Higher Education Awards debuted to empower youths

By Akankwasa Tonny

First, of its kind, the Higher Education Awards – East Africa project has been commenced to benefit University students for empowerment and creativity purposes. Envisioned ‘to be a catalyst for encouraging the retention and preservation of countries higher education institutes,’ HEA is meant to recognize- with awarding, scholars of exemplary achievements and contributions that various scholars

have made across all aspects of academic life.

The Higher Education Awards –East Africa Dinner is an evening where we shall honor

and appreciate the exemplary achievements and contributions that various scholars have made across all aspects of academic life. The awards are to look at the academic year 2018-2019. It is then decided to hold the event annually and the judges will be looking at the achievements and contributions from university nominated individuals, teams or departments over the years 2018 to 2019.

The Higher Education Awards – East Africa are organized to recognize the most spectacular work by different scholars and universities across East Africa in shaping the region in terms social, cultural, economic and leadership development and most importantly to awaken further urge for excellence, innovation in developmental research across all disciplines within higher education.

The awards are meant to enhancement performance and relevance of higher education to its consumers – the East Africans.

The higher education awards are a vehicle to invoke the renaissance that can lead to a rethinking of our existing system which can lead us into a new era of innovation and technological advancement within our education systems at the same time celebrating diversity, equality, and achievements of higher education and its impact on the east African people.

The awards will attract and inspire hundreds of thousands of entries that exemplify talent, dedication, commitment and innovation of individuals and teams across the east African universities as signal to why our institutions are continuing to thrive and prosper in the region but at the same time sending indications of excellence performance and emerging technological advancements within higher education to our neighbors and the world at large.

The esteemed judging panel will slog over this treasure trove of excellence at our awards winning evening, where people within the academia all over the East African spectrum will gather for dinner as they celebrate their achievements at the depth of our higher education sector.

With objectives; to awaken the potential of various east African higher institutions of learning, focus on skills and competences, and relevance to the region’s socio-economic  needs with creativity, bold thinking and action, advance the professional practice of higher education and to improve the outcome benefits of our institutes in the region- HEA-EA Awards is categorized into more than 21 sections including; The Lifetime Achievement Award, Business School of the Year, Widening Participation or Outreach Initiative of the Year, Excellence and innovation, Outstanding Contribution to Leadership Development, Research Project of the Year: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences among others.

Details about the wards category criteria

1. The Lifetime Achievement Award

The award will honor scholars who have demonstrated distinct accomplishments, professionalism, and dedication to the area of higher education in any discipline across East African universities. The HEA-EA will have the supremacy to select and award according to ethics set.

2. Business School of the Year

This award will go to the business school demonstrating the most outstanding overall performance in equipping graduates with not only business skills but most importantly the art of translating the acquired knowledge into businesses in their respective societies during the 2018-19 academic year.

The award will also look at how nominees have forged different business partnerships and consequently their results on the wellbeing of their establishment, the communities they serve and the east African economy at large. It is open to all business schools in East Africa, including those

situated within universities and those in the private sector.

Qualities we will be looking for in submissions might include:

• Evidence showing how the school’s work has impacted on business and/or society

more generally

• Evidence of how the school has built partnerships with the business community and

other organizations to bring benefits to both sides

• Evidence showing why you stand out from the crowd in this most competitive of

marketplaces.

• Evidence of exceptional performance against specific indicators such as innovation, teaching, research, student experience, alumni relations, and development Judges will be looking for bold and creative strategies and initiatives that have helped the school to improve and flourish in the year in question.

3. Widening Participation or Outreach Initiative of the Year

This award will go to the most imaginative and innovative project that promotes diversity and encourages people from traditional backgrounds to enter higher education or extends the reach of the institution to new areas of activity. It is open to individuals, departments or institutions in the East African region.

Applicants must be able to

• Describe the background to and context of your widening-participation or outreach initiative.

• How was it rolled out?

• What were the results? Provide evidence of demonstrable progress or success, including impact on student recruitment.

• How does your initiative differ from standard practice in the sector? Is it transferable as an example of good practice?

4. Excellence And Innovation

The award will recognize universities and higher institutions of learning for their achievement in finding powerful answers to important local, regional challenges and beyond, as well as to raise awareness of the importance of pioneering, and promoting arts and most importantly to encourage innovations in higher education across the East African spectrum.

The award is open to universities and higher learning institutions across east Africa.

Applicants must be able to:

• Demonstrate the best practice in implementing and assessing innovative programs or services, irrespective of resources needed;

• Use innovative and substantive solutions to achieve meaningful, measurable outcomes to improve the lives of others and create systemic large-scale change

• Have a sustained model program or service that both demonstrates transformative results.

• Describe the background to and context of your entry. Does the entry represent a new effort to establish a reputation in the arts, or does it further an already strong position in the field?

• Explain the nature of your excellence or innovation has led to large scale transformative change?

• Describe the impact of your work. Provide evidence of demonstrable progress or success.

• Outline any collaborative or interdisciplinary element to your work? If so, please tell us about it.

• Please note: this award will focus on projects and approaches to the promotion of the arts and outstanding research in this field.

5. Outstanding Contribution to Leadership Development

This award seeks to recognize and reward original schemes that foster leadership development at any level of management from directors to departments. It is open to institutions, departments or teams in East Africa.

Applicants must be able to provide:

• An abstract on your leadership style and its effectiveness in the contribution to leadership development

• Evidence of demonstrable progress or success. Include feedback from staff who have benefited from your support.

6. Research Project of the Year: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

This will be awarded to the individual or team at Higher Education institution for innovative arts, humanities or social sciences research that has a far-reaching impact and has caught, or has the potential to catch, the imagination of the public. Submissions should demonstrate the economic, social, cultural or other public benefits of the research, and judges will be looking for entries that have raised the profile of the field in question.

• Explain the background to your project. Why was the research necessary and what were its primary objectives?

• Describe how the research was funded, what the work involved and what challenges arose.

• What did the results reveal and what are the potential wider benefits to society? Has it led to other projects or new avenues of exploration?

• Judges will look for evidence of significant or novel results, creative collaborations and imaginative communication of research results.

7. STEM Research Project of the Year

This will be awarded to the individual or team at East African Higher education institutions for innovative research in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics subjects that have a far-reaching impact and have caught, or have the potential to catch, the imagination of the public. Submissions shall demonstrate the economic, social, cultural or other public benefits of the research, and judges will be looking for entries that have raised the profile of the field in question.

• Explain the background to your project. Why was the research necessary and what were its primary objectives?

• Describe what the work involved and what challenges arose.

• What did the results reveal and what are the potential wider benefits to society? Has it led to other projects or new avenues of exploration?

• Judges will look for evidence of significant or novel results, creative collaborations, and imagine

8. Technological/Digital Innovation of the Year

The award will recognize institutions, individuals and teams who are at the forefront of creating new business designs in clouding the digital and physical worlds by developing innovative ways to work with data, technology, people and process to business growth and those who have made a technological advancements or breakthroughs in working on game-changing disruptive business models.

The areas of expertise can include, but not limited to computer and network hardware

and software; wireless technology; radio, television, and satellite systems; e-commerce; web development; video and mobile content management; social media; e-learning; cloud solutions; payment solutions; and user/customer experience.

The applicants must endeavor to include the following in their submissions.

• What has your institution done that has had a major impact on innovation and technology and how is it innovative?

• Explain the nature of the work and the challenges involved.

• What were the results? Provide evidence of demonstrable progress or success.

• Detail the market potential as well as the impact and fulfillment of customer/user needs.

• What could be the impact of your initiative were adopted more widely?

• Judges will look for evidence of interdisciplinary science as well as collaboration between industry and academia.;

9. Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community

This award will be given to the individual, team or institution that has made the most imaginative attempt to aid the wider community socially, culturally or economically.

• Describe the background and context of your initiative.

• Explain the nature of the work and the challenges involved.

• Provide evidence of demonstrable progress or success. Show how the project has made a difference in the target community.

• Outline how staff and students contributed to the success of the project.

10. Outstanding Government Support For Students

The award will go the outstanding government within the East African region for its fundamental role towards creating an enabling environment for less privileged students to participate in higher education and most importantly scholarships given to such students will highly be desirable in selecting the winner for this category.

11. Outstanding Entrepreneurial University.

This award will recognize an institution that has developed and delivered an exceptional approach to embedding entrepreneurship within its culture and programs, and which can demonstrate a significant impact at regional, national or international level.

In particular, judges will be looking for an institution:

• Whose vision and strategy place enterprise, entrepreneurship, and innovation at the heart of the organization?

• where an enabling environment has been created that encourages entrepreneurial mindsets and behaviors in staff and students, and ensures that ideas and innovation are nurtured and given the support they need to flourish

• whose approach has affected the nature of entrepreneurial activity among staff, students and alumni and stimulated a strong entrepreneurial impact local, national and regional level

• Where the strategic approach to entrepreneurship has the potential to influence and improve other institutions’ work in this area, whether directly or because it is transferred?able in the sector more widely.

• If your entry is based on a particular initiative or initiatives, explain how the university as a whole has benefited.

12. Outstanding Library Team

The award seeks to recognize ‘outstanding work within library and information services’ during the previous academic year.

Applicant must be able to fulfill the following criteria;

• Explain how your team has personalized the delivery and support of library space, services, and content provision.

• Describe how the team developed the library’s digital environment to benefit users.

• Detail how your team exploited physical and virtual space to provide a complimentary, blended service.

• Describe how your team’s work improves on standard practice in the sector and addresses new and emerging challenges and opportunities.

• If your entry is based on a particular initiative or initiatives, explain how your team contributed to the outcomes.

• Judges will look for evidence of collaboration with other administrative and academic departments that enhanced your team’s delivery, and for examples of the effective use of leading-edge practices from other sectors.

13. University of the Year

This will be awarded to an institution that demonstrated exceptional performance during the 2018-19 academic year. It is open to all higher education institutions in the East African region. Applicants must exhibit the following requirements as part of the

application.

Although research, teaching, access, and business performance will be taken into account, the main criterion will be evidence of particular bold, imaginative and innovative initiatives that have advanced the institution’s reputation during the 2018-19 academic year.

14. Outstanding Cultural Heritage Advancement

This award will recognize individuals, institutions and departments with impressive accomplishment in conservation, promotion, research, dedicated service and education, equality and diversity, training and awareness-raising contributing to the east African cultural heritage.

Applicants must include the following in their submissions:

• An abstract of how you are using technology and other avenues to advance cultural heritage while maintaining equality and diversity.

• What challenges have you faced in your quest of cultural heritage advancement and how have you addressed them in order to register this success

• What needs to be addressed to register maximum benefits for east African communities within this field?

15. Outstanding Agricultural Research of the Year

The award will recognize individuals, universities, departments and other institutions for their accomplishments but most importantly as a motivation to awaken further important research and development in livestock, forestry, fisheries, food and environment that could lead to future technological innovations across the East African region.

Judges will look for the following;

• An abstract summarizing your most important accomplishment and its effect to the agricultural sector across the east African spectrum

• Why is your research so imperative in this era when East Africa is facing its share of the ferociousness of climate change?

• Is your research viable to lead to future technological innovation? please provide evidence for support if your answer is affirmative.

16. Substantive Exemplary Female

This award will recognize female individual achievements in leadership, empowerment, and development with a clear trail that leads to continued enhancement of higher education and most importantly with profound bearing in the social-economic transformation of the communities across the East African spectrum.

The award will further recognize the role of a woman in the development arena of East African countries.

The award is open to female individuals in universities and its alumni.

Applicants must submit an abstract containing the following;

• What is your role in bridging the gap which exists between female and male professionals

in the industry and why is it important to be implemented?

17. International Collaboration of the Year

This award will recognize exceptional projects carried out jointly between the East African institutions and one or more international partners. It is open to individuals or teams in any discipline at East African institution.

Nominations must be endorsed by the applicants’ institution.

• Explain the background to your collaboration. Why was it necessary and what were its primary objectives? What was the relevance to the universities involved?

• Describe what challenges arose and how you worked with your international partner/s to overcome them.

• Has the collaboration led to other projects or a long-term relationship with your partner institution/s?

• Explain how your collaboration has enhanced your institution’s international profile.

• Judges will look for evidence of creative collaborations and imaginative communication of research results.

• Please note that this category focuses on the collaboration rather than any specific research.

18. Excellence in Registry Services

This award recognizes outstanding work in central registry services. Excellence may be in one or more of the following areas: student admissions, assessment, and conferment; student fees; student record systems; curriculum record management; timetabling; quality assurance; educational collaboration; academic audit and assessment; research administration; student complaints and discipline.

Submissions should:

• Clearly, demonstrate how a team contributed to the improved running of the institution in their area of activity.

• Outline the service delivery problems or opportunities identified, and explain how these were addressed.

• Provide evidence of successful outcomes, for example via key performance indicators or stakeholder feedback.

• Explain how the service transformation supports strategic, operational or compliance needs in the institution.

• Describe how your work improves on standard practice in the sector and addresses new and emerging challenges and opportunities.

• If applicable, provide evidence of the effective use of innovative practices from other sectors.

19. Outstanding Financial Performance

This award recognizes outstanding work in finance departments, including that of a university’s procurement team. Submissions should include a brief overview of your institution’s financial strategy and show how the finance team contributed to its development, implementation, and delivery of key outcomes.

Judges will look for evidence of improvement in an institution’s overall financial position, as well as its underlying sustainability. Submissions should also demonstrate how the institution’s financial strategy has allowed key strategic targets to be met during 2018-2019.

• Highlight substantial achievements such as supporting a cost reduction program, changes to your institution’s size or structure, increasing efficiency, developing additional income streams or the mart implementation of relevant innovative practices from other sectors that have delivered clear benefits.

• How does the finance department successfully communicate financial initiatives to colleagues across the institution? Do you use clear, high-quality performance analytics and data visualizations?

• How do you foster a sense of shared ownership across non-finance leaders and managers?

• Please note that you need only refer to specific strategic plans and targets that have been met.

20. Most Innovative Teacher of the Year

This award will recognize the tutor whose imagination and passion have transformed a course and inspired students. Entries will be accepted from institutions, teachers themselves or their colleagues, but in all cases, the institution must support the submission and student testimonies must be included in the supplementary documentation.

Judges will be looking for:

• Evidence of how the nominee evaluates and develops their professional progress with regard to teaching.

• Exceptional engagement with students and how this has impacted positively in and beyond their academic role. If applicable, explain how this has had an effect beyond their institution.

• Evidence of a sustained commitment to advancing and positively influencing the student experience.

21. Outstanding Marketing/Communications Team

This award recognizes outstanding work in marketing and communications departments of universities across East Africa. Applicants must be able to fulfill the criteria below

• Show how your communications strategy and initiatives have delivered quantifiable changes in the public perception of your institution or have reshaped behavior within it.

• Supply examples of shared collaborative ownership of marketing and communications initiatives across your institution’s leadership and management teams and highlight the effective use of leading-edge practices from other sectors.

• Outline your objectives for the 2018-2019 academic year, and explain how your team met or exceeded them.

• Describe how your team’s work improves on standard practice in the sector and addresses new and emerging challenges and opportunities.

• If your entry is based on a particular initiative or initiatives, explain how your team contributed to the outcomes.

The HEA-EA is not simply a one evening event. The public of East Africa will be a part of this event for the course of 6 months. Initially, the public will hear about the event through our launch on 11th June 2019, after which the announcement for the opening of nominations. Once the finalists are listed we will list them on the awards website where the public will vote for their best option in every specific category.

On the award evening itself we will have a crowd of over 1,000 in attendance with a book? let on each table breaking down the event and nominations. With an additional crowd of over 100,000/= from live coverage on social media networks and live televised media

platforms

Higher Education award winners from all the categories will be given a special treat at the best tourist destiny in East Africa to appreciate their extraordinary support in the East African Higher Education Sector.

Proceeds from the event will be invested into our institutes in the East African community to conduct research on how to curb down the rapid and extensive growth of water hyacinth on the regions water bodies that have extensively affected our water transport, fishing and the agriculture sector at large minus affecting the habitants.

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