HCT sets target to be UAE’s number one institution at 26th Annual Conference

2013-09-07 17:43:05
WAM DUBAI, 7th September, 2013 (WAM)–Higher Colleges of Technology faculty and staff were given the challenge to become the UAE’s leading higher education institution within three years, as the country’s largest institution officially launched the new academic year today at its 26th Annual Conference at the HCT – Dubai Men’s College.
The one-day event, held under the theme of Learning by Doing – Ensuring Student Success by Design, was an opportunity for the HCT community to plan for the academic year ahead, which starts tomorrow, as well as to learn of new developments in teaching methods and pedagogy.
HCT Chancellor, Mohammad Omran Al Shamsi delivered the opening address in front of more than 1,000 faculty and staff members who travelled from the HCT’s 16 other campuses throughout the UAE for the convocation ceremony. In keeping with tradition, all new faculty members were introduced to the Chancellor.
Al Shamsi addressed the gathering on a wide range of issues which will be relevant to the HCT community for the 2013/2014 academic year. The Chancellor noted the successes of the first 25 years of HCT’s operation, adding that all involved should look to build on those strong foundations in order to move ahead for the coming years.
“I propose a target for the HCT, that is let us work together to make HCT the number one higher education institution in the UAE in three years. We will all be keen to do this. We must ensure that our students get the jobs that our country needs; and to have the international standards implemented to be number one,” Mohammad Omran Al Shamsi said. “Let’s work together to make HCT number one in the UAE,” he added.
The Chancellor also thanked Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development for his work as HCT Chancellor over the last 25 years. “Everyone in the UAE links the HCT with Sheikh Nahayan and I hope that as Chancellor I will add a little extra to his achievements,” he said.
Al Shamsi spoke of the HCT’s Emiratisation goals, which are of paramount consideration in order to attract the best qualified National employees and to assist with nation-building enterprises. In particular he referred to HCT’s involvement with the Absher Initiative. “We must ensure that we deliver the best opportunities for our students. We will do our best to achieve those goals,” he said.
One of the HCT’s major Emiratisation milestones has been the appointment of five Emiratis as College Directors within the HCT system. Meanwhile, a key group discussion session during the annual conference discussed the way forward with HCT’s Emiratisation efforts.
The Chancellor also highlighted the benefits of the new organisational structure which will see the HCT’s core disciplines of Applied Communication, Business, Computer and Information Sciences, Education, Engineering Technology and Health Sciences being led by Executive Deans, which will streamline processes and align HCT with international best practices and accreditation standards.
“We need to ensure that whatever studies our students take at our colleges is the same everywhere. We have therefore appointed the new Executive Deans. This will ensure that everything is standardised to meet the requirements for accreditation within HCT and also externally. There will also be other benefits allowing us to provide our students with the best facilities, for example the laboratories. This will all help students and faculty achieve better results,” he said.
Al Shamsi revealed a new business incubator model to help HCT students start their own businesses. “The business community is very eager to encourage young boys and girls who graduate from the HCT to go into private business. To this extent we have set aside 1 million dirhams to establish an incubating fund to encourage graduates to start new businesses. This has been done overseas and has been very successful in the world. This fund will be a very good seed to encourage our graduates to work with each other in business or by themselves,” he said.
The feature of the 26th annual conference was the series of over 40 teaching and learning sessions covering the six teaching divisions at HCT. Faculty members were given a diverse range of session topics to choose from including mobile learning, integration of eTextbooks, the use and development of Learning by Doing principles in the classrooms, enhancing student potential and engagement, project-based learning, the use of Apps in mathematics, innovative engineering solutions and student iBooks.
Dr. Tayeb Kamali, HCT Vice Chancellor, welcomed new and returning faculty and staff to the academic year which promised many exciting challenges and opportunities as HCT continued its journey and aimed to reach the Chancellor’s target to be the UAE’s number one higher education institution.
“We have opened our doors for over 6,000 students this year and all these students will be looking to us for leadership and as to how they will succeed,” he said.
Dr. Kamali urged the gathering to continue with their hard work and maintain the focus on issues such as embedding Learning by Doing in all academic activities and expand the use of technologies, and particularly mobile technologies, as vital educational tools.
WAM/MN

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