Dar al Hekma College Reviews | Glassdoor

Dar al Hekma College Reviews

Updated October 6, 2016
12 reviews

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12 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    "Difficult Place to Work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at Dar al Hekma College full-time

    Pros

    I enjoyed the students, and it's a nice building.
    There are a few well-educated expatriate faculty. Unfortunately, DAHU doesn't know how to use their expertise.
    Most of the women in human resources know their job well.

    Cons

    --Having the chair review my syllabi and exams and sign off on them.
    --Using a time card and scanning in with fingerprints.
    --If your faculty are riding a bus for 2+ hours a day, then that should be part of the mandatory work hours.
    --Numerous unnecessary committees and meetings. Since they recently became a University, the Ministry of Education wants all of these committees, but no one knows what they are for.
    --I have a PH.D, and I am not going to trainings given in my field by someone who has a master’s degree.
    --Textbooks are chosen for you.
    --Courses are very outdated.
    --Your focus should not be 60% fun and 40% academics.
    --Required talent shows for faculty? I can’t even comment. HIGHLY UNPROFESSIONAL
    --If you send someone an email, they will respond to you, BUT they will CC numerous people on their response. People are not willing to take responsibility for fear they will be blamed for something.
    --New student orientation – The President told students that they should have fun in all of their classes. They said every day, every class when you enter your professor should be smiling. She told them if they have a professor who is not fun and not smiling, they should come straight to her office and report them.
    --DAHU says online courses are illegal; however, they have a number of faculty teaching online, because of problems with visas. They make up policies to meet their own needs.
    --Faculty are nothing more than wage faculty.
    --Slow servers are major hindrance to moving forward.
    --Students have all of the power.

    Advice to Management

    Personnel/human resources – you are SUPPORT staff. You work for the faculty. Faculty do not work for you.
    Provide faculty with copies/scanners in their office. Don’t require faculty to go to the copy center for all copies and printing.


  2. Helpful (3)

    "Dar Al Hekma Jihadists"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    none that I can think of - most people come and stay for the money, can't get jobs elsewhere

    Cons

    women bashing women worse than the men. very retro sadly. confused mess. very extreme place. don't rock the boat. expect to be lied to and deceived constantly. very mediocre across the board.

    Advice to Management

    try harder to promote the cause of women and explore counter-cultures. study other examples of higher ed in KSA. get new direction, leaders and administrators. take more risk.


  3. Helpful (5)

    "Two years at DAH"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Lecturer in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia)
    Former Employee - Lecturer in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia)
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at Dar al Hekma College full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Money, Colleagues, Specific Students, Senior Management intervention when I got sick, Professional Development Allowance.

    Cons

    Disorganized, Unprofessional, Micromanaging because of Department Chair insecurities and mistakes, Disrespectful towards faculty, Spoiled / disrespectful students.


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  5. Helpful (4)

    "hire a secretary"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Assistant Professor
    Current Employee - Assistant Professor
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    good salaries, lovely building, very nice staff, students with a lot of potential

    Cons

    Redtape, rules, demands, paperwork to the point of obliterating any teaching. Low, almost no standards, no intellectual engagement. Lies and duplicity on the part of HR. Senior administrators who are more interested in talent shows than coursework. Jeddah has no charm, maybe it did years ago. Now, it's an example of the worst urbanization: no public spaces, no environmental concern, no places to walk, nothing to do except wander shopping malls. The hour-long bus rides from the compound to the school add two hours daily to the schedule, for which faculty are not paid. Like all the other foreign workers in KSA, construction workers, drivers, food, beverage, and hotel staff, foreign faculty are indentured labour with no voice, few rights, and fewer freedoms.

    Advice to Management

    Acknowledge teaching, support real intellectual content; stop the censorship; let teachers teach; reduce the paperwork by 99%. Stop making policies based on the lowest common denominator, the threat of student complaints or parental interference. Make policies based on intellectual integrity, standards of academic excellence, and support the teachers who offer such. My experience with the students is that they rise to a challenge. My experience with the administration is that is does not. My experience with the faculty is that it is treacherous and uneven. There are many competent, dedicated, local and regional faculty; but the Western two-year contract people are very uneven. (By the way, the word is primadonna, not pre-Madonna, for those whose English is a second, third or fourth language. All due respect to Ms.Ciccone)


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Good but Not perfect"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Faculty in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia)
    Former Employee - Faculty in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Dar al Hekma College full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Money! location, accommodation and benefits like training and kids education! packages are very good compared to UK and it is a good investment to spend couple of years and do the savings for many to come.

    Cons

    micromanagement! but if you are there for couple of years it worth the saving

    Advice to Management

    More trust in the teachers so they can stay longer time with the uni


  7. Helpful (3)

    "A university entirely controlled by inexperienced Senior Management."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Assistant Professor
    Former Employee - Assistant Professor
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Dar al Hekma College full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    International teaching community, compound housing is very pleasant. College building is bright. The College is now a university and provides a competitive salary and benefits package. Healthcare insurance is very good.

    Cons

    Sadly there are many cons in spite of the benefits, all staff, faculty and program Chairs are subjected to unreasonable deadlines. The presidents office is concerned about the image and profile and not about the core content. Spoilt inept students from influential families have contributed to lowering standards of work and behaviour. I witnessed incidents of appalling student behaviour at major events. Many Students no longer think they are responsible for their own learning and present work that is not their own.Program Chairs are not empowered or trusted to run their departments but the Program Chairs are usually more experienced than the Provost or the President. Micromanagement is an obsession from the Presidents office, constant meetings that are unproductive. Many Program Chairs feel unable to be transparent with faculty an the University is a hot bed of Rumor . The majority of Faculty and Staff are completely overloaded with teaching hours. Contact hours are not calculated according to international standards. Faculty who hold titles of Assistant Professor may be told that their title is Lecturer and therefore expected to teach more courses. Fantastical and whimsical ideas are persued without the understanding of core planning and against advice from the University Board and yet it is tolerated. The result is the waste of time at an extreme level.

    Advice to Management

    Commit to producing standards of excellence and integrity, listen to the expertise of employed international Educators and professionals. Understand the sacrifices and work required in producing Quality students. make Dar Al Hekma a University with a reputation of producing graduates with integrity and not as the aloof and deluded pre Madonna that many are. Obtain further quality research from reputable international Universities and stop living in a fantasy bubble, bring in international experienced Higher Management to turn this University into a respectable organisation.


  8. Helpful (3)

    "Fledgling University With Lots of Problems ~ High Salaries But Money Isn't Everything!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Lecturer
    Former Employee - Lecturer
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Dar al Hekma College full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    You can provide valuable educational and social service. Salaries are paid on time and most visa/relocation expenses are actually reimbursed a few weeks after arrival (despite KSA's reputation for not paying bills or paying them on time). Occasional signs of compassion from HR and President's Office. Some wonderful colleagues.

    Cons

    Despite ample salaries and while you may end up debt-free and with savings, you are also likely to end up with poor health (despite draconian medical exams to get into the country!), low self-esteem, certainly no retirement benefits, high taxes in home country if not abroad for 1-2 years+ depending on country, and have sold your soul & possibly the best years of your life--in the end, money isn't everything! Poor reference for a CV and may be hard to get a job afterwards. Does not paint a pretty picture of Islam. Students can be spoiled and arrogant. Constant grade negotiation with routine A's or even A+'s expected. Total micromanagement. In the end it's about quality of life, not numbers in a bank account--money doesn't fill the soul hole, which Saudi employers (who treat foreign workers including professors like servants) don't seem to understand.

    In many ways material wealth (and poor Saudis DO exist!) is hampering development in Saudi Arabia. If you are perceived to insult Islam you can end up in jail, like one prominent Saudi woman lawyer of recent. Or just lose your job. If you discipline a student who is the son or daughter of a prominent Saudi and they want to take revenge, they can have you expelled from the country within 24 hours. Fun! But be encouraged--if you DO get expelled or deported, it typically means you are a sincere, caring, dedicated teacher or were doing something right by international human rights standards.

    Visa process is a real killer. Anything can happen anytime in KSA. Some colleagues and supervisors often get very jealous of each other, can be quite rude and mean, and certainly don't know how to be good team-players. Walk into the lion's den at your own risk, and have a good back-up plan! Those who survive keep their mouths shut and are good play-actors. Management truly does not care or want to know what you think.

    Advice to Management

    Become part of the solution not part of the problem. "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results."


  9. Helpful (2)

    "Unprofessional even by KSA standards - façade of professionalism"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Dar al Hekma College full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Health insurance , educational allowance for children , compound accommodation and professional development allowance

    Nice building with marble flooring

    Located in Jeddah, a city which has many pros.

    Cons

    - The reality of the university does not match its written policies and rules nor its publicity endeavours. Complete lack of ethics and morals pervades staff, majority of faculty and students

    - Unaccredited courses

    - Building flawed design in that no circulation of fresh air

    - Large class sizes of 35+ as high faculty turnover rate

    - As with the rest of Saudi, salary appears to vary significantly according to ethnicity/race ( not nationality)

    - Sexual discrimination common - pregnant faculty being treated in a discriminatory manner by management and mothers expected to put their work first and young children second

    -Faculty possess fear of being fired , insecurity issues about their qualifications and abilities in the English language ( mainly non native English speakers), combined with a management lacking in management training or experience, creating a highly negative and counter-productive atmosphere where quality of education suffers.

    - New faculty qualified from English speaking countries, instead of being valued and trained , are "welcomed" by resentful colleagues with unashamed rudeness, childish behaviour and trumped up allegations of misconduct etc. This is a huge risk for your future career.

    - Compound accommodation fairly run -down, appliances and furniture clearly decades old. A few pushy people got one or two of items replaced with brand new goods but with Company approval.

    - As is common in most private universities in KSA, 99.9% of students expect to be spoon -fed and memorise verbatim information which must be repeated in exams otherwise they will complain, hoping to see the instructor fired. They also lie, cheat in exams and coursework and make no effort to disguise their disrespect/ contempt for their instructors whom they regard as on par with their domestic staff. However, what is not common in other private universities in KSA is that management turn a blind eye to such student behaviour.

    Advice to Management

    Lofty values should be reflected in actions and words.


  10. Helpful (5)

    "Promoting Higher Education for Women in Saudi Arabia?"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate Professor
    Former Employee - Associate Professor
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Dar al Hekma College full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Higher education for women is to be encouraged in Saudi Arabia and this institution (college come university this past year) does that, in a modern facility with upmarket amenities and a largely internationally-educated faculty.

    Cons

    Tight lid kept on MERS reality. No sick days without official medical certificate. Lots of eye infections due to poor/desert air quality/pollution. Lots of hidden surprises, instability. ISIS sleeper cells likely within KSA and US Govt has warned against travel to Saudi Arabia as of summer 2014. Mosquitoes can carry dengue. University has strong ties to Muslim Sisterhood.

    The internationally-educated faculty is kept under tight leash and subject to Sharia Law and strict Islamic mores, though neighboring institutions like KAU and KAUST are co-ed with typical flexible professorial hours and no entry-exit smart card monitoring; KAUST does not require women to wear the abaya or headscarf (the Koran only calls for modest dress and specifies no specific colour BTW), and also at KAUST women can drive! So it is hard to understand why Dar Al-Hekma is so 'conservative', relatively-speaking. Additionally, professors and instructors are not trusted and have to fill out TONS of forms and permission slips, do lengthy course files at the end of each term for each course including EVERYTHING, are kept tabs on electronically, are typically overworked and given too many courses to teach in addition to relentless committee work etc etc. Email is apparently monitored, and none of this info is shared with faculty before their arrival of course. Is it because they are women and women are women's worst enemies? Dangerous back-biting. The Architecture Dept, for example, had three different program directors this past year (2013-14), none of whom, by the way, were Saudi.

    While the salaries (tax free abroad only after the second year) and housing are usually excellent (free schoolbus commute can take up to 1.5-2 hours daily though), treatment at work puts a damper on all the pluses. In order to 'survive' you really need lots of outside networks and 'support groups'/friends. It's a hard stint, and even the western faculty become extremely competitive, jealous, resentful and rude in this insular desert 'sandbox'. Dissent gets silenced, with people petrified of losing their jobs. All the rhetorical paperwork and academic politics leave little time for quality teaching. Symptomatically, faculty and staff tend to gain a lot of weight, often to the point of obesity.

    Expect the unexpected, as 'the only thing that's certain in Saudi Arabia is uncertainty'. Decision-making is often emotional rather than rational and merit-based. Admin changes its mind a lot, forgets previous contractual arrangements, doesn't seem to realize that contracts are to be respected, wings it and loses it.

    Deceptive, 'copy and paste' culture. Nasty intrigue with women plotting against each other. Arrogance. Rules, rules and more rules. Exploitation of workers in one way or another--often by senior workers. Not enough faculty to go around. Dubious degrees and qualifications, often from third-rate institutions. Lots and lots of lying and misrepresentation. Again, the school is unable to stick to and abide by its contracts. Untrustworthy, unreliable and VERY controlling--even extremist/jihadist. Lack of understanding of and respect for the professions like Law requiring professional terminal degrees, practice/field experience and licensing/registration rather than PhD's.

    n.b. There is sometimes a strong sewage smell on the foreign faculty Continental Village Compound in the early mornings (which can be so bad it has been known to wake people up!). Compound management is as helpful as possible although gardeners have a weird habit of over-pruning and cutting flowers as soon as they bloom.

    Advice to Management

    Create a better welcome handbook for incoming faculty that can be sent out ahead of arrival outlining visa parameters, course files, office hours, compound rules, fieldtrip rules, daily commute, etc etc--that way HR doesn't have to repeat itself all the time and miss out on many newcomers. Be honest. Trust more. Substance over form. Encourage creativity and 'thinking outside the box'--that may involve some reform of Islam from within. Women need to join forces and take a stand, supporting each other rather than pulling the rug out from under each other's feet! Don't perpetuate the problems you had/have: break the cycle!


  11. Helpful (1)

    "Faculty overloaded and students who cheat"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Assistant Professor in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia)
    Current Employee - Assistant Professor in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at Dar al Hekma College full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Multi national workforce, light airy modern building

    Cons

    Faculty and Staff are overloaded with courses and committees, they are expected to do overload not consulted. Teaching and learning suffers from large class sizes and under experienced faculty. Senior Management micro manage the university, due to lack of international experience at the top. Too many Alumni hired and the alumni lack experience in Industry and other teaching positions. Students have a pre-Madonna attitude, spoilt and lazy. International Faculty do not usually stay for more than 2 years because they get burned out trying to deliver quality education to students who cheat on a massive scale.

    Advice to Management

    Treat the faculty and directors with the same respect as the students, take advise from seasons internationally experienced instructors. Stop accommodating cheating students. Quality over quantity. Stop hiring alumni who have no teaching and professional experience. Hire saudis with international experience.



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