Governance and Organisation


The Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) constitute a federal, independent institution for higher education, established under Federal law no. 2 of 1988 and later reorganized under Federal law no. 17 of 1998. HCT confers degrees at the Bachelor level. The HCT operates as a system of 16 campuses for male and female students in urban and rural locations in five emirates. The headquarters are located in the city of Abu Dhabi.

The HCT is governed by a Board of Trustees, which is chaired by the Chancellor, H.E. Dr. Abdulrahman Abdulmannan Al Awar, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation. In his role as Chairman of the Board, the Chancellor is the legal representative of the HCT system and is responsible for carrying out the decisions of the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees is also comprised of other qualified and experienced members from various sectors in the UAE appointed by the Cabinet. 

HCT President and CEO, Dr. Faisal Alayyan is responsible for the management of HCT and the implementation of its regulations and resolutions. In addition, he is responsible for developing a culture of innovation as well as enhancing HCT’s organisational performance.


The HCT organisation comprises the following High Level Departments:


Cooperative Relationships with Other Organizations

The Global Applied Education Network (GAEN) was established in recognition of the need to create a global platform for the applied education sector to collaboratively address the workforce and employability challenges posed by the fourth industrial revolution. 


GAEN is a first-of-its-kind international network of applied higher education providers focused explicitly on bringing together applied higher education institutions to collaborate on addressing real-world opportunities and challenges in light of the fourth industrial revolution. In particular, the establishment of GAEN has been driven by the following themes:

  • Raising the profile of applied education: While a number of research-led university networks are already well established, there is a niche for a similar platform enabling applied education providers to develop a shared voice on the sector and to highlight the unique contribution it makes to the global economy and wider society
  • Succeeding in a rapidly changing labour market: New technologies and demographic shifts mean that the future, global workforce is likely to look very different from today. Applied education providers have a duty to ensure their students and life-long learners are equipped to survive and thrive in the future
  • Driving a knowledge economy: The creation of a competitive knowledge economy requires the development of capabilities in applied research, innovation and enterprise so to address real issues faced by industry, which must be achieved in close collaboration with employers and industry

Current members of the GAEN are:

GAEN partners

Academic Affairs

HCT’s Academic Affairs function, headed by the Chief Academic Officer, manages a number of key institutional roles. It provides academic leadership & policy. It also provides planning guidance, coordination and evaluation of instructional programs and processes; academic standards and assessment; and learning resources, in support of the implementation of academic programs. It is also responsible for developing HCT’s research plan and for managing and monitoring faculty members’ activities and building their research capabilities.

The Academic function contains six academic faculty divisions and six academic support departments.

Academic Programs

The Faculty Executive Deans provide academic leadership to ensure the quality of program content and currency of teaching, learning, evaluation and assessment. They manage academic resources to support all HCT campuses, and enhance the HCT’s learner-centered environment. 

The academic support departments, which include the System Registrar and the following, are led by the Vice President of Academic Affairs, who manages the provision of consistent and effective academic support in a timely manner to the Faculties. The academic support departments are:

  • General Academic Requirements Division 
  • Institutional and Program Accreditation Department
  • Program and Curriculum
  • Faculty Affairs and Scholarly Activities
  • Central Assessment Unit

General Academic Requirements Division

The General Academic Requirements Division (GARD) is led by a Director, who promotes student success in acquiring essential 21st century practical skills and competencies in the areas of effective oral and written communication, in Arabic & English; creative & critical thinking; and problem solving, through common courses across the academic Faculties.

Institutional and Program Accreditation Department

The Institutional and Program Accreditation Department headed by the Dean, ensures that HCT programs comply with national and international accreditation standards and maintains their accreditation status. The Department also oversees the accreditation of new academic and professional programs; the continuous, quality improvement to established programs; and external reviews. Institutional licensure also falls under the remit of the Department

Program and Curriculum

The Program and Curriculum Department is led by an Executive Dean. It is responsible for ensuring quality in program development, undertaking periodic curriculum reviews and ensuring these are in accordance with HCT policies and procedures. The Department also introduces systematic and standardized procedures for all program changes and oversees the processes that ensure compliance and synchronization with the Curriculum Management System (CMS) and Student Information System (SIS).

Faculty Affairs and Scholar Activities

The Faculty Affairs & Scholar Activities Department, led by a Dean, is committed to supporting an active research community at HCT. The Department provides leadership in devising, implementing and monitoring HCT’s applied research agenda and developing innovative research approaches towards building partnerships with industry and communities.

Central Assessment Unit

The Central Assessment Unit (CAU), headed by the Assessment Senior Manager, ensures system-wide fairness and equity of assessment practices. The CAU monitors the quality, validity, reliability and corresponding grade integrity of assessments. It ensures consistent implementation of robust processes relevant to assessment development and delivery, in addition to comprehensive analysis and reporting that feed into curriculum and delivery improvement cycles. The CAU also caters for assessment scheduling and facilitation, including Faculty–Wide Assessments (FWAs). 

Education Technologies Division

The Education Technologies Division, led by the Vice President, Education Technologies, oversees three key areas - Intelligent Learning Systems, Digital Technologies and Knowledge Management. The Division is responsible for the sustainable provision of core academic and non-academic technology services across all HCT campuses and business units, so as to support teaching & learning and administrative services. 

Key responsibilities include:

  • Provide and maintain technologies to support classroom-based, online, and blended teaching & learning
  • Provide management and support to all academic support systems, including teaching and learning systems, and classroom technology  
  • Provide anytime, anywhere access to e-textbooks, online resources, online databases, and Library e-resources  
  • Provide professional development workshops and programs for faculty and staff 
  • Promote the adoption and support the effective use of educational technologies to enhance student learning 
  • Support faculty to design and develop engaging learning experiences and effective digital interactive content 
  • Ensure there is a robust and agile technology infrastructure to support state of the art technology tools 
  • Provide and maintain a set of enterprise technology tools, and application support
  • Ensure that robust cybersecurity measures are in place to protect HCT data and information
  • Provide and maintain all needed technologies for all non-academic business units
  • Ensure all faculty, staff, and students have access to support and services 24/7 
  • Provide platform and tools for knowledge sharing and collaboration
  • Support data-driven decision making by providing a suite of BI tools to support academic as well as all other business units. 

Campus Operations

Each campus is headed by an Executive Director, who is responsible for providing leadership to his/her campus within the HCT system. The Campus Executive Director is also responsible for operations management at HCT campuses which includes student life, student support services, facilities, and community relations.

Student Affairs

Student Affairs is responsible for directing, managing and overseeing student life activities across campuses with the aim of providing students with the best environment for success, while maintaining consistency across campuses.

Campus Academic Operations

The Campus Academic Operations Department undertakes, manages and oversees all facets of academic operations required for the delivery of academic programs and curricula at a campus, in order to deliver a quality learning experience for students. The Department also has direct oversight of Academic Services and Academic Advising capabilities at the campus level.

Campus Support

The Campus Support Department is responsible for directing the planning, development and implementation of all non-academic support services related to student life, at the campus.

Strategy & Excellence Division

The Strategy and Excellence Division, led by the Vice President, Strategy and Excellence, comprises three main departments - Strategy Management, Government Excellence, and Institutional Research.

Strategy Management

The department is responsible for facilitating the development and execution of HCT’s institutional strategic plan, the formulation of HCT policies, the management of strategic and operational performance and the development of risk and operational plans, that are robust, future-proof and ensure HCT’s strategic alignment to national strategies. Its roles include monitoring and reporting institutional performance; managing policy development & quality standards; and managing institutional risks.

Government Excellence

This department is a dynamic platform responsible for spreading and promoting a system-wide culture of excellence through an intensive program that targets all of HCT, its strategies and systems. It is also responsible for broadening the culture of excellence outside HCT, with similar entities and other organizations, so as to share HCT’s best practices. It is also responsible for building and implementing Excellence-oriented strategic initiatives, based on best national and international practices. Other roles include participating in national and international awards at organizational, department and individual levels; creating a significant and sustainable transformation in HCT’s excellence culture by empowering HCT employees with the best practices, making excellence the normal business style in creating, developing, executing and assessing all related projects and practices. It is tasked with engaging all internal and external stakeholders in HCT’s excellence-based journey towards competitiveness, (inter)national leading rankings, as well as overall well-being. In addition, the Department is responsible for Integrating, aligning and Implementing government excellence models and Strategies, such as the Government Excellence Model 2.0, the UAE Strategy for Government Services and others, into HCT’s DNA, while building and maintaining HCT’s Capabilities Portfolio and aligning it with the continuous transformative journey. Other tasks include transforming HCT to be an excellence service provider, recognized nationally and internationally; preparing for, and responding to, external assessments and evaluations from the PMO, TDRA etc. The Department conducts self-assessments to identify strengths and areas for improvement, following a robust benchmarking process, in addition to developing reports related to government and services excellence; implementing enhancement activities and projects; and acting as the point of contact for internal and external communications related to government and services excellence.

Institutional Research

The Institutional Research Department provides analytical support to the HCT’s central administration, and to HCT system. It assists in systematic planning, creation of reports and data, resource management and system performance assessments. Its core roles include:

• Provide analytical and technical support to the executive management of the HCT to support strategic planning and data-based decision-making
• Coordinate the reporting of enrollment, student characteristics, and other data to federal and local Emirate agencies
• Produce the HCT Fact Book, which is available for use by all members of the HCT community via the web site and portal.
• Create and maintain databases for reporting academic performance, retention/attrition, and graduation rate data.
• Produce institutional effectiveness report containing key performance indicators on academic programs  
• Provide institutional data required for national and international program accreditation
• Conduct stakeholders’ satisfaction surveys and analyze the results to support planning and institutional effectiveness
• Provide timely, accurate and easily accessible information to campus community via dashboards