• October 31, 2014
October 31, 2014, 3:53:09 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with your Chronicle username and password
News: Talk about how to cope with chronic illness, disability, and other health issues in the academic workplace.
 
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 65
  Print  
Author Topic: Universiti Brunei Darussalam  (Read 378305 times)
ibn_tofail
New member
*
Posts: 2


« on: February 27, 2012, 10:50:32 PM »

I have been shortlisted for a position at the University Brunei Darussalam that was advertised in the Chronicle. Since the job interview was conducted overseas, I did not have the opportunity to visit the university. The interviewers were university administrators and had no academic background in my field of expertise. The interview was therefore not conducted to the professional standards common in the US or Europe. Does anybody have experience of working at this institution?
Logged
voxprincipalis
Foxaliciously Cinnamon-Scented (and Most Poetic)
Member-Moderator
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 23,029

Has potentially infinite removable wallets


WWW
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2012, 10:53:13 PM »

Our posting rules ask that the same thread topic not be posted in multiple places. Because I agree with the advice given on your existing thread that you might get more responses here, I'm leaving this post but deleting the other.

VP
Logged

hayy_yaqzan
New member
*
Posts: 8


« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2012, 11:35:27 AM »

The reason you were interviewed by administrators rather than academics is that the university has no autonomy and is in effect a government department run by political appointees. As such it is subject to a multitude of administrative regulations, many of which are irrelevant (and some of which are counterproductive) to the purposes of a university. For example, allocation of housing for new faculty requires approval by the 'palace' and often takes many months during which new academic staff and their families are put up in cheap hotels. The entire university's annual research budget is less than US$ 300,000, and applications for research funds from other government agencies can take years to process. As civil servants, academic staff have to apply for permission two weeks ahead each time they leave the country, even if it is only to hop across the nearby border for shopping.

The university is run by political appointees none of whom has any experience of working in any university other than UBD. As a result decision-making (where it is not constrained by rigid bureaucratic rules) is top-down and often arbitrary. There is no culture of open consultation and critical feedback and conventional rules of accountability do not apply because Brunei law does not allow litigation against government agencies or individuals acting in their official capacity. One way to overcome the experience-deficit is through reliance on foreign consultants and advisors, who usually have little understanding of the educational and intellectual  landscape of Brunei and seek to sell (sometimes metaphorically, but at times quite literally 'sell') ready- made models developed in other contexts that are out of place and unlikely to work in Brunei.
Logged
bakunin
New member
*
Posts: 30


« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2012, 4:44:40 AM »


Although it is true that living expenses in Brunei are much lower than in Singapore, Hongkong and the Gulf, the package Universiti Brunei Darussalam offers is not very attractive. A couple of extra allowances apart, the salary scales have not increased since the university was founded in 1985. Annual increments only amount to about 2% and after 3 years of increments there is a step beyond which one can't move for the next three years. Promotion procedures are very unpredictable so it's best to negotiate a higher rank from the beginning. Anyway, the salary scales are very narrow so that promotion does not bring any major increase in salary. At the top end of the scale, for professors there are no increments at all.

Apart from salaries, the perks have also declined in real terms. After repeated increases in international school fees, the education allowance only covers 60% of the fees. With two kids in school a family ends up paying about 20% of salary to top up the allowance. Similarly, the housing allowance has recently been reduced by about 40% so that the standard of housing of new faculty is substantially lower than that of existing faculty. Another problem is healthcare which is supposed to be free in government hospitals. However, medical treatment is uneven and there is only one major government hospital so there is little choice. Certain kinds of expensive treatments, are not available in the local government hospital. Brunei citizens are send abroad for treatment for free, but this no longer applies to non-Bruneian government employees.  Some expensive medication is also not covered. Regulations about what is and what is not covered seem to change quietly.

There are perennial rumors that salaries are about to be increased, but no date has been set and the rumors have been around for years. In any case, the increases will only be implemented selectively and will be performance-linked, but the criteria for who is eligible and who isn't are unclear.
Logged
iacocoa
New member
*
Posts: 11


« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2012, 6:13:14 AM »


It has come to our attention that some negative comments about Universiti Brunei Darussalam have been posted on the CHE job-seeking experiences forum. We would like to assure potential job-seekers that UBD is Brunei's premier higher education provider and has achieved its founding vision of becoming the university of first choice for Bruneians. UBD is currently implementing an array of Quantum Leap Initiatives aimed at achieving its next vision of "UBD 2015: Top 50 in Asia", which is an integral part of the national 2035 Vision of His Majesty The Sultan to turn Brunei into a diversified knowledge economy with an educated, highly skilled and accomplished people.

As modern universities position themselves in a rapidly changing global environment, new entrepreneurial models of academic leadership have to be developed. Traditional forms of academic administration that rely on horizontal consultory processes and collective decision-making structures tend to result in decisional paralysis and inhibit an institution's ability to react with speed and effectiveness to the challenges of the highly competitive global education market. To be able to respond effectively to external challenges, university leaders worldwide are implementing internal structural and personnel reforms aimed at assuring that faculty and staff stand behind their institution's vision and fully devote their energies to its realisation. In order to achieve this aim, UBD has aligned itself with premier international universities, such as the National University of Singapore, and is adopting their best practices.

In such a highly innovative institutional environment not everybody can keep up with the rapid pace of change and inevitably some will be left behind. Among those who are unable or unwilling to adjust to the new environment, change-resistant attitudes become ingrained and manifest themselves in negativistic rationalizations as evident in the postings. If, instead of spending their time writing counter-productive criticisms, they were to channel their energies into improving their publication and citation records, they would not only have a better standing within the university but also contribute to efforts to raise the international standing of UBD and help turn it into a world class institution.

Logged
ibn_tofail
New member
*
Posts: 2


« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2012, 6:51:41 AM »

Thanks for the information. Does anybody know anything more about research support and logistics: facilities (labs, library, etc), funding (grants, awards), leave (sabbatical)? In terms of GDP per capita Brunei is one of richest countries in the world, so there should be plenty of research money. Is it really true that the university's entire research budget is only $300,000?
Logged
obelisk
New member
*
Posts: 30


« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2012, 4:47:07 AM »

For contract staff there is no sabbatical. So-called seed funding will be given on arrival for new staff. Internet services are very slow, library holdings are sub standard, ordered books can take a long while to appear in library depending on library budget. For official attitude of administration towards academic staff see preceding post.
Logged
bakunin
New member
*
Posts: 30


« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2012, 5:27:46 AM »

Research isn't just about facilities, it's also about freedom. Here is a link to an article on academic freedom at the university by somebody with long experience of working in Brunei:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb036/is_34/ai_n29063194/

Logged
zulgabe
New member
*
Posts: 16


« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2012, 2:13:46 AM »



Universiti Brunei Darussalam strives continuously to upgrade its research facilities. Although there is always room for improvement, much has been achieved during the last three years. Last year UBD became the first university in Southeast Asia to acquire an IBM Blue Gene supercomputer and its new IBM-UBD Computer Centre is a central part of UBD's strategy to provide a an internationally competitive research infrastructure that will attract global leaders in research across a wide range of scientific disciplines onto its campus and put UBD on the map as a powerhouse of innovative research on par with other leading universities in neighbouring countries and beyond. Already one quantifiable result of the various initiatives to turn UBD into a research-intensive institution, is a marked jump in the number of publications in top-ranking journals by academic staff of UBD and a corresponding rise in the faculty's average h-, g-, hc-, and i10 indices. The university therefore has every reason to be confident about achieving its "UBD 2015: Top 50 in Asia" vision.

Logged
iacocoa
New member
*
Posts: 11


« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2012, 9:41:20 AM »


Zulgabe, I somehow get the feeling that you are being tong-in-cheek.
Logged
tinyzombie
She of the Badass Abs, and a
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 15,137

elevate from this point on - chuck d


« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2012, 10:40:58 AM »


Zulgabe, I somehow get the feeling that you are being tong-in-cheek.


That sounds very painful.
Logged

Quote from: usukprof
I think we have three of them, but the smallest one seems to be the leader.
Quote from: dolljepopp
Who needs real life when Sandra Bullock is around?
Quote from: systeme_d_
You are all my people, and I love you.
tong_in_cheek
New member
*
Posts: 22


« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2012, 10:49:23 AM »


Yes, you are quite right there, very painful indeed.
Logged
harry_lee
New member
*
Posts: 1


« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2012, 9:56:23 PM »



Academic freedom has to be balanced with the social responsibilities of researchers and teachers. There is no such thing as absolute freedom, otherwise one man's freedom becomes another man's oppression. It is ultimately the role of government to assure the right balance of (academic) freedom and responsibility. In the context of Asian Values, in particular, the welfare of the collectivity (the society, the state, the family, the organisation, and, yes, the university) has always been valued above the mere pursuit of individual happiness and fissiparious freedoms.

Yes, we do value academic freedom and creativity highly, but as necessary counter-forces to human tendencies towards inertia  and stagnation, particularly in the fast-moving, innovation-driven environment in which we have to survive today. Academic freedom has to be constructive in nature and promote the development and welfare of the greater good, rather than degenerate into the disruptive pursuit of multitudes of individual private interests and agendas.
Logged
tee_bee
I've really made it in academe, now that I am a
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 4,556


« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2012, 10:24:29 PM »


It has come to our attention that some negative comments about Universiti Brunei Darussalam have been posted on the CHE job-seeking experiences forum. We would like to assure potential job-seekers that UBD is Brunei's premier higher education provider and has achieved its founding vision of becoming the university of first choice for Bruneians. UBD is currently implementing an array of Quantum Leap Initiatives aimed at achieving its next vision of "UBD 2015: Top 50 in Asia", [snip]


Wow. Just, wow. I've never seen so much administrative bullsh*t in so few paragraph in my life. My god, this is either breathtaking, or just awful. I will eagerly seek out the other thread to see if this gets any better.
Logged
proudhon
New member
*
Posts: 6


« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2012, 11:34:21 PM »


If you think the posting is bad, check out their website:   http://www.ubd.edu.bn/index.php?id=58

"In its endeavor to become among (sic!) Top 50 Universities in Asia,
UBD has came (sic!) up with five Quantum Initiatives to move forward:  D.R.I.V.E.
"Desirable Culture; Re-engineering Processes; Incentive; Vision; Engagement"
"via the S.I.M.P.L.E way: 
"Speedy Integrity  Merging  People  Lucid  Efficient"

D.R.I.V.E. and S.I.M.P.L.E.!!!??
The usual corporate waffle, except in an even more than usual embarrassing nakedness.  I can't believe that anybody puts such nonsense on their website. I doubt one can run an ice cream factory with such childish acronyms, how can anyone expect faculty in their university to take them seriously? If you are aiming for the Top 50, you are heading in the wrong direction.

It is sad indeed for those of us who are fighting the corporate take-over of universities in the US, to see it pop up even in such unexpected places as Brunei. We should ask ourselves whether this is really the kind of model of a university we want to export to the rest of the world? And the rest of the world (including Brunei) should ask itself whether this is this really what they need?
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 65
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.9 | SMF © 2006-2008, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
  • 1255 Twenty-Third St., N.W.
  • Washington, D.C. 20037
subscribe today

Get the insight you need for success in academe.