of two RAK colleges: once beautiful, now on the brink of a mismanagement catastrophe.... waiting to be pushed over the edge by an elderly American Mussolini with memory loss, and his acolyte Associate Director, a former student in the college (of whom more anon if I can get a full factual bio from my oldest informants).

Last month HCT told ALL (including Ras Al Khaimah) faculty and support staff who were leaving that they had to leave early, and would lose several months of severance pay. Whether teacher or support, they turned up on a certain Tuesday and were told it was their last day of work. Even worse, in some cases staff were phoned late at night by a student who was sorry to learn it was their last day of work, even before the teacher had heard it!. There was no written communication. It was all botched word of mouth, hearsay, rumor: very HCT.

HO! HO! DOWNWARD STEP A. When HCT was a professional institution with ethics and credibility and a mission to recruit and retain quality staff, it would pay to the end of the contract. DOWNWARD STEP B. Then, when it became mismanaged and disreputable, it paid to the end of the last teaching day -- to hell with the details of the contract. DOWNWARD STEP C. Now it's recalculating the last working day in its own mercenary interest.

HCT in RAK apparently then realized it was in deep wobbly brown stuff as it slowly dawned upon the management that many teachers would leave without finishing their marking of exams projects or portfolios and their input of grades. The college went into panic mode. Therefore, teachers were re-invited, or commanded to extend their service to HCT rather than take the extra leave days they had rightfully accrued with immediate effect!

In the RAK Men's College, a splendid support person responsible for maintenance, room setup for exams, clean bathrooms etc was arrogantly informed he'd be gone by the end of the afternoon. He then, meekly and with his limited salary, went out and bought a revised travel ticket bearing the extra cost at his own expense. Then he was told he could stay on until Sunday because no transition had been planned. He could stay on at HCT's convenience, but would still be obligated to leave early in order to save HCT RAK some dirhams it would be proud to report to its Abu Dhabi masters.

A wonderful lady was told she also needed extra time to hand over to her successor. A third services person who had served students in the library for a decade and a half had to wait until beyond her going-home time to learn if it were to be her last day or not as her elusive supervisor (the Notorious and elusive Associate ex-student now-Director) dodged her. A short reprieve was granted to all but the library person.

However, I was shocked to be told that support staff were not granted the reprieve accorded to Faculty. Professional educators would hope that HCT might act, at least publicly, according to universal principles of human rights, rather than petty fiscal savings that violate human rights. HCT would retain Faculty while dumping long serving services people.

Faculty, by pleading work responsibilities and the threat of litigation and internet-based adverse publicity, were granted their extension to 16th June. Support service staff, on the contrary, seen as helpless people, were granted the absolute minimalist extension for purely practical reasons so that there could be a smooth transition to their successors.

ONE SUCCESSOR IS THE BROTHER IN LAW OF THE ASSOCIATE DRECTOR. They were cut for budgetary reasons. The chosen one, the brother in law, was newly hired to take over. NEPOTISM? WASTA? Go tell the accreditation board.

The point of this awful exercise in bad human resources management was that management and brown-nosing people could then report back to Abu Dhabi on how much money they had saved HCT. They would not report on how much good will and corporate reputation they had lost. They would omit that. Focus on the figures, not on the vision. Do not mention the alienation of employees from the organization. No, keep the lid on that one.

When did HCT become so shabby? When did it become a mean-minded dispiriting place to work, and not a place of vision? When did it begin to take pride in screwing, without a kiss, its loyal faculty and support staff and stop rewarding excellence? When did it compromise its vision of excellence and settle not only for second best but second last?

SHAME on you all: Provosts (what a redundancy), vice chancellors, SCINTILLating brown nosers, Rudey people in petty positions of power, silent people afraid to speak out. The arrogant minority (those with no meaningful contact with faculty, students and support staff) go to these secretive macho management meetings dreaming up these grand schemes to save dirhams and cheat the long serving loyal majority.

As a result, the loss to HCT's reputation as a place to learn, educate, work and serve is beyond all our calculations, and certainly theirs. It was good when I worked there. When did HCT start to go wrong? Was there a single defining moment?

As a policy-maker now in my post HCT life, I urge you teachers who remain at HCT to take a bold step now: make a list of all those institutions and organizations with whom HCT has signed MOUs, and established partnerships, and inform them of the Faculty and support staff view. You also need to inform all those accrediting universities and colleges and bodies of the hideous truth. Speak as faculty, presenting facts. You need to speak as a unified voice, not individuals with grievances. That should be easy, given the majority view of management, and the factual and documented evidence.

IT’S YOUR COLLEGE, SO MAKE YOUR FEELINGS AND OPINIONS KNOWN!

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

The long and short of it here is that although we eventually worked the required number of days, as per contract, many of us STILL got ripped off when it came to getting the correct severance pay.

Yeah, that's a real good way to treat your employees with many years of service. Real good indeed!!

Tayeb Kamali said...

Eat your porridge and SHUT UP YOU VILE PIECE OF SHITE!

Anonymous said...

[As a policy-maker now in my post HCT life, I urge you teachers who remain at HCT to take a bold step now...]

Pardon the impudence, but what "bold" steps do you take as a "policy-maker" while employed with HCT?

Anonymous said...

Post HCT 'boldness' - there's a lot of that about!

Raja Karma said...

Too right. King Kamali does not value 'boldness' in his managers, preferring to place a great premium on conformity, compliance, and deference. Not to mention servility and sycophancy.

Why do you think he always appoints 'damaged goods' to top positions? There's no other way he could keep control of them.

And they certainly don't keep their 'boldness' under wraps out of respect for King Kamali. No, it's the cash, and the fact that TK could have them on the next plane home if he felt like it.

Anonymous said...

But the cash is getting tighter and tighter, according to this report in The National:

http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/education/fewer-places-for-students-at-federal-universities

It reports that HCT's rsponse to having a 30% shortfall in its budget is to abolish the Diploma program!

Way to go, TK!!

Anonymous said...

In fact, the report states the following:

The changes at HCT have been made with budgetary concerns in mind. The colleges have struggled for cash since 2005 and began overdraft borrowing in 2009.

Interesting point, that is - that HCT has been short of cash since 2005. And when did Tayeb al-Kamali become Vice-chancellor of HCT? Well, in 2005!

Some coincidence - I think not.

Tayeb Kamali said...

To Anonymous of August 4, 2011 1:35 AM:

You've apparently sussed me out. For years, I’d noted how our young ones had come to believe that they were of a "privileged" class and were due a cost-free education.

I disagreed with this in 2005 and I disagree now. We are, simply, separating the wheat from the chaff.

Might I add, you're lucky to have a job!

So sez I and I sez it's so!

Anonymous said...

"make a list of all those institutions and organizations with whom HCT has signed MOUs, and established partnerships, and inform them of the Faculty and support staff view"

The person who wrote this obviously doesn't understand anything about HCT's MOUs and deals with external institutions, or how it all really works.

Firstly, there's literally a box-load of MOUs at ACS gathering dust in a closet. Most of these have simply been self-congratulatory wank-fests and photo-ops for Sheik Nancy and his/her girlfriend TK. I was personally party to at least 2 of these meaningless exercises signed with VIPs with stirling credentials from world-class institutions. There are dozens, if not hundreds of these useless scraps of paper that have been signed and largely forgotten.

The institutions signing with HCT don't care about any of you little people or HCT's integrity. It's all opportunistic and about the money. Now that there's not so much money to grease palms, the MOUs have started to dry up.

The same goes for the institutions who are actually doing something with HCT, such as those involved with CERT.

Money simply flows into pet projects and away from HCT. Festival of Stinkers and Education Without Benefits are just 2 that actually see the full glare of publicity. There are loads of other spurious activities going on, that none of you know about.

For one thing, CERT is a black hole.

The MBA scam at CERT uses links to Harvard and Stanford etc. to sell the program for huge fees (but still loses pots of money), when in fact it is only faculty from these schools who are flown in at great expense and for obscene fees to teach the odd course here and there: (e.g. one Harvard prof was paid $120,000 US for a 30 hour module. a Stanford prof was paid $89,000 for a similar gig). SiJo is at the center of this scam, running the show as head of grad programs, and doing the bidding of the 2 top dogs - Nancy and TK.

The degrees have Harvard and Stanford watermarked in the background; a sinister idea from HCT Academic Deputy Provost Jim Pounder to delude the naive locals that they are actually getting an accredited degree affiliated with top business schools. It's all a shameful con job.

Want to know where a lot of HCT money has gone? You don't need to look any further than HCT Foundation - a topic so hush, hush that even top brass at ACS are scared to discuss it. "It's above my pay grade," was the response from an ashen-faced Jim Pounder in an ACS management meeting, when asked about HCT Foundation by one of the deans.

The general belief, of course is that it is TK's and Sheik Nancy's personal slush fund.

The bottom line for all of you in the trenches is - NOBODY (who could do anything, that is) CARES!
There's too much grand larceny going on at the top and too many noses in the trough (both internal and external) to worry about the peasantry.

Suggesting that anyone, including outside institutions or accrediting bodies cares if you're sacked, treated badly and generally abused flies in the face of reality.

You're all HCT cannon fodder, and nothing more.

Anonymous said...

Bo'b's latest act of presummed croneyism is to fly in a woman from the States called Cathy Chinn to do 2 days of stuff on special needs. What has Cathy published on special needs? How much Arabic does she speak? How many international conferences has she presented at? What does she know of Arabic learners? What research has she done on the learning difficulties of learners whose first language is Arabic? We look forward to finding out and will report fairly and accurately.
We presume, giving the benefit of the doubt, that ole' Bob made a worldwide search for the best possible expert available on leaerning difficulties, and hired somebody to slurp on the HCT gravy train who had no prior connection with himself.

Anonymous said...

thanks for your comment on its your college. make your opinons known. yes, that's democracy in education so here's what I scibbled and thought.


So innyway, but yeah Dr Jenny Chinn is one of Bob’s old PhD students (as so many of us had suspected) "and so one of the few to call him Bob" at their awful university.

Have a mediocre supervisor such as Bob. You get an even more watered down academic nonentity such as Chinn.

But, yeah. So. Innyway. One of his buddies. I guess that’s why she’s doing this PD session for free. Living out her livelong obligation to Dr Baaawb.

So yeah, innyway, but, that’s how she anyway connects her half baked ideas as she searches for her files and her responses. She has also used the pronoun I more times than any other presenter we have come across. How to account for this degree of self reference or ego as a presenter?

She began as Bob always does by giving a stupid half baked anecdote about her Ghaza experience. This is designed to serve to establish their credentials in the sensitive Arab world. They started off in the deprived area. Now, they have the right to milk the rich Gulf cow in their old age. However, they never have the ability and intelligence and awareness to relate their ancient Ghaza experience to our 2011 our modern gulf experience. They are of a bygone era. Commanding contemporary salaries and fees.

So yeah. But. Innyway. Poor old confused stage-strutting Chinn started off well enough by asking the audiences what classroom issues they had but she allowed the session to sink into a free for all.

Then she finally lost all control and so yeah anyway dismissed everyone for a Ramadan coffee break.

During the break, she perhaps realized her presentational mistake and reasserted control by speaking uninterrupted on matters irrelevant for the next two and a half agonising hours (11.30 -14.00) detailing American stuff ( stuff is one of her vague words).

Some fasting or numbed members of her audience were sighted slinking away before 14.00. So much for a speaker who preaches the virtues of engagement and motivation. In fact, Chinn often walks around her own lecture hall slapping people on the shoulder to engage them. So she says. Mercifully, she did not do her shoulder smacking wake up stuff today.Advanced sophisticated motivational stuff.

Then she went on to present how to engage students with study skills. It was all unoriginal . It was inane. It was what we all do already. It was the stuff of a basic teacher training course.

Teachers who thought it was useful either hadn’t been in education long or had a self-serving agenda to stick their noses into places where the sun dont’ shine. Mercifully, they were very few indeed.

Chinn didn’t know who we were. She was searching for history teachers in the audience. She admitted she had no idea what relationship there was between learning and learning disabilities and technology. She frequently deprecated her own technological limitations. She admitted she had no clue what connection the research shows between video games and learning. Shameful. Do the Google research, anybody. Later she recognised that students loved visual input and technology. So why didn’t she research the learning value of video games. Or the detrimental effects upon learning?

She came with a bundle of overgeneralized stuff related to special needs she had developed over her many years. However, like her ancient mentor Bob, she had no clue which stuff was related to what we needed here in HCT among Arab learners so she made her ‘specialist’responses all up on the hoof.

Please, bob, use local expertise in future. Don’t drag in these useless and irrelevant experts. I hope they’re doing it for free. We hope they’re doing it as a favour. Hope it’s not costing the bankrupt colleges anything to fly in somebody as second/third/fourth rate as this.

Anonymous said...

she's awfull.
and compulsorykinda of
butts on seat to show
bobs waning authority in the colleges

Anonymous said...

She's one of Bob's former Phd students and almost as mediocre as Bob himself.Now she's his good buddy. He rewards his buddies at HCT and UAE expense.

She began as Bob always does by giving a stupid half baked anecdote about her Ghaza experience. This is establish their credentials in the sensitive Arab world. They started off in the deprived area. Now, they have the right to milk the rich Gulf cow in their old age. but, they never have the ability and intelligence and awareness to relate their ancient Ghaza experience to our 2011 gulf experience. Bob, Chinn etc are of a bygone era. Yet commanding contemporary salaries and fees which should be better spent.

She was scheduled to speak at people in an auditorium for two days, from 10.15 to 14.00. Rows and rows of seats. She started off with an audience of about 150, there under command of management. By the following day, the audience dwindled to 30 as people decided to rebel against Bob's idea of PD and get on with more meaningful activities.

What another waste of the educational budget.

EnglishTeacher365 said...

I can remember at ADWC I was told at very short notice to bring my students to the Auditorium to be witness to some unbearably dull speaker from the UN. As I had student presentations booked for that period, I ignored it.

Then, halfway through the presentations, some Dean of something or other popped her head round the door and asked why my students weren't in the Auditorium, as per dictum. I pointed out that we had presentation booked, for which the students had been preparing for some time.

Still I was expected to cancel the presentations and move my charges over to endure the tedium. I refused.

Sometimes you just have to stand up to these jokers with titles - 'Dean' my arse!!

Anonymous said...

Stand up and be fired by directors who stay 'teachers my arse.' Teachers and students don't matter in HCT's prima donna wars.

I too was at Chinn's shambolic performances. bob should have been cringing and embarrassed. he's too far gone for that.

chinn, it must be said, came with a bundle of stuff related to special needs she had developed over her many years. However, like her ancient mentor Bob, she had no clue which stuff was related to what we needed here in HCT among Arab learners so she made her ‘specialist’responses all up on the hoof. bob would be the last person who could inform her. He can hardly tell which way is up, let alone understand and explain HCT's struggles to an outsider.

Please, bob, use local expertise in future. Don’t drag in these useless and irrelevant experts. wevwenb if they are your buddies milking the HCT system dry in hopes of a happy American retiremen. I hope they’re doing it for free. We hope these croney experts of yours are doing it as a favour. Hope it’s not costing the bankrupt colleges anything to fly in somebody as second/third/fourth rate as this.

Anonymous said...

So yeah, innyway, but, that’s how she connects her half baked ideas as she searches for her files and her responses. She has also used the pronoun I more times than any other presenter we have come across. How to account for this degree of muttering self reference as a presenter?
Could somebody please post her best publications in refereed journals here? We want to judge her against the facts.

Raja Karma said...

I could not find anything on Google Scholar by the aforementioned Dr J Chinn. Or have I missed simething?

Anonymous said...

You teachers are all so juvenile and need to grow up. You are stuck in classrooms toiling away iwth nasty boring students doing the dull work of educating them because you do not have the intellectual brilliance of Chinn and the management skills of Moulton. I cannot believe that you were so juvie that you went onto a website and spent your time punching Dr Moulton in the face more than 20,000 times. For God's sake, grow up. This is the beautiful benevolent manager who brought you a Hilton Iftar and Chinn. Have you no gratitude? Are you rats?
http://www.punchinthefacebook.com/punch/hct-ras-al-khaimah/dr-robert-bob-moulton

Anonymous said...

Breaking RAK news. SMS top secret from Abu Dhabi that they’re booting the RAK Associate director out of the RAK colleges.

Ali’s an Emirati kid who used to be a student at HCT and then grew too big for his own britches or wazir and he kinda fancied takeing over the place.

The CLAW tried to show this local guy how to run a college but this proud Mansoori had no time for the upppity snooty airhostess with her patronizing attitude to the natives, and many’s the fight we saw in the women’s college as their tempers clashed and they went storming off in different directions from unresolved meetings. Wonderful entertainment for the plebs. Then the new Mexican Moulton adopted the kid and tried to teach him the skills! Moulton. Claw. Teachers of management. Go figure, guys!

Now after a prolonged storm of criticism gathering from all sides, Abu Dhabi responds by pulling dumb Ali out. Next week there will be diplomatic communications. Abu Dhabi is also keeping an eye on Bob the Destroyer. Ali, who was being groomed for the RAK directorship until shit hits many fans, is just one more of Bob’s failure. It would have been a fairytale ending from the pen of TK: local student makes good.

Of course, HCT could change over the weekend, and keep Ali, retire Bob and make Tayeb a senior vice chancellor. Que sera sera.

Anonymous said...

Awesome if its true. Mean's somebody is beginning to pay attention to RAK out there in the wildnerness at last. Moulton's little empire, Moulton thinks running it according to his mad-king whims.

The toadies close to him, wining him, dining him, flattering him, whose life mission is to suck up to him no matter how mad he gets in his madness should begin to feel a twinge now. They have indulged him long enough. RAK's worst director, everybody says. RAK and ruin, with Moulton responsible for the ruin.

Anonymous said...

So, where's Ali? I knew him well in my time there. Glad I'm gone.

Anonymous said...

Rumour has it that now Ali has got his phd after several failed attempts. That mean's he'll be the next director of hct rak. He got lots of help writing stuff but then he just couldn't explain what he'd written in front on an external examiner. Finally they found a sympathetic examiner and so he passed.

Anonymous said...

A better rumour is that they are planning to can the director of Fujairah colleges and put Ali in his place. They are going through the motions of advertising the post of Director, CEO or President. What next as an HCT title? Master of the Known Universe? Fujaira would work out nicely for Ali as the RAK women's college is a no-go area for him so he could make a clean start. What a shame Moulton killed the good qualities Ali had and taught him all his own worst vices.

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