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Projects @ The Higher Colleges of Technology - Dubai


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Executive Leadership Development Program

Problem: Faculty members often transition into leadership or supervisory roles with little to no formal training in leadership skills. This gap in their professional development made it challenging for them to effectively lead their teams and departments. There was a clear need for a structured program that could equip these academic leaders with the necessary skills to manage, inspire, and lead effectively.

Action: With a team members from Greece, the UK, India, Jordan, Portugal, and the UAE, we designed an Executive Leadership Development Training Program targeted at deans, directors, managers, and program team leaders across HCT's 14 campuses in the UAE. In collaboration with a professor from the Business Department, we designed and facilitated a 4-hour course focused on "Effective Communication for Leaders in Academia," that covered key aspects of leadership communication, including active listening, conflict resolution, persuasive communication, and how to motivate and engage teams. I employed a variety of teaching methods, including interactive workshops, real-world case studies, and group discussions, facilitating a dynamic learning environment that encouraged active participation and practical application of the skills learned.

Result: The program was met with overwhelming success, with over 200 academic leaders participating in the training. Feedback from participants highlighted significant improvements in their communication skills, with many reporting increased confidence in their ability to lead effectively, improvements in team dynamics, and collaboration within departments. The success of the program has established it as a key component of leadership development at HCT, with plans for future sessions and the development of additional modules to cover other aspects of leadership.

Evidence: Below is a link to the interactive slides used in one of the Module 5 workshops.

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Professional Communications Course

Problem: Emirati new hires in the customer service industry often struggle with effective communication, which is critical in their roles. Recognizing that these entry-level employees might not have had prior training in professional communication, there was an urgent need for a structured program to equip them with the necessary skills to interact with customers efficiently and effectively.

Action: To address this challenge, I developed and led a Professional Communications Course tailored specifically for entry-level customer service employees. This comprehensive course was designed to cover all facets of professional communication, including active listening, clear and concise verbal and written communication, among other skills. I facilitated interactive sessions that encouraged participation, feedback, and reflection, allowing employees to practice and refine their skills in a supportive environment.

Result: The implementation of the Professional Communications Course significantly improved the communication skills of entry-level customer service employees, as evidenced by internal assessments and employer feedback. Employees reported feeling more confident in their roles, equipped with the tools to handle a wide range of customer interactions with professionalism and empathy. 

Evidence: Below is a five-minute video that re-caps one of the sessions on brainstorming and writing strategies.

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Mini-PDs: Micro-learning community in higher education

Problem: Despite the increasing availability and potential of educational technologies, faculty members at our institution faced challenges in effectively integrating these tools into their teaching practices. This gap in technology integration skills limited the potential for enhanced student engagement and learning outcomes. Recognizing the need to bridge this gap, we identified an opportunity to empower faculty with the knowledge and skills to utilize technology effectively in their classrooms.

Action: In response to this challenge, I conceptualized and led the development of a fun, engaging two-day online micro-learning course titled "Effective Technology Integration in the Classroom." This professional development program was designed specifically for faculty members, aiming to demystify educational technology and promote its practical application in teaching. The course utilized an interactive and participant-centered approach, featuring hands-on activities, live demonstrations, and collaborative workshops. Key topics covered included selecting appropriate technological tools to match learning objectives, creating interactive and inclusive learning environments, and assessing student engagement and learning outcomes through technology. To accommodate faculty schedules and promote a culture of continuous learning, the course was structured around short, actionable modules that could be completed flexibly.

Result: The course was met with enthusiastic participation from faculty across various disciplines, significantly enhancing their confidence and competence in integrating technology into their teaching. Post-course evaluations revealed a marked improvement in participants' ability to select and apply educational technologies effectively, with many reporting a positive impact on student engagement and learning outcomes in their subsequent classes. The success of this program not only fostered a more innovative and inclusive educational environment at our institution but also established a foundational framework for ongoing faculty development in educational technology integration. The overwhelming positive feedback has led to the incorporation of this program into our annual professional development offerings, with future iterations planned to incorporate emerging technologies and pedagogical strategies.

Evidence: Below is a short clip of the introduction of day two's session.

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College Student Research Project Guidelines

Problem: College students embarking on research projects often faced significant challenges due to a lack of clear, structured guidelines. This absence of guidance resulted in confusion about research methodologies, project scope, and documentation standards, ultimately affecting the quality of student research outcomes. Recognizing this issue, there was a pressing need to develop comprehensive guidelines that could support students in conducting effective and meaningful research.

Action: To address this challenge, I spearheaded the initiative to develop a set of detailed research project guidelines tailored specifically for college students. The project involved extensive research into best practices in academic research methodologies, project management, and documentation standards. Collaborating with a team of academic professionals and leveraging feedback from previous student research experiences, we crafted guidelines that covered every stage of the research process. This included topic selection, literature review, methodology, data collection and analysis, writing, and presentation. Special emphasis was placed on ethical considerations and the importance of originality and academic integrity. The guidelines were designed to be accessible and user-friendly, incorporating examples, templates, and frequently asked questions to support student understanding and engagement.

Result: The implementation of the research project guidelines had a profound impact on the quality of student research projects. Faculty members reported a notable improvement in the clarity, depth, and academic rigor of student submissions. Students expressed appreciation for the clear direction and support provided by the guidelines, which not only enhanced their research skills but also boosted their confidence in conducting academic research. The guidelines have since become a fundamental resource for research projects within the college, contributing to a culture of excellence and integrity in student-led research. The success of this initiative has also prompted discussions on further resources and workshops to support student research, highlighting its significance in enhancing academic standards and student learning outcomes.

Evidence: Below is a digital copy of the user-guide


Screens OFF! Hands ON! Mini-projects in creativity

Problem: In the traditional academic environment, faculty members often rely on conventional teaching methods that may not fully engage students or foster a sense of community within the classroom. This situation highlighted the need for innovative approaches that could rejuvenate teaching practices and enhance the learning experience by incorporating creativity and building stronger classroom communities.

Action: In response to this challenge, I developed and led a 4-week professional development course titled "Creativity and Community-Building in the Classroom," aimed at empowering faculty members with the tools and techniques to integrate creative projects into their curriculum and foster a more collaborative learning environment. To enrich the learning experience and encourage hands-on application, each week, participants were sent a unique "goodie-bag" containing crafts and other materials designed for completing a creative mini-project that aligned with the week's theme.

The course was structured around interactive workshops, group discussions, and peer feedback sessions, allowing participants to explore and share innovative teaching strategies that promote creativity and community engagement. Topics covered included designing collaborative projects that encourage student participation, using creative assignments to enhance critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and strategies for building inclusive classroom communities that support diverse learning styles.

Result: The course was met with enthusiastic feedback from faculty participants, who reported significant enhancements in their teaching approaches and observed higher levels of student engagement and interaction in their classrooms. The creative mini-projects, facilitated by the weekly goodie-bags, were particularly praised for providing practical, hands-on experiences that could be easily adapted to different disciplines and teaching contexts. Following the course, participants shared stories of how incorporating these creative and community-building strategies led to a more dynamic and supportive learning environment, with students showing increased motivation and a stronger sense of belonging. The success of this professional development course has sparked interest in further expanding the program to include more faculty members and exploring additional themes related to innovative teaching and learning practices.

Evidence: Below is the digital whiteboard with the mini-projects

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Virtual Field Trip: Jameel Arts Center-Dubai

Problem: During the pandemic, the shift to virtual learning environments posed significant challenges to engaging college students in meaningful educational experiences. Furthermore, the topic of smartphone addiction, which was of particular relevance during this period of increased digital reliance, required an innovative teaching approach to fully engage students and stimulate critical thinking. The need for a creative educational strategy was evident to not only maintain student engagement but also to provide them with a profound understanding of the impacts of technology on society.

Action: To address these challenges, I designed and delivered a virtual field trip for a group of college students, focusing on the effects of smartphone addiction. The lesson was centered around a visit to the Jameel Arts Center in Dubai, which was hosting an art exhibit featuring works that critically explored the impact of technology on society and individual lives. This contemporary arts space provided an ideal backdrop for discussing the complex theme of smartphone addiction.

The virtual field trip included a live session with the museum curator, who provided in-depth insights into the exhibited pieces and how they reflected the broader societal concerns related to technology's pervasive influence. Students were encouraged to engage with the curator, asking questions and discussing their thoughts on how art reflects and critiques technology's role in our lives. This interactive experience was aimed at deepening their understanding of the subject matter in preparation for a research project on smartphone addiction.

Result: The virtual field trip was met with highly positive feedback from the students, who found the experience both enlightening and engaging. The innovative approach to exploring the topic through contemporary art allowed students to critically assess the societal implications of smartphone addiction from a unique perspective. This engagement was reflected in the success of their subsequent research projects on the topic, with all participating students achieving passing scores. The positive outcomes of this educational initiative demonstrated the effectiveness of creative virtual learning experiences in enhancing student understanding and engagement, even in the challenging context of pandemic-induced remote education.

Evidence: Below is a short video on how I designed the virtual trip and moments from the event.

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Academic Success Program Symposium

Problem: As the program manager of the student support department across a university with 14 campuses, I identified a critical issue in our online peer-tutoring program: a notable shortage of tutors available to meet student demand. This scarcity was impeding the program's ability to offer adequate academic support, essential for student success across all disciplines and campuses. Additionally, there was a lack of a cohesive platform for existing peer tutors to exchange best practices and enhance their tutoring skills collaboratively.


Action: To address these challenges, I initiated and led the organization of an innovative Peer Tutor Symposium, designed to be delivered online and accessible to all 14 campuses. The primary objectives were to showcase the impactful practices and skills developed through participation in the peer-tutoring program and to elevate the program's profile to attract more high-performing students as tutors. The symposium featured presentations from current peer tutors, interactive workshops, and sessions for sharing effective tutoring strategies and experiences. This event required meticulous planning, coordination with multiple stakeholders across the university, and the deployment of a robust online platform to facilitate a seamless and engaging virtual experience.


Result: The Peer Tutor Symposium was a resounding success, drawing an attendance of over 300 students, faculty, and university administrators. The feedback collected through a post-event survey highlighted overwhelming positive reception, with participants praising the initiative for its informative and inspiring content. Moreover, the symposium significantly boosted the program's visibility, leading to an increased interest among high-performing students in becoming peer tutors. Post-symposium, we observed a notable uptick in tutor recruitment, thereby enhancing the program's capacity to provide valuable academic support. The event not only addressed the immediate challenge of tutor scarcity but also fostered a stronger community of practice among peer tutors, contributing to the continual improvement of tutoring quality across the university.

Evidence: Below is the summary and feedback report delivered to stakeholders.

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i-Mind Innovation Challenge

Problem: Facing a concerning lack of recruitment into engineering programs at the university, our team identified a pressing need to demystify engineering principles and showcase the creativity and problem-solving aspects of the field to a wider audience. The goal was to spark interest among students in various regions of the country, who may not have previously considered engineering as a viable or appealing academic path.

Action: To tackle this issue, I collaborated with an international team from the UK, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE to design and coordinate a unique hybrid innovation challenge event. This event aimed to make engineering principles more accessible and engaging to university students through a three-fold competition:

  1. General STEM Kahoot Quiz: We kicked off with a hybrid quiz that tested teams on their basic knowledge of science and technology principles, engaging participants both online and in-person.

  2. Research and Presentation on Female Scientists: Students were tasked with researching and presenting short talks on notable female scientists, promoting diversity and inclusion within the STEM fields. This component encouraged teamwork and showcased the contributions of women to science and engineering.

  3. Lego Robot Building and Programming: The highlight of the event was a hands-on challenge where teams used Lego robot kits to build and program robots to complete specific tasks. This component was designed to be fun and educational, emphasizing the practical and innovative aspects of engineering.

Teams competed for honors in various categories, such as best team, best presentation skills, and most innovative, fostering a spirit of competition and innovation.

Result: The event was a significant success, with over 100 students, faculty, and administrators participating both in-person and online. The innovative format and engaging content of the competition not only showcased the dynamic and creative potential of engineering but also directly contributed to a 15% increase in interest and enrollment in engineering programs the following semester. This outcome demonstrated the effectiveness of interactive and accessible events in inspiring students to explore STEM fields, particularly engineering, thereby addressing the initial recruitment challenge faced by the university.

Evidence: Below is a video montage posted on social media about the event.

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