XJTLU Reviews

Updated Nov 20, 2021

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Found 92 of over 108 reviews

2.7
46%
Recommend to a Friend
Pros
  • "Suzhou is an interesting place to explore(in 10 reviews)

  • "Suzhou is a nice city, good working environment, beautiful campus(in 7 reviews)

  • Cons
  • "Management problems, low retention rate of staff, and a relatively low salary compared with similar institutions in China(in 9 reviews)

  • "such is the level of disrepute and erroneous nonsense that upper management stooges, and many staff, can get away with(in 5 reviews)

  • More Pros and Cons
    Pros & Cons are excerpts from user reviews. They are not authored by Glassdoor.

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    1. 5.0
      Former Employee

      promising university

      Oct 19, 2014 -  
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      great teachers and facilities, good academic atmosphere. Students have a lot opportunities to communicated with world class researchers in various areas.

      Cons

      Average administration, some supporting staff are not helping at all. Some students are not qualified to be in the university, as they are lazy and stupid.

      1 person found this review helpful
    2. 1.0
      Current Employee, more than 1 year

      Where to even start?

      Oct 3, 2021 - Lecturer 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      There are some local, quite overworked but very friendly administration staff who go out of their way to help foreigners. They are paid terribly but do their best to keep the show running for expats. Some students are genuinely trying their best and aspiring to a foreign MA after they leave... They are grateful and well mannered.

      Cons

      It's just the worst here. I was lucky to leave into something far better and most lecturers stay two years (some even less) because it really is shambolic. I know it is hard to get even half decent early career researchers out to a country that is throwing muslims into concentration camps but at what price to the department's reputation and the overall standard of lecturing does the current feeble hiring policies accomplish? Some HODs and lecturers do not have a PhD or publications and yet they are calling the shots. Note to XJTLU: stop this. These people do not belong at a uni. Even one as crass as this. The stories of bullying that are in other reviews are sadly true. But it's China. I went out without any illusions and soon realised XJTLU and many of its domestic and foreign management staff fit in well with the brutal, cold nature of the society. Those that do not appreciate the police state that surrounds them (but enough about XJTLU) leave. Others have a strange affection for it. Very few of your colleagues here will be doing research and it is not really expected anyway. The situation is that you turn up to your classroom and for two hours you keep the class entertained. You are paid to be there, basically, and standards are not vigorously checked. It means the non-academic staff are just having a hoot and being paid to be cardboard cut outs but I found a strange insecurity when faced with lecturers that have power points and research - nasty comments and subsequent bullying can be expected. My old HOD was demoted but not sacked outright despite losing good staff and being unacceptably useless and unpleasant. I have heard that seven or eight years ago XJTLU was not like this and some notable academics in their fields have actually come through these doors and used it to launch themselves into better places at home and abroad. But something rotten has happened down the road (I know the upper management changed in 2016 or 2017 across the board) and word has clearly spread, leading to a lot of unqualified staff, disillusioned early career foreigners eager to escape and some who have been here too long because they are not getting published, have given up, accepted the horrid reality of their situation and depressed clearly depressed. Read the reviews. Every one except those posted by bots are telling you this. It's terrible here. I kept my head down and generally tried to avoid the bullying and harassment that came with the environment (much of it sadly from Western upper management staff and not the local Chinese) and then got out fast. Be aware that Suzhou is also horribly polluted, local supermarkets are not foreigner friendly and restaurants are generally of subpar quality. Staff complain of stomach pains etc because of this. There's no reason to want to work here other than not having anything else to go to. If that's you then I would still advise treading very very very carefully... especially with the anti foreigner rhetoric that is common in China these days.

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      3 people found this review helpful
    3. 1.0
      Former Employee, more than 1 year

      A Hollow Institution

      Sep 18, 2021 - EAP Tutor/Language Lecturer 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      You can get 'EAP' experience in order to gain better employment elsewhere. Salary paid on-time.

      Cons

      Let me begin by recommending reading the plentiful 5-star one-line reviews first, and consider their authenticity. For example, not many people I spoke to referred to XJTLU as ‘friendly and chill’ (10 Jan, 2021). I never for once thought it was anywhere near ‘best international employer’ (30 Mar, 2019). I didn't even meet anyone who referred to XJTLU as a ‘Nice emplyer’ (sic) (16 Apr 2021). Those who read the 5-star reviews will probably conclude that those reviews, like XJTLU, aren’t what they seem. I worked at the Language Centre, which then became the School of Languages (SOL). I started looking for a new job after approximately 6 months of moving to XJTLU and China. I left as soon as I could, and am happier for it. Students Some other low reviews have mentioned that the students have not got the English to enable them to study in an EMI. I would agree with that to some extent and have experience, and sympathy, with these comments. However, as XJTLU will happily take any student who can afford to pay the fees, this is the direct outcome. This is not the student’s fault. The students are an afterthought at XJTLU. This is seen by the increased class sizes (25-30 now common) in the School of Languages and a move to a blended approach. This is combined with spectacularly low expectations of the students. As an EAP Tutor / Language Lecturer (titles seem to change as quickly as the staff do), it is ultimately disheartening to see students’ education taken for granted by XJTLU. Staff retention Regarding staff retention, the SOL resembles a revolving door. They haven’t got a recruitment problem, they have an acute retention problem. The SOL operate in a perpetual recruitment/retention crisis, haemorrhaging staff on a bi-annual basis. The management team are mostly unwilling or unable to acknowledge this. This is true for the SOL and the wider university. For example, a poplular website which lists employment opportunites in academia lists 30 positions at XJTLU (correct on 18th September 2021), some of these are for multiple positions. The advertisement for ‘Language Lecturers’ was posted on the 1st of September 2021, essentially the beginning of the academic year. Last month (August 2021) the SOL were approximately 50 teachers short. I recommend potential employees think carefully about the reason why they recruit for staff to essentially start ASAP. It has one of the highest staff turnovers of anywhere I have ever worked. When I arrived (pre-COVID) they had a staff shortage; often tutors arrive mid-semester and are jettisoned onto a course by a frantic middle manager. By the time I left, the staff shortage had become more severe. There is an active avoidance from management to acknowledge this. When asked in a meeting why staff were leaving, management responded by stating that they ‘don’t have the data’. Conveniently, staff who leave tend not to be offered exit interviews to collect the data. Reducing salaries / opaque promotions Expect to start at a lower salary than people currently in the SOL. Wages seem mostly good for existing staff who have been there for over 5 years. Staff who have been there a while comment that this was when things were 'good'. The current trend is to recruit people on lower salaries. Interestingly, the salary range for EAP positions is from ‘17,615-31,993 RMB’. New staff won’t be hired at the upper band. Most new people come in between 18,000 – 24,000RMB per month. I was told to expect promotion within ‘5-10 years’. However, for 2 consecutive years there was a 1% promotion rate. When I raised my concerns over the direction of my career, I was told by 2 different bosses that if I didn’t like it, I could find alternative employment. It wasn’t that rare to find people who did a single semester and then left. Conversely, a few well-connected staff gained multiple promotions very quickly. The has resulted in some teachers being over-promoted and becoming managers, often without the skillset required. Some of the SOL management team lack leadership skills. A few of them lack basic interpersonal skills. Change for the sake of change In my time there I had 2 bosses. My role changed name, the entire year 1 course structure changed twice. We went from a language centre to a ‘School of Languages’. Continuing Support was disbanded in 2019 (staff shortages were blamed) then re-branded and relaunched in 2020. Some changes seem to be orchestrated by management wanting to impress their bosses, rather than what is best for the school/students. Financial issues Payment of salary was on-time. However, sometimes staff are unable to claim their housing allowance. This happened for two months in 2020. The blame for this was placed firmly on the shoulders of the mysterious ‘local government official’. It’s common for blame to be placed with anyone other than the university. This person/group of people is blamed for XJTLU’s mistakes. For example, XJTLU deducts tax from employees' pay automatically, but in 2020 failed to forward all of this to the tax office. This made overseas remittance impossible. When asked why XJTLU hadn’t paid the tax to the tax office, a local government official was duly blamed, and my tax was quickly paid. There are many examples of this kind of behaviour. Advice: The best piece of advice I was told when I arrived was from a disillusioned member of staff was ‘don’t do anything here and expect to be rewarded, do it for your next job.’ That staff member left soon after, and it was around this time I was actively looking for other work. It is a hollow university, with a largely unsympathetic management team. The lack of empathy was mentioned by a previous reviewer, I agree with this assessment. It has a cliquey feel to the place, promotions are rare, and still seem to be based on who you know, rather than what you can contribute. The toxic work environment contributes to the high turnover.

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      10 people found this review helpful
    4. 3.0
      Current Employee

      Review

      Mar 22, 2021 - Lecturer 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Good salary; opportunities to lead a team

      Cons

      Workload is too much sometimes

      1 person found this review helpful
    5. 4.0
      Former Employee

      Good place to work and gain experience

      Jan 18, 2020 - Anonymous Employee 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      There are lots of professional development opportunities

      Cons

      Sometimes it gets to bogged down in quality assurance

      Be the first to find this review helpful
    6. 1.0
      Former Employee

      I worked in an XJTLU classroom too

      Jun 28, 2018 -  
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Some excellent (if disenfranchised) colleagues The campus is new and up-to-date amenities.

      Cons

      I cannot say that XJTLU has bad students or that many of my colleagues at the university were not friendly and helpful. The sole problem with XJTLU is at Dean and management level. I was told 'off the record' not to apply for a position at the university which would have seen me climb the ladder of employment (despite the fact the role was given to someone with far less experience and qualifications than myself). When the upper management stooge who told me this was asked if this was true, it was outright denied. Very typical of the goons who run this university. This same upper management stooge was later the subject of a complaint made by myself and someone else - the complaint and investigation was done by his best friend and with the strings being pulled all the way through. This is XJTLU. It is not University of Liverpool (it basically hires the name) ala Nottingham Ningbo. It runs as a seperate institution which means it gets by with its own gangster style rules with no one to answer to. This means that many staff work under the bullying and harassment of upper management who in some cases are Communist Party sympathisers and have no sympathy for any complaints or due procedure that may arise. During my stay at XJTLU the staff turnover was overwhelming - no one would stay for long and the reasons given were common: upper management began to harass and bully them (for things as simple as a basic disagreement with a favoured member of staff or for incidents which were years old but suddenly and surprisingly reopened come contract negotiations), no pension, no schooling for children in the area, heavy admin loads with so many people leaving it means more modules needing covered too - and with short notice. Meanwhile new 'Deans' or HODs are favoured from abroad even if they have never been to China before or have any relevant experience. I would also wager that, in the humanities at least, most of your dept will not be doing research - and who can blame them? The incentives are just not there. You need to be insane and possibly a masochist to accept a job at XJTLU and the increasing numbers of bad reviews on Glassdoor should indicate to anyone curious of how bad things are getting - tuitition fees are increasing, students are flocking to the uni... it all adds up to more money for upper management and the Party thugs - your job, however, is to stand in line and remain quiet at all times. God help you should you ever even have a suggestion about student welfare or anything! I found a generally low moral amongst colleagues from both abroad and domestic at the university and many of them were keeping their eye on opportunities elsewhere while working at XJTLU. The revolving door of staff across the uni meant that not many people cared that much about how good a job they were doing or how things would pan out in the long run and it was quite sad as the students deserve more than that sort of attitude. It’s a hollow university that looks impressive on the outside with fancy new buildings and the possibility of getting dual Chinese/Uk degrees for the students. After some time and a closer look you can see that on the inside it is festering with deep rooted problems and shifty goings on.

      Continue reading
      20 people found this review helpful
    7. 2.0
      Former Employee

      Good working place but bad management

      Feb 13, 2017 - Anonymous Employee 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Good working place with facilities

      Cons

      Senior management that do not have any experience in running a University and favouritism towards people who doesnot critise their(management) weaknesses.

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      4 people found this review helpful
    8. 1.0
      Current Employee

      Lecturer

      Jan 19, 2016 -  
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Many of the students are wonderful and China.

      Cons

      Management is insane: mostly a load of white men with no experience in academia but who miraculously a year or two out of graduate school have lofty titles of Deans and Heads of Department and know nothing about working peacefully and respectfully with their peers. Many of my colleagues were lied to during the contract negotiations and even having things in writing means nothing because this university works tirelessly to intimidate its teaching staff and bully them into doing what they want regardless of competence, expertise, or pre-agreed discussion. The university has a lot of potential that is completely trashed at the level of management and their refusal to listen to the very people who form the cadre of teachers. This creates a culture of bureaucracy and distrust.

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      7 people found this review helpful
    9. 5.0
      Current Employee, more than 8 years

      Innovation in action

      Nov 20, 2021 - Professor in Suzhou, Jiangsu
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      An innovative place to work for those who have ideas and want to see something beyond mere words. Relaxed atmosphere with friendly peers and students. Genuine cooperation between Chinese and non-Chinese within a JV environment.

      Cons

      Very few. Not for someone who wishes to continue to use old (dated) practices from previous institutions.

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      1 person found this review helpful
    10. 5.0
      Current Employee, more than 3 years

      XJTLU PhD

      Oct 15, 2021 - PhD Researcher in Suzhou, Jiangsu
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Good and competitive environment. Helpful people.

      Cons

      The cultural difference can be a good or bad experience depending on people.

      1 person found this review helpful
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