Annual Nikai Awards celebrate HCT faculty and students’ dedication to innovation and excellence

6 years

Practical Learning by Doing projects, academic excellence and a passion for community involvement were rewarded by the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), as winners of the Nikai Student and Faculty Awards for the 2012/2013 academic year were announced yesterday.

The annual Nikai Awards were presented during the HCT’s 26th Annual Conference, held at the HCT Dubai Men’s College where over 1000 faculty, management and staff gathered to learn about HCT’s plans for the coming academic year, which started today. They were personally presented to the winners by HCT Chancellor, H.E. Mohammad Omran Al Shamsi, HCT Vice Chancellor, Dr. Tayeb Kamali and Nikai Chairman Paras Shahdadpuri.

The Nikai awards are proudly sponsored annually by the Nikai Group which supports innovation in education, by students and faculty members, who demonstrate great aptitude, creativity, innovation and dedication to their studies and fields of endeavour at the HCT. The awards are a highlight of the HCT calendar and see the winners receive significant cash prizes, electronic equipment and a commemorative certificate.

In the student category there was one overall award winner and the judges considered the students’ suitability under the criteria of Academic Excellence (maintaining a minimum semester GPA of 3.5); Community Service; Significant contributions to student life and college activities and Awards/distinctions received.

The Nikai faculty awards were given for each of the two semesters and are awarded to innovative programmes, projects or initiatives which enhance student learning and skills. The award criteria includes innovation in teaching and the criteria considered were Quality; Creativity and timeliness; Efficiency and cost effectiveness; Sharability and replication; and Sustainability.

The Nikai Student Award recognises an outstanding HCT graduating student who has made noteworthy contributions to activities outside the academic curriculum, excelled in their programmes, their extracurricular activities and have generally epitomized the Higher Colleges of Technology student body. The winner of this year’s annual Nikai Student Award was Khawla Othman Salman Hassan, who graduated from the Sharjah Women’s College (SWC) in June 2013 with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (Accounting).

Sharjah Women’s College graduate Khawla Othman Salman Hassan receives her student excellence award at the ceremony
Sharjah Women’s College graduate Khawla Othman Salman Hassan receives her student excellence award at the ceremony

Khawla was academically outstanding throughout the four years of her programme.  She was also deeply involved in community life, leadership activities and global change.  This was demonstrated by going to the Philippines and India to help build homes in remote villages as part of Habitat for Humanity projects.

She has won numerous awards including the Ruwaad Start-up Business Plan competition (2011) and the INJAZ i-camp Business idea (2012) recognizing her entrepreneurial spirit.  She was a winner of the best paper award at the Education with Borders conference (2013).  She has presented papers at national and international conferences including the 2012 Doha Debates in Qatar. She is a passionate advocate for social causes, a change leader and catalyst who is living the change she wants to see in her life. Khawla was also a member of SWC Students Council and founding member of the College’s Habitat for Humanity Club.

The Nikai Faculty Award for Semester 1 was awarded to Tamilselvan (Selvan) Mahalingam from Dubai Women’s College for his Innovation Integrated MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). This initiative has more than 1800 registered worldwide participants and many more are still enrolling from over 100 countries around the globe. Selvan “flipped” the classroom for his project management and operations management courses. It has attracted graduates and alumni back to the College and has also led to further MOOC initiatives amongst faculty members across the HCT system.

Nikai Selvan

Mr. Mahalingam is a strong advocate of integrating HCT’s Learning by Doing philosophy in his classes, as well as leveraging technology to engage and teach students.

The Nikai Faculty Award for Semester 2 winner was David Carter from Sharjah Men’s College for his innovation Blended Technology to support Self-directed Learning. In this project David has implemented e-learning strategies through digital textbooks and augmented reality which can be applied in higher education and corporate training. David has published an iBook and iTunes course in project management with more than 500 users world-wide.

The focus of Mr. Carter’s work at HCT has been in the area of Project Management education and specifically how innovative technologies can be used in this discipline. His interests include the use of mobile technologies for industry and education.

Sharjah Women’s College faculty member David Carter receives his award for teaching innovation in Semester 2 of the 2012/13 academic year.
Sharjah Women’s College faculty member David Carter receives his award for teaching innovation in Semester 2 of the 2012/13 academic year.

The student and faculty awards are as a result of the generous sponsorship of the Nikai Group of Companies and its Chairman Paras Shahdadpuri said the company was honoured and privileged to sponsor the awards for excellence in education over the past years.

Mr. Shahdadpuri said the corporation’s partnership with HCT was aimed at playing a pivotal role in enlightening, educating and motivating the students, faculty and professionals across the HCT colleges.

HCT Vice Chancellor Dr Tayeb Kamali thanked the Nikai Group for its long and generous association with the excellence in innovation awards. “It is through close partnerships like this one with the Nikai Group that the Higher Colleges of Technology is able to provide such high standards for the education and development of its students and faculty, as well as to nurture and assist innovation,” Dr Kamali said.