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Bilkent University (BUSEL): The Truth
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jackthelad



Joined: 01 Nov 2006
Posts: 11
Location: London

PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 1:36 pm    Post subject: Bilkent University (BUSEL): The Truth Reply with quote

If you are reading this, then you may be considering a move to Bilkent, Ankara. This is the post that I wish I had read before going there myself.
I would advise very careful consideration before accepting any offer made.

Many teachers are having a terrible time there, with the vast majority unhappy in their position(s). This is true for both the Prep. and FAE program, though discontent is even greater in the former. There is a high turnover of staff due to the poor work conditions and lack of rights afforded (which ties in with Turkey not permitting any formation of unions; Turkey's accession to the EU is not for nothing and a lack of human rights is one of the main reasons). This includes a lack of necessary information before arriving, as well as various changes to the contract signed throughout the year that is ALWAYS at a disadvantage to teachers (whether it be work or pay related). The truth is the powers that be do not care about teacher welfare, which results in a highly demotivated workforce in general. If you do consider a move there, I would recommend you insist upon the Turkish version of the contract, as that is the one which is worth anything and will include other points not contained within the version translated into English.

Ankara is not a good place to live (though some people will naturally disagree) and the uni is well outside the centre - in what is known as 'the bubble'. It's very easy to get cabin fever if you don't get out of it/there on a regular basis. There are buses to/from the uni every hour, which is handy, as long as you don't mind sharing with your students. There are also a few gyms on-site (free) and some classes (low in cost). However, Turkey is not cheap anymore and Bilkent is one of the most expensive areas. There's a local 'REAL' supermarket down the road (and others further away) and also an on-campus small market shop that sells foreign goods at an inflated price. If you like variety in your food and drink, then it's far from ideal.

Do yourself a favour and give Bilkent a wide berth. It's just not worth it. Feel free to contact me privately if you have any questions you'd like to ask.
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sixthchild



Joined: 18 Apr 2012
Posts: 283
Location: East of Eden

PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It may come as a surprise to you, but, I would say that on a conservative estimate at least 90% of the foreign teaching staff feel the same about their current position and have at some point experienced the things you have mentioned, so you are not alone. Ankara as a capital city leaves me cold and that in itself is enough reason to stay away, however most of the other locations have similar downsides and you just try and make the best of it, do what you do as well as you can and just pick up the pay check each month,,,, and smile,, a lot,, it scares the hell out of them!
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jackthelad



Joined: 01 Nov 2006
Posts: 11
Location: London

PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:57 pm    Post subject: Bilkent University: Instructor of Composition/EAP Reply with quote

Are You Looking to Work in a depressing and professionally debilitating environment? Bilkent University’s Faculty Academic English (FAE) Program is seeking over qualified instructors of first-year composition and EAP. Most FAE instructors are required to teach three classes of English 101 in the fall term and three classes of English 102 in the spring. In fact, to stay here you will need to teach the same mundane courses over and over and over again! As well as this, we will pretty much get you to teach any course we choose to ask you teach, whether you have any experience or interest in it. We really don't care. English 101 and 102 require students to read and analyze academic texts, plan and compose academic essays, engage in independent research projects, plan and deliver oral presentations, and develop their language and academic skills proficiency as learners of a foreign language. And if they don't like the teacher or their marks received, they can put in a petition against you which will hold far more weight than anything a teacher has to say. Basically, we don't really give a shit!

The FAE program also offers more advanced EAP courses. These courses provide students with the skills required to understand philosophical texts, communicate effectively in business settings, and develop language awareness and presentation skills as graduate students. Some instructors may be asked to teach these classes in lieu of English 101 and 102. Ah, yes, this bit was mentioned above. Do you like the way we blur facts? : )

Required Qualifications:

A master’s degree or PhD in English, rhetoric and composition, TEFL, TESOL, or education
N.B. Please be aware that if you have a PhD you are likely to want to top yourself upon realising exactly how much you have sold yourself short. Similarly if you have an MA, though it may be less likely to cause suicide.

A minimum of 2 years relevant teaching experience at university level
N.B. A pretty impressive achievement with those qualifications!

Those who also have experience in bollocks-based instruction, course drivel and delivery will have a distinct advantage. Successful applicants are expected to knock their head against a wall till it seeps critical thinking.

What can I expect as an instructor of composition/EAP coming to Bilkent University?

A shitty excuse of an induction program at the beginning of the year
A poor quality University environment to wallow in self-pity
Membership of a mainly monolingual and monocultural student community of some 300 international and local staff, mainly depressed.
Opportunity to do research in second / foreign language learning (in your own time and at your own expense - looks good though, eh!)
Career-ending opportunities in assessment, curriculum development, teacher training, or management (disclaimer: our TT centre, CIDER, is on the way out and we will probably lie to you about opportunities available)
A library with BOOKS! and electronic resources to support learning and career development. Those ordered will arrive in the next millennium.

We Offer:
An attractive employment package (if you enjoy not saving much money), with a two-year sentence
Salary commensurate with qualifications and experience, quoted in US Dollars and Turkish Liras, with the option of transferring foreign currency portion to home country, the remainder paid in local currency - btw, you will transfer it at your own expense, though we will claim otherwise as we argh a bunch of pirates! p.s. bank fees are at a premium here.
Fully-furnished, rent-free private accommodation on campus (a fee is charged for utilities, though we will by no means justify the amount of this)
Residence permit, work visa, and airport transfer (whoopee!)
Air fare at the beginning and end of contract (should you make it!)
Baggage allowance (though we won't tell you how you shouldn't ship goods until you get a residence visa and you can pick up the costs yourself)
Custom in-house Turkish language courses - truly shit on the whole!
University gym membership (this is actually one of the only real perks!)
Meal vouchers (and there's another!)
Opportunities to live and travel in an truly oppressive and overly authoritative culture, one of the cradles of civilization with the shit hitting the fan!

You know it makes sense!
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sixthchild



Joined: 18 Apr 2012
Posts: 283
Location: East of Eden

PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 12:13 pm    Post subject: Ohh Dear Reply with quote

Dear JTL

Don't know how long you have lived here but you seem to have the whole thing pretty well worked out, and yes although they like you to have letters after your name most people with basic qualies, like a tefl, Ba or celta will be able to do the job in their sleep and yes it is repetive, mundane and boring and no they don't really value your opinion unless you can tell them how nice they really are in their own language, coz they don't know yours and yes the kids are thick and yes quite a few of the teaching staff foreign and domestic are even thicker, but the food and the weather is ok and sometimes you sit back and think in one of your quieter moments, ,,,,,,,,, it could be worse!
Actually sounds like you employment package is better than a few I have seen in Izmir, but I put up with it coz the climate is sooooooooooooo much better.
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jackthelad



Joined: 01 Nov 2006
Posts: 11
Location: London

PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 11:40 pm    Post subject: SC Reply with quote

If the food and weather being ok are good enough for you, then yeah, go for it! It can always be worse, but if you value your self-worth you are more likely to think: I deserve better. But then those who don't stay. Simples : )

And yes, the employment package is better than most - but that is, of course, relative, and won't stretch that far. You might as well go live on a compound somewhere in the Middle-East and at least get paid a decent amount for putting up with shit. At least you can justify it that way...

I actually liked Izmir, a million miles better than Ankara and world's apart.
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sixthchild



Joined: 18 Apr 2012
Posts: 283
Location: East of Eden

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jackthelad said:

I actually liked Izmir, a million miles better than Ankara and world's apart

I promised myself the very first time I wrote on this forum I would never do what I just did, so condecending and patronizing even suggesting that the previous writer might need reminding what he/she wrote, but look what YOU made me do, now that might give you a tiny glimmer about what I feel about this line of work.
It just a means to an end, a way to earn enough to stay here for as long as I have because the place I come from is much worse and my fellow countrymen and women just totally piss me off, but the county itself has got a lot going for it, thats why I stay to enjoy the food and the weather and my good health!
Don't take the fekking job so damn serious, they will replace you in a heartbeat without even thinking twice, you ,we all of us are just soooooooooooooooooooooooo expendable, live while you can smile and take the Money! The rest is just big time bs!
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JohnRambo



Joined: 06 Mar 2008
Posts: 73

PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2014 12:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are some of you saying one should give BUSEL a pass? I definitely don't want a poor working environment. Has anyone had a good experience there? I definitely don't want to give up my good uni job in another country for one that's not so good. In addition, I am still trying to find information about
the University of Turkish Aeronautical Association (UTAA); I have not found any on-line reviews of the institution. It only gives 4 weeks of vacation. What's the standard in Turkey at universities? One person told me she had 8 at her uni. in Istanbul.
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PC Parrot



Joined: 11 Dec 2009
Posts: 401
Location: Moral Police Station

PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2014 2:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The better paying ones give shorter holidays.
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saigontom



Joined: 08 Feb 2014
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2014 7:02 am    Post subject: re Bilkent Busel Reply with quote

I would definitely think twice before accepting a job at BUSEL. Most of what follows has to do with the faculty program (FAE) but the gist is relevant to the whole of BUSEL.

The situation was bad when I started working there some years ago. This was mostly to do with the management culture of the place. They hire people with good qualifications and experience but then treat them as though they don't know anything. Some of the management were good teachers with limited management skills. Most of the management were poor teachers with dreadful management skills. In fairness a lot of the teachers had problems as well, but these were mostly to do with not acknowledging the difference between EFL and EAP. This is a common issue that can be handled in a more constructive manner.

That situation in itself was bad enough but the developments in the last few years have made things there insufferable. This is mostly to do with the senior management of the university who consider English to be a second or indeed third class subject (senior management are almost all engineers). Things to consider....

Teaching hours have changed - you can no longer work overtime. If you teach a ESAP course in the faculty program you will owe extra hours to the university basically involving you in teaching summer school.

Class sizes are growing rapidly. You can expect a class of over 20 in the faculty program - that is at least 60 essays to mark (each with at least two drafts and two sets of written feedback) 3 times a semester.

Holidays are being taken away. The end of term 2 break used to be a week. Now it is 2 days.

How people are paid has changed. Overseas staff used to get 50% salary paid into an overseas account. Now this money is paid into a Turkish account. This involves individual staff paying bank transaction fees which can be around 350 TL per transaction (around 160 US).

To sum up, a situation where the benefits (culture, people, academic experience etc) just outweighed the costs has become much much worse over the last year and is set to become worse still.
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philotaster



Joined: 09 Mar 2011
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2014 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have three friends working at BUSEL, and I just want to say that saigontom's account seems entirely accurate. None of them plan on staying, and all of them expect things to get even worse very quickly.
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JohnRambo



Joined: 06 Mar 2008
Posts: 73

PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2014 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

philotaster wrote:
I have three friends working at BUSEL, and I just want to say that saigontom's account seems entirely accurate. None of them plan on staying, and all of them expect things to get even worse very quickly.


It seems like, as someone said above, they are demanding in terms of who they will take. I agree with that point, but it's pointless if they are demanding but don't treat their staff with dignity. I think I'll pass. I would rather make less and teach at an academy. By the way, are privates (I mean tutoring) legal in Turkey? They're illegal in Korea, but legal in Japan.

Thanks for your input regarding Bilkent. It is a shame.
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bilalbill



Joined: 03 Apr 2013
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:01 am    Post subject: Very true Reply with quote

Overall the assessment of the employment situation at the University appears pretty much accurate. Also, not only do contracts change in their interpretation, but also verbal promises are regularly... reviewed in a way that would not be consistent with being completely honest.

To be fair though, the Turkish teacher at BUSEL is an absolute star who always did her very best to deliver solid lessons. Despite the fact that the timetables of staff in BUSEL and FAE did not match and were regularly changing and incompatible. I can't speak for the University main campus courses though.

The really telling factor, arguably is not that many foreign staff are currently discontent/leaving which they are, but from the fact that many long term local staff at all levels of the school are departing as well.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12594
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2014 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some of us have been boycotting Turkey until they restore the Ottomans. Can't be long now !
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philotaster



Joined: 09 Mar 2011
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry to be the one to break the news, but...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8273396.stm
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jackthelad



Joined: 01 Nov 2006
Posts: 11
Location: London

PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:54 pm    Post subject: Over 1000 views and counting...no press is bad press? Hmm Reply with quote

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LubKUAyn-_g
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