Excellence Awards Winners this Year: The University's Support and Stimulating Environment Breeds Excellence
On the sidelines of the End-of-the-Year Ceremony held by the university at the Cultural Palace in the Diplomatic Quarters, PSU represented by its Rector Dr. Ahmed bin Saleh al-Yamani and Dr. Rima bint Saleh Al-yahya, the Vice Rector of the Women's Campus, honored the faculty members who won the Teaching Excellence Awards in the fields of academic performance and scientific research for the academic year 2015/2016. The event also witnessed honoring the male and female students who won the Ideal Student Award for this year. Dr. Alia Mitchell, the Director of Teaching and Learning Center, announced the winning of Dr. Anees Koba’ah, the College of Computer and Information Sciences faculty member, of the University Rector Award for Teaching Excellence. Dr. Mosa’id Bin Meqbel, the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, announced the winning of Dr. Tanzilah Saba, the College of Computer and Information Sciences faculty member, of the University Award for Research Excellence. The financial award amounts to SR 25000 for each award.
The winners of the Excellent Faculty Member Awards on the level of the colleges and the Deanship of Educational Services are: Dr. Mohammed Mofarrej, College of Engineering, Dr. Mohamed Hanif Akhtar, College of Business Administration, Dr. Anees Koba’ah, the College of Computer and Information Sciences, Dr. Nadia Kathim, College of Law, Dr. Nafisa Sonkir, College of Humanities, and Ms. Arooj Al-Yassawi, the Deanship of Educational Services.
The winner of the Ideal Student Award from the Men Campus was the student Ahmed Hussein Al-Hajjar from the College of Engineering, and the winner of the Ideal Student Award from the Women's Campus was the student Alaa Amer Al-Khair from the Software Engineering Department.
It is worth mentioning that the selection of the winners in these awards is done based on specific stages and precise criteria. The selection of the winner of the University Rector Award for Teaching Excellence initially depends on the students’ evaluation of the faculty member. The Teaching and Learning Center monitors the evaluations and nominates three faculty members from the Women's Campus and three faculty members from the Men's Campus. In the third stage of the award, the academic records of the nominees and their achievements are studied. The Center interviews the nominees leading to the fourth stage of the award where the final winners in both sections of the university are selected, and one professor from the Men's or Women's Campuses wins the the University Rector Award for Teaching Excellence.
The University Award for Research Excellence is granted based on the evaluation of international reviewers from different nationalities for the research achievements of the faculty member. The criteria that these reviewers use in selecting the winner of the award depend on the quality and quantity of his/her scientific research output in the academic year. The international reviewers this year were from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Germany. All have the degree of full professor. Based on the following research achievements during the academic year 2015/2016, Dr. Tanzilah Saba won the Award:
(7) Research papers published in journals listed in ISI Web of Science Databases.
(4) Research papers published in journals listed in Scopus Databases.
(2) Research papers published in academic refereed journals.
(3) Research papers published in the deliberations of refereed conferences, in addition to obtaining an internal research grant.
Following the ceremony, we met the Awards winners to talk about their feelings and impressions and the methods they had used to win these Awards.
Dr. Anees Koba’ah, the College of Computer and Information Sciences faculty member, the winner of the Teaching Excellence Award at the level of his college and the winner of the University Rector Award for Teaching Excellence said: I am very happy with this confidence I gained after winning this significant Award. I am so happy with the stimulating academic environment at the university that supports creativity and achievement on both the academic performance level and the scientific research which has enabled me to win this Award. So I am grateful to all PSU employees starting from the Rector, the Vice-Rectors, the Deans, the Chairmen of the departments, and my colleagues. I also would like to thank my distinguished students whose enthusiasm motivates the faculty member, increases his level of efficiency, and pushes him forward towards performance and creativity."
Dr. Mohammed Mofarrej, College of Engineering, the winner of the Academic Excellence Award on the level of his college said, "I am really proud of this award because it is the product of long and many years of working in the academic field. To be a distinguished teacher requires you to exert maximum and intensive efforts in preparing classes and extracurricular activities for your students, and sometimes this happens at the expense of the time you spend with your family. Therefore, I would like to thank my family who have always been patient, especially this year, with my academic engagements. I also would like to thank all my colleagues at the College of Engineering, and the university management for providing the appropriate environment and conditions to win this Award which motivates all faculty members to exert maximum efforts and dedication through preparing properly for their classes and activities leading to full and energetic participation and interaction from the students. I wish that my coworkers at the College of Engineering and other colleges to try their best in the academic field and to compete and win this Award.
Dr. Nadia Kathim, College of Law, the winner of the Teaching Excellence Award at the level of her college said, "I should tell you that when they announced my name as the winner of the Award I was overwhelmed with both feelings of happiness and great fear. Though the Award means a lot to me especially as an appreciation and gratitude from my great university which is considered home to me, I considered the Award a great responsibility. If this Award is considered a means of appreciation from PSU to me, I also consider it a great challenge to continue excellent performance in my academic work to meet this challenge and to achieve the aspirations of my beloved university and its management. This challenge and responsibility make me realize that I should continue working hard as one team with my colleagues to achieve success and development for our students and to promote science and knowledge in our university. Frankly, I have not been seeking the award, but I have been working according to a strategic plan that I drew up for myself since I became an instructor. The gist of this plan is to make every new day of my teaching in terms of knowledge and performance better than the previous day. So I do everything in my power so as not to repeat myself in teaching and to be more innovative. This can only be achieved not by working alone as an individual but through teamwork. So I always like to listen to the directives of the the management, to exchange advice and ideas with my colleagues on the best method of teaching, and to be open to the suggestions, views, and comments of my students.
In short, I have found that the open lecture based on interaction and participation between all elements of the educational process is the best way of teaching and learning. Perhaps this is particularly significant in the study of law. Law requires the person to have a distinct personality, to be able to express his opinions and convictions, to criticize the reality, and to propose alternative solutions for the problems. This can be achieved by combining theory with practical reality and by comparing different legislations."
Ms. Arooj Al-Yassawi, the winner of the Teaching Excellence Award on the level of the Deanship of Educational Services said: I was overwhelmed with happiness when I received the Academic Excellence Award. This award is a recognition of excellence in the teaching skills that I have learned and worked to develop over the years at PSU. I hope that I continue to learn and progress in my profession, and to leave a positive impact on my students.
The student Ahmed Al-Hajjar commented on his winning the title of the Ideal Student, "At the beginning I would like to thank all those who supported me in the university and contributed to the development and growth of my character and my performance for the better starting from the former university Vice-Rector Dr. Arslan Abed and Dr. Samer Ayassrh, and I also would like to thank God and all my friends and my family, because without their support I would not be as I am now. This Award will give me more motivation and support towards better achievements in the future.
Finally, I believe that the most important reason that leads to success is that the student should not see the university as a place to study only. He should not mix study with work. I have been able to achieve all that and to maintain my GPA in the last four years of studying at the university."
The winner of the Ideal Student Award from the Women's Campus, the student Alaa Al-Khair commented on her winning the title, "After I finished the procedures required for participating in the contest, I was contacted by the Student Affairs Office to conduct a test of general culture. The criteria of selecting the Ideal Student depend on the student’s GPA, the number of credit hours he/she has passed, the number of activities he/she has participated in, and the grades he/she has obtained in the test.
In her answer whether she expected to win the Award or not, Alaa said, "Actually the university has many distinguished students. I think many of my colleagues are worthy of the title, the "Ideal Student ", because of their cooperation, partnership and excellence. So when I applied for the contest, I was driven by my desire for experiment not for winning the Award because I knew that the competition was going to be tough.
So when I was contacted by the Student Affairs Office to inform me that I won the Award, I did not believe it at the beginning. But when I received the certificate from Dr. Rima S Alyahya, the Vice Rector, Women's Campus, I was overwhelmed by feelings of happiness, pride, and gratitude to God first, and then to my family and university starting from the Dr. Rima, the Vice-Rector, and the faculty members.
Regarding the terms for winning such a title, Alaa said, "The title is not out of the reach of any student. I advise all my colleagues to become outstanding in her studies, behavior and life at the university even if she is not going to apply for the award. Leading an ideal life is rewarding even if not granted the title of "Ideal Student."
About her feelings while receiving the Award, Alaa added, "Thanks are due to God for providing me with this blessing. Thanks are also due to my dear parents for their continuous assistance, support and prayers. In fact, the happiness and pride which filled my mother's eyes when I received the Award made up for the long hours of study and exhaustion."
The Ideal Student, Alaa, finally said, "Winning this Award is a natural outcome for all the efforts by our university to reach the highest levels. The university, professors and colleagues represent my second family who always provide necessary support and assistance. I sincerely thank every faculty member who stood by my side and who called me an A+ student and who trusted me. My title "The Ideal Student" represents efforts by so many people, so I extend special thanks to all of them."
In her comment about the ceremony, Ms. Tahira Hoke, Director of the Evaluation and Academic Accreditation Center at the Women's Campus, the office which supervised the organization of the ceremony in collaboration with the Public Relations Office, said, "The end-of-the-year ceremony was outstanding. It was indeed a pleasure to listen to the Rector sharing our joint accomplishments at the university. We were also very pleased to learn about the accomplishments of our dear colleagues at the academic and research fronts and to appreciate our ideal students. We also enjoyed meeting our hard-working colleagues off-campus and having such a luxurious dinner. We, at the Evaluation and Academic Accreditation Center, extend special thanks to all those who supported our efforts to ensure institutional quality and obtain academic accreditation. We owe all those who helped achieve academic accreditation for our university, and we will keep our diligent efforts for Prince Sultan University to become the best private university in the Middle East. We also welcome any suggestions that support the university's efforts to fulfill the Kingdom's 2030 vision. Last but not least, I sincerely thank those who will leave our university this year and whom we will greatly miss next year. We wish them great success in their future endeavors. We also thank everyone for their positivity, dedication, enthusiasm and outstanding accomplishments."