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More Crucial Moments at U of Q
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mesquite



Joined: 04 Jan 2009
Posts: 80

PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 6:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Overworked and stressed out students and teachers is the word on the street the QU student told me. He says the new program for Arabic medium students does not take into consideration student language levels and has lumped high and low level together. What is their placement test for?

Teachers work long hours and have loads of committee work in addition to a
crazy evaluation system.

Heard they also had to introduce a dress code for the 'inappropriately' dressed teachers and students (who by the way, are mainly female.)
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blastermill



Joined: 30 Aug 2011
Posts: 101

PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:08 am    Post subject: QU dress code Reply with quote

What about those slovenly male teachers? Some look like they belong in a rock band! Do they think they're in Fresno?
QU issues new dress code for students

By Azmat Haroon

DOHA: In a fresh move to restrict inappropriate dressing on campus, Qatar University (QU) has issued a new dress code and etiquettes for students, triggering a mixed reaction from the students. The new code, apart from forbidding tight and obscene dresses, also bans sweat pants, bermuda shorts and leggings from the campus. “Fad hair styles including unnatural colouring of hair, dreadlocks, or unconventional cuts are not permitted,” an e-mail sent by the university to all students on the weekend says.

Students have also been advised to use perfumes and make-up with ‘restraint’ and in ‘good taste’. The Arabic version of the instructions prohibits students from wearing abayas that are tight or transparent. Many students, who were surprised to receive the instructions during the weekend before classes for the Fall 2012 start, are asking why the Arabic version is different from the English and why boys have not received similar instructions. The new rules have infuriated foreign students who did not receive any prior notice about the dress code before coming to Qatar.

“The sections dealing with unnatural hair, tattoos, make-up, and perfume are absurd. All of those things seem to be done not for modesty’s sake, but rather to enforce uniformity among students. The individuality of students must be celebrated on campus rather than be suppressed,” said Maria Hardman, an American citizen who came to QU to study Masters in Gulf Studies.

While Hardman supports calls for modesty on campus, she argues that the new code goes beyond that and tries to enforce ‘conformism’. Although a section of students are calling the new dress code unfair and ‘unnecessarily restrictive’, the move has been welcomed by others who, in fact, have been demanding the enforcement of these guidelines since the previous semester. “This didn’t come as a surprise to me. Many students have been asking for a strict dress code, especially for Qatari girls,” a student from the Collage of Arts and Science, who didn’t want to be identified, said.

She said that as some girls are “dressed up like they have come to the Oscars, you can’t help but be distracted”.“I can understand the restrictions on leggings because girls wear tight leggings with short tops. And some of those who wear abayas have their fronts open,” she said, pointing out that one has to visit the campus to see what’s going on. But the new rule has caused anxiety among students who fear that more such restrictions in other areas could be in the offing.“If the university is willing to stifle individuality in personal appearance and dressing, will they impose similar restrictions on the types of research you can do and the creativity of students? Will certain subjects-themes-topics be banned due to their inappropriateness?” Hardman asks.

THE PENINSULA
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blastermill



Joined: 30 Aug 2011
Posts: 101

PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:24 am    Post subject: QU student complaints Reply with quote

Problems of the students of Qatar University

Thursday, 25 October 2012

I posted a question on Twitter saying: “What are the problems of the students of Qatar University?” I did not think that the reply to my question would continue over three days. After a long discussion, I have divided the reactions in four sections as follows:

Section 1: General Discussion

Everyone has appreciated the move by H H Sheikha Moza bint Nasser for directing the Supreme Education Council (SEC) to cancel the foundation programme and approve Arabic as the learning language. All commentators supported the call of Sheikha Moza to set up a channel of communication between teaching staff and students and work out to understand the necessities of students and find a solution to academic problems. Commentators stressed that Qatar University should take into consideration the international standards before taking any decision for the university. The decision makers should not forget that Qatari citizens are in small numbers and their role is necessary for human resources development in the country. The easiest action being taken in international universities for the students of Qatar University so that the students do not leave the university and the academic and professional performance will improve.



Section: Counselling

All commentators including students and graduates reached the consensus that the performance of Students’ Counseling Center at Qatar University is not up to the mark, despite the fact that Qatar University has provided counsellors for evry student. Only a qualified person can do the job of counselling, otherwise the courses will be taken according to the wish of the students not as per the curricula.

Some commentators believe that the counselors do not have enough knowledge about curricula of science faculty because they came from those universities that do not count hours but they consider years for courses (like the Universities of Arab and European Countries), or these universities are following the point system that is being adopted in several universities of United States (US).

Several commentators said that when the counselor did blunders and the students try to approach the counselor to discuss the matter or to the officials to rectify the mistakes, they were notified that the guideline of the university stipulates that only student is responsible for any error of registration. As a result, university or counselors are not being held accountable for any mistake. Some commentators said ‘we are of the view of the production of high quality graduates but in the same time we do not like the removal of any Qatar students due to the mistake of the counselor.



Section No.: 4

Several commentators connected the issue of students’ counseling with Grade Point Average (GPA). ‘Only Qatar University in the world is counting GPA from grade-I, why they called it GPA it is only for one semester, argued the commentators.The participants also discussed another problem of the students about obtaining grade D or what is called passing mark but the percentage declined to the alarming level. The commentators unanimously supported the move of Qatar University that the graduates must obtain good grade so they could contribute in the development of the country. But they said that implementing good grade throughout the courses is not fair because it might cause the removal of the student. They have also hinted towards another important issue to adopt the mechanism to improve the averages of the students who are being removed due to poor averages despite they did their best.



Section No. 4

Mostly students, rusticated from Qatar University surprised to see the method of rustication as they did not get any warning from the university or counselor about their average (throughout the courses) except last year when they were removed. Some students said that they never fail in any course of the university, still they were removed on the ground of that they obtained D grade in some courses. Others said that they improved per semester average but the improvement of GPA was slow. The university did not consider this improvement while terminating him.

A commentator claimed that he was removed from Qatar University and his only one subject remain for study so whey he could not give opportunity to complete this subject for graduation. However, the country made huge investments in the education sector so the Qatari students could study and join the local job market. The commentators raised question that why the average of rusticated students from Qatar University increased when they got admission in other universities? There are more than 600 Qatari students in the universities of United Arab Emirates (UAE) and these universities proud of them.We leave this matter to the Authority Concerned to bring about appropriate solution to save the Qatari work force from wasting and keep the academic level up to the mark.
The Peninsula
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blastermill



Joined: 30 Aug 2011
Posts: 101

PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The VP recently resigned.



Qatarisation campaign jolts Qatar University

DOHA: Qatar University is making headlines for the wrong reasons again. A Qatari assistant professor of Media Studies has resigned with community sources claiming that he is the 67th Qatari member of the university’s faculty to have exited from the university, according to latest figures posted on local social networking sites. Dr Rabia Al Kuwari, assistant professor of Media Studies, tendered his resignation last Thursday mainly protesting over what he said were the university’s attempts to discourage Qatarisation.

Al Kuwari’s resignation has led to a hue and cry in the Qatari community with people launching a ‘support-Al Kuwari’ campaign on Twitter.
Local social networking sites are also abuzz with the talk of the assistant professor’s resignation with nearly every commentator coming out in his support and criticising the university administration. It all started with local Arabic daily Al Watan reporting yesterday that Al Kuwari, who is also a famous newspaper columnist, had quit after he was refused unpaid leave for a week. A furious Al Kuwari emailed his resignation to the university president, Dr Sheikha Al Misned, with a copy forwarded to his department, the daily said. In his resignation letter, Al Kuwari has raised a number of issues, among them being lack of Qatarisation among the university’s teaching as well as non-teaching staff.

“The university is even denying Qatari students the opportunity to study in what is supposed to be the national university of Qatar,” he rued.
On top of it, the university has been removing Qatari students from its rolls and imposing a foreign language and marginalising Arabic, Qatar’s national language, he said. Al Kuwari said the university was harassing its Qatari employees and called upon a change of guard at the institution.
This is not the first time Qatar University is in the throes of a controversy in recent months. According to Al Watan, Al Kuwari was sacked by the university administration for writing a slew of newspaper columns against the university. Quite recently, a number of its students launched a campaign against the university on Twitter on the issue of ignoring Arabic as a medium of instruction for some key streams and adopting what the campaigners said were tough admission criteria for Qatari students.

The issue of tough admission criteria and denial of entry to many Qatari students caused so much hurt to some in the community that a few of them even approached the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) for help. “Many students suffered with no option with them to look for admission elsewhere,” the NHRC said in its 2011 annual report released recently.

Following Al Kuwari’s resignation, this is the latest salvo the community is firing at the university’s administration through the Twitter and social networking sites — this time again over their alleged indifference toward Qataris and Qatarisation, both among the staff and students.
“Ironically, it is only Qataris who are the target at Qatar University,” wrote an angry commentator on a social networking site.

“Al Kuwari’s resignation is detrimental to Qatarisation (at QU),” said another commentator. “Not using Arabic amounts to openly favouring non-Qataris,” said yet another commentator.
Nearly all the commentators sympathising with Al Kuwari and said they are with him and backed him to the hilt in his stand against the university’s policies. So there were complaints against him with the Vice-Presidents of the university (for administrative affairs and academic affairs, respectively) and with the dean of the College of Arts and Science. His termination was based on the recommendations of the university’s Professional Conduct Committee following the above complaints, said the daily. The recommendations were referred to the university president after Al Kuwari failed to appear before it to give his version despite having been invited three times. The president approved the termination. However, in remarks to The Peninsula Al Kuwari insisted yesterday that he had quit and had not been dismissed as claimed by the university. Asked why he did not appear before the Professional Conduct Committee, Al Kuwari said that since he had criticised the university in the media, he could respond to the committee’s questions only through the media. “The Emir has given us the freedom of speech so I am practising it,” he said. “Qatarisation is a basic issue at Qatar University because it is our national university,” he said, adding in response to a question that the ratio of Qataris is quite low in the university as compared to the ratio of nationals in other GCC universities.
The Peninsula
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16123
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 4:43 pm    Post subject: Re: QU student complaints Reply with quote

blastermill wrote:

Section No.: 4

Several commentators connected the issue of students’ counseling with Grade Point Average (GPA). ‘Only Qatar University in the world is counting GPA from grade-I, why they called it GPA it is only for one semester, argued the commentators.The participants also discussed another problem of the students about obtaining grade D or what is called passing mark but the percentage declined to the alarming level. The commentators unanimously supported the move of Qatar University that the graduates must obtain good grade so they could contribute in the development of the country. But they said that implementing good grade throughout the courses is not fair because it might cause the removal of the student. They have also hinted towards another important issue to adopt the mechanism to improve the averages of the students who are being removed due to poor averages despite they did their best.

So they are unhappy about grades mattering? It is university, after all, and grades presumably reflect student performance. GPA exists as soon as one has completed a course. If you have one course completed, your grade in that course is your GPA. Take a second course, and it is the average of these two. Seems to be not terribly complicated to me... but they don't seem to get it.


blastermill wrote:
Section No. 4

Mostly students, rusticated from Qatar University surprised to see the method of rustication as they did not get any warning from the university or counselor about their average (throughout the courses) except last year when they were removed. Some students said that they never fail in any course of the university, still they were removed on the ground of that they obtained D grade in some courses. Others said that they improved per semester average but the improvement of GPA was slow. The university did not consider this improvement while terminating him.

I haven't a clue what "rusticated" means. But, a "D" is not considered a passing grade IMHO - nor in any university situation that I have been involved with... In the US, one is required to maintain a "C" GPA average to complete a degree.

It sounds to me that - as is common in the Gulf - these students want to be given a degree based on their occasional presence and the fact that they are "real" Qataris... not on their passing the required courses for a degree in their field. Imagine the "skills' of an "engineer" who has a GPA of 1.0 or a "D." Even worse, a doctor... scary...

VS
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stonemason



Joined: 23 Jun 2012
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:05 am    Post subject: Moving on Reply with quote

Some of us ex teachers have moved on to better workplaces, some not much better but as far as I know nobody has moved to a worse work environment other than a chronic whiner whose whines need to be taken with a pinch of salt. With regard to FPDE where I worked until last summer (and am so glad I left), the more things change, the more they don’t. On transit using up my QMiles, I learned that things apart from major program changes, haven’t changed much on the top floor. They even gave contract renewals one month late! These are due beginning of December so people have a chance to make up their mind before the resignation date of January 1. People got them just before the new year – how much time does that give them? The fact that two people are leaving midyear plus another ten or more resigned before even getting renewals and way before the deadline indicates the general unhappiness with the new regime. I’ve heard the new 9 week program isn’t that great either but it’s probably too early to tell. It needs to go through a whole academic year before anyone can judge its success or lack of properly. Let’s see what happens by next June. There are some good things about it so maybe it will work.

The new gang is very much like the old gang. None of them was appointed in the open and fair manner required by CEA – i.e. advertising the position and selecting appropriate applicants – all were appointed without following CEA recommended procedure. So nepotism prevails once again; they just don’t get it. Putting a high school teacher with no administrative experience and who had to be taught how to teach essay writing to students in charge of a whole new program was not very smart. This person suffers from poor people skills in addition to a superiority complex. Students also have trouble deciphering the accent, probably needs elocution lessons. Then there’s the the brownnoser guy who managed to get his inexperienced girlfriend a job. Great recommendation! What about the Samurai who defies the dress code I read about in one of the posts. He needs a new hairdo, but he’s not half bad according to some, i.e. got brains under the hairdo. Then there’s the level supervisor/facilitator or whatever they’re called who was twice removed for incompetence and mismanagement back on board for a third time. How did that happen? Real nepotism there. And what about the new HoD who like the HoD of my time suffers from Anti-social Personality Disorder – i.e. no people skills and distance. The guy doesn't even know how to greet people properly unless they are useful to him. He has no flexibility and only knows how to behave like a commandant. People had high hopes at first but apparently just like the last one – maybe smarter however and maybe better organizational skills. The Arab guy at least is civilized and decent and deserves his appointment, likewise the new assistant head. So that’s the new gang at the top. I've heard most of the last gang have quit or already left for whatever reasons. The worst thing according to people who are still there is the unfriendly atmosphere and lack of teacher support and appreciation. This was bad enough in my time but is reported to be worse. All I can say, is I hope people survive and that the top floor realize that teachers are human beings who need to be treated properly in a civilized way. If they aren't treated decently, then maybe they should follow their ex colleagues and quit. The people who have just quit are quitting partially for some of the reasons I've mentioned. Hope they are all moving to a better place.
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stonemason



Joined: 23 Jun 2012
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:09 am    Post subject: Survey - commentary 1 Reply with quote

Quote:
Q1. Please respond to the statement below.

I am satisfied with employment in the Foundation Program at Qatar University.

1 --The FPRDS system does not seem fair and transparent. I do not know
what the scores mean, and I do not know how to improve my marks. I have asked administrators for clarification and their answers were highly
unsatisfactory and unclear. I believe that the 30% mark from student surveys is too high, particularly when I get lower marks from students for being professional and holding them to high standards when they would rather aim for lower standards. --I do not believe that the current direction of the(reorganized) Foundation Program is one that will, in the end, benefit the students, the University, or the broader community. I believe that the current direction is pushing standards lower. I feel that I am being asked to lower standards of professionalism and expectations in order to accommodate students' desires to have an easier academic program. --I do not feel adequately informed of developments that affect me and the department at large. In the larger sense, although some information has been passed out, it seems to be changed with frightening speed and regularity, such that I don't feel I can (in the longer-term) trust the information I receive.


This lowering of standards is still a concern but they have started a new program for the students doing Arabic - seems to be working from what I was told.


Last edited by stonemason on Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:45 am; edited 1 time in total
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stonemason



Joined: 23 Jun 2012
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:13 am    Post subject: Survey - Commentary 2 Reply with quote

Quote:

Q2. Please respond to the statement below

2 With the recent university changes, staff and QU students are in a state of extreme confusion and stress. Policies are being made at a whim (from
administration high up) . Change is definitely the word of the day. And it
seems like this roller-coaster will continue into the next semester. (and
perhaps worsen) This is a pity. Until these abrupt changes took place,
Foundation English was very well-organized and had made big efforts to get accredited with the CEA. It was, just a semester ago, a program that Qatar University could be proud of.


The new program needs to be accredited again. As I said, it is too early to rate its success of failure. They were allowed to keep accreditation for another year. Everyone worked hard to get it so let's hope they get it again. This at least was something people worked together on and helped bring about some collegiality.


Last edited by stonemason on Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:17 am; edited 1 time in total
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stonemason



Joined: 23 Jun 2012
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:15 am    Post subject: Commentary 3 Survey Reply with quote

Quote:
3 Members of the task force should teach on the foundation program.

They should experience first hand the outcome of their decision and design.
Letting them hide in post foundation is totally unethical since it allows them to
avoid the responsibilities of their actions and decisions. Putting a first year
out of college colleague with no prior experience in the gulf and two teachers
with limited experiences on the task force, reveals a complete lack of
understanding of the meaning "high quality staff".


There are a lot of high quality staff but like putting a high school teacher in charge or one program and someone who has blown it twice before is not good management practice.
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stonemason



Joined: 23 Jun 2012
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:22 am    Post subject: Survey commentary 4 Reply with quote

Quote:
Please respond to the statement below.

4 It is obvious that over the last year, the department did not take the steps to retain high quality faculty and staff. On the contrary the department decided to fire people without sufficient grounds, and now the people that made these decisions are leaving. In addition we were told "tell your friends to work here". Considering that the department does not take care of its staff and seems to dismiss them without sufficient ground, I would not recommend to my friends to work here.


They gave renewal letters almost one month late. They are short-staffed because they fired so many good people last year. I heard they even rehired two of the fired teachers which says something about bad judgement. So another 10 or more people resigned but no idea if anybody was fired this time round - probably not. Yes, they told their friends to work there - people got jobs for wives and girlfriends, so what does that mean - they go through people's files to see whether they are qualified and then hire people with connections who may not have sufficient experience. Inconsistent. They should keep the good staff they already have and not look for ways to get rid of them, it costs as lot to recruit new teachers and give good-bye packages (not very much but then I didn't work there that long.
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stonemason



Joined: 23 Jun 2012
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:22 am    Post subject: Survey commentary 10 Reply with quote

I wasn't there for 10 years but I would say most of the work done by teachers was exceptional. They worked hard and got little thanks!

Quote:
Please respond to the statement below.

11 U distorted 10 years of good work. Why?


Last edited by stonemason on Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:19 am; edited 6 times in total
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stonemason



Joined: 23 Jun 2012
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:23 am    Post subject: Changing Times Reply with quote

Teachers need to be included in change, not excluded.

Last edited by stonemason on Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:55 am; edited 1 time in total
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stonemason



Joined: 23 Jun 2012
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:30 am    Post subject: Survey commentary 8 Reply with quote

Quote:
Please respond to the statement below.


8 QU doesn't fund us to attend more than one conference, why
would I pay my own money to go somewhere at promote QU, when they
have made it very clear that we are the scum of the university? We are hired
based on our teaching skills, not our research paper production, that is made
very clear in the hiring process. Why the Program is being assessed on
research paper production is a mystery!


Yes, a mystery.
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stonemason



Joined: 23 Jun 2012
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:31 am    Post subject: Survey - commentary 5 Reply with quote

Quote:
Please respond to the statement below.


5 Due to the changes that have been made unilaterally by the Administrators
above the task force committee, I am disappointed in the changes and the
lack of explanation for these changes. I am speaking directly to the changes
that were shared with the task force on 10 June 2012.


Yes, unilateral decision making continues.
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stonemason



Joined: 23 Jun 2012
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:59 am    Post subject: Survey - commentary 12 Reply with quote

Many people still feel the same. Morale is low and not likely to improve unless the top floor decides to create a supportive environment.

Quote:
12 In reference to question 1: What a difference a year makes. A year ago I
would have answered this question very differently, either as 'Strongly Agree'
- at least with 'Agree'. Since the end of the last academic year, however, the
QU administration appears to have done everything it could to undermine the
moral and emotional security of the International faculty in the Foundation
Program. We have been shown nothing but disdain and disrespect for our
professional credentials, and worst of all, when excoriated in the local press,
even referred to as 'evil', not once did the administration of QU come to our
defense. We have been abandoned. The result? A large number of people
have resigned; more will resign before the beginning of the fall term.
Although many would hope to stay and finish out the terms of the contract,
we have no faith that the university will honor the periods of the documents
and could give us our three months notice whenever they feel the political
winds favor such an action. Everyone who can, for self preservation, is
looking at alternate employment opportunities. I have never worked at an
educational institution with a lower morale. In reference to question 2: Why would anyone who has not already had a research project/publication in progress initiate one now? Although the shift back to an Arabic language
campus is understandable on many levels, how it has been initiated, with the apparent dumbing down of the entrance requirements, undermines the
university's international credibility. A number of colleagues have stated
specifically that they would not publish during their time here at QU because
they do not want their names/careers associated with this university.


Last edited by stonemason on Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:25 am; edited 1 time in total
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