Academic Leadership, Faculty & Student Success Centre

Academic Leadership

Professor John Evans

Pro-Vice Chancellor and Campus President

Professor John Evans has a PhD and Master of Science in Finance from the University of Illinois, and a Master of Business in Accounting from Curtin University.

Professor Evans has extensive international experience as an academic leader and business manager through his roles as Dean of Campus for the University of Wollongong in Dubai, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Curtin Malaysia, Director of Curtin’s Asia Business Centre and currently the Pro Vice-Chancellor of Curtin University Dubai.

Email: [email protected]

Associate Professor Dr Pon Selvan

Head of School – Science and Engineering

Professor Chithirai Pon Selvan obtained his Bachelors in Production Engineering, Masters in Computer Aided Design and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. He has over twenty years of experience in teaching, educational assessment, classroom management and student relations. He also has hands-on experience in designing and implementing practices in the education sector including interactive and innovative training and educational content for engineering students.

Professor Selvan has published more than 100 research articles in international journals and conferences. He has been invited and honoured as keynote speaker, session chair, resource person and technical committee member in various conferences in the UAE, India, Thailand, Malaysia, the UK, Germany, and Italy. He joined Curtin University Dubai in July 2018 as Head of the School of Science and Engineering after serving 7 years at Manipal University Dubai and 3 years at Amity University Dubai.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +971 42452579

Shahra Jafar Ali

Head of School – Foundation Studies

Ms Shahra Jafar holds a Bachelor of Science with a double major in Information Technology and Business Information Systems and a Masters in Information Technology in Software Systems. She commenced her undergraduate studies with a fully funded merit-based scholarship and concluded her studies with the Vice Chancellors Academic Excellence Award. To tie in her experiences in the classroom with industry, she served as Student Council IT representative and interned as Information Technology Executive, after which she served as adjunct lecturer at Transnational Academic Group teaching Computer Productivity and Mathematics for the Murdoch Dubai Foundation Program.

With the launch of Curtin University’s campus in Dubai, Shahra Jafar became the Program Coordinator for Science and Engineering – Curtin Dubai Foundation program and Lecturer for Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, and Computer Productivity. Upon completion of her Masters she began teaching Computer Science for Undergraduate students. She added curriculum development of Physics and Chemistry to her teaching portfolio and currently serves as the Head of School for Foundation Studies. Shahra Jafar is currently a PhD candidate with Curtin University focusing on Technology in Education.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +971 4 2452576

Faculty – School of Business and Humanities

Dr Noela Michael

Senior Lecturer – School of Business

Dr Noela Michael is a marketing and tourism expert with over 25 years’ experience in academia in Australia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Noela has held leadership positions in academia and in the tourism sector in Australia, India, and the UAE. She holds a PhD from La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia.

Her research explores tourists’ motivation and behaviour and tourism competitiveness and branding. Her work has been published in journals including Journal of Sustainable Tourism, Tourism Management Perspectives, and International Journal of Tourism Research and Scientific Reports. She was awarded the Emerald Literati Award for Outstanding Research Paper on tourist motivation and also received an award from the Neuromarketing Science and Business Association for her research paper which contributed to the field of neuromarketing. Noela is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for the Consumer Behaviour in Tourism and Hospitality Journal. She was a member of the Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA) Advisory Board and was part of the team that developed and launched the MEPRA Student Group for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. During her career, she was awarded the Provost Research Fellowship Award and also received multiple awards for teaching, research and service to the university and community.

Email: [email protected]

Dr Yaeesh Yasseen

Adjunct Faculty – School of Business

Dr Yaeesh Yasseen is an experienced academic with 14 years of experience. He has been awarded a PhD in accounting, a Master of Commerce as well as an Honours and a bachelor’s degree . He is a Professional Accountant (SA) and a Certified Internal Auditor (USA). He was a previous associate professor at a leading South African University. He has worked tirelessly to position himself as an established researcher with experience in postgraduate research that focusses primarily on mentoring, coaching, and development of academics and professionals.

Apart from his academic responsibilities, he is also actively involved with Professional Accountancy Organisations (PAOs) through various structures and committees. His roles within the PAO and business landscape have ranged from board-level participation through to professional training of professional accountants and corporates. Dr Yasseen has an in-depth understanding of the current structure of how PAO, private, and state-owned entities function within a local and international context and how they relate to business. He tends to focus his efforts on quality and realignment of qualifications and has spent a large portion of time advising PAOs and businesses through various boards, committees, and professional education programmes. Dr Yasseen also spends large amounts of time advising on International Education Standards and how they link to the accountancy profession. He is passionate about issues concerning critical thinking within the accountancy and business profession; business regulations; regulation of PAOS; public interest; SMEs; and driving professional relegitimization.

Email: [email protected]

Dr Rex Bacarra

Adjunct Faculty – School of Business

Dr. Rex Bacarra has received two PhDs. He graduated with a PhD in Management Research with concentration on Organizational Development and Human Resource Management at King’s College London, UK and another PhD in Philosophy at De La Salle University, Manila. He is also McGraw-Hill Education’s Digital Faculty Consultant for Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA)

He is a Noble Hero Awardee, the highest award given to an overseas Filipino by the UAE’s Philippine Consulate for excellence in the field and for his service to the community. The Khaleej Times profiled his story in an article entitled, “Dr. Rex Bacarra: An Extraordinary Inspirer for Students”. He has been chosen as one of the 100 Most Influential Filipinos in the Gulf by Illustrado Magazine for 5 years in a row; interviewed by Abu Dhabi TV (ADTV) for excellence in the field of teaching; awarded as the “Outstanding Educator of the Year” by The United Federation of the Filipino-American Educators in New York, USA, August 2020; awarded with “Innovator of The Year – Education” during the XAGA Awards by Xpedition Magazine, 2019; awarded with “Educator of The Year” by The Filipino Times, 2019; Gulf News cited him as one the favourite and memorable teachers based on the interview conducted with former students.

He was invited by the United Nations and Heartfulness Organization as a speaker during the International Day of Peace, Dubai, UAE. He was also invited to give a leadership talk to the Joint Aviation Command of the UAE military in Abu Dhabi, and as a jury in the Global Pitch Competition consisting of several countries upon the invitation of the UAE’s Ministry of Economy.

Email: [email protected]

Dr Nidhi Sehgal

Lecturer – School of Business

Dr Nidhi Sehgal is a Lecturer in the School of Business. After completing her Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, she has completed a Master’s in Business Administration (Computer Aided Management) with a specialization in Human Resource Management. She was the university topper and secured a gold medal. Further, she holds a Master’s of Philosophy (M.Phil) in Management, Advanced Diploma in Business Administration, and a PhD in Business Administration. She has also qualified with the National Eligibility Test for Lectureship conducted by University Grants Commission, India.

She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, UK. She has worked with prestigious government and private international universities in the UAE and India. Prior to academia, Dr Sehgal has significant industry experience. She has published research papers in the areas of skill deficit, employability gap analysis, and manpower supply. Her research interests lie in the area of Human Resource Management and Organizational Behaviour.

Email: [email protected]

Ms Shelley Lawson

Lecturer – School of Humanities

Shelley Lawson began her career as an English language teacher at higher education institutions in countries such as Germany, South Korea, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia before coming to the United Arab Emirates. Here, she spent seven years working for the Higher Colleges of Technology in Ras Al Khaimah, after which she joined Curtin University as an adjunct and then a full-time lecturer. Shelley holds two master’s degrees: one in English Language and Applied Linguistics and one in Media and Culture. As a fourth year PhD student at the University of Birmingham in the UK, she is currently conducting research into the credibility of personal stories on Twitter.

Shelley’s research interests include motivation, culture, narrative, technology in education, social media, and language in the media. Methodologically, she is interested in mixing research methods such as combining discourse analysis with experimental techniques, and also in using theoretical research to inform pedagogical practice. She regularly presents at conferences and publishes her research, but still considers the most important and rewarding aspect of her job to be the teaching itself.

Email: [email protected]

Ms Mehroz Dilshad

Adjunct Faculty – School of Business

Ms Mehroz Dilshad holds a Master of Science degree in International Economics, Banking, and Finance from Cardiff University, UK and a Bachelor of Business Administration Honours degree in Finance with distinction from Lahore School of Economics, Pakistan. She was awarded with a merit-based scholarship for four years when enrolled in her BBA (hons). With over five years of teaching experience in higher education, she has taught subjects in International Business at the foundation and undergraduate levels in Curtin University Dubai.

Mehroz has recently published four articles in the finance and education disciplines in International Business Research Journals. Being an economics, finance, and banking graduate, Mehroz has also worked in the banking sector to gain practical experience. She is currently pursuing Doctorate of Education (thesis in Finance & Higher Education) from the University of Liverpool, UK.

Email: [email protected]

Ms Vidhi Agarwal

Adjunct Faculty – School of Business

Ms Vidhi Agarwal has more than 10 years of experience in Education Management – teaching the subjects of Law, Commerce, Management, and Ethics in the UAE and India. Her previous work experience includes working as a Partner for an international law firm, providing expertise and specialist skills in the management and operation of the firm. Ms Agarwal has performed contract analysis, related to investment funds and covenant quality assessments for credit rating agencies. With a Master’s in Law, a Master’s in Commerce, a Diploma in Business Management, and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Higher Education, Ms. Agarwal is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Business Management in a multi-disciplinary subject.

Email: [email protected]

Mr Ankit Kathuria

Adjunct Faculty – School of Business

Mr Ankit Kathuria holds a Master’s of Business Administration degree in Marketing & International Business, and a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering.
He has more than a decade of industry experience holding marketing and digital leadership positions at UBER, EMAAR, OLX, and Make My Trip.

He has worked across international markets including Europe, the Middle-East, South Asia, and North America. He is the Founder and Managing Director of Solvetude Marketing Consultancy, which engages with businesses with a mission to help them devise their digital strategy and growth roadmap.

He has been awarded as one of the Most Influential Marketing Leaders by World Marketing Congress and also been listed in the Top 3 Digital Marketers in the Ecommerce and Online Classifieds category by the Internet and Mobile Association of India. He has been invited and honoured as keynote speaker and panellist in various conferences in the UAE, India, Germany, and Thailand. His article on the “Emerging Role of Digital Marketing in Indian Market” has been published by the Consultant’s Review magazine. He also has multiple marketing campaign case studies published with Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

Email: [email protected]

Dr Khyati Shetty (PhD)

Adjunct Faculty – School of Business

Dr Khyati Shetty, is a recipient of several teaching and Industry awards, including the Global Training and Leadership Award-2017, GCC Women Leaders Award-2017, and Top 100 Global Training and Development Minds-2018. With an experience of more than 11 years in industry, consultancy and academia, she specializes in the subjects of Strategy, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Marketing. She is also an Executive Coach, Innovation Facilitator, and Leadership Consultant to several Governments and has conducted more than 250 Executive Education Programs around the globe.

Her research interests are in the areas of Brand Personality and Women’s Entrepreneurship, and her sustained commitment to impactful research in Women and Leadership has led to her initiatives being recognized by the Diana Project-2018 and several leading journals and conferences.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +971 42452572

Faculty – School of Psychology and Health Sciences

Dr. Sonakshi Ruhela

Program Coordinator & Lecturer – Psychological Sciences
School of Psychology and Health Sciences

Dr. Sonakshi Ruhela holds a Harvard Certification in Higher Education with a PhD in Psychology, recognized by the Ministry of Education, UAE. She is an accomplished Educationalist with over 12 years of extensive experience in Undergraduate and Postgraduate teaching, training, mentorship, and research with students from different nationalities and ethnic backgrounds. She is also a Co-supervisor for Doctoral Research Scholars in the field of psychology and mental health. Dr Ruleha was a pioneer in forming the Department of Psychology at Amity University Dubai in 2016 and is currently designated as a Senior Lecturer and Program Coordinator for Psychological Sciences at Curtin University Dubai.

She is a Community Development Authority (CDA Dubai) Licensed Psychologist with a comprehensive experience in the field of Counselling, Psychotherapy, Behavioural-Lifestyle interventions, Neuro-linguistic programming, and Psychometric assessment. She is the recipient of the ‘People’s choice award for Excellence in Mental Health’ by The World Health Awards in 2021; ‘The Great Indian Women Leader Category- Education Award’ by Golden Signatures Awards in 2021; ‘The Middle East Women Leaders Award’ by World Women Leadership Congress & Awards in 2020, and many more awards.

Email: [email protected]

Faculty – School of Science, Engineering, and Information Technology

Mr Salih Ismail

Program Coordinator & Lecturer – Computer Science
School of Science and Information Technology

Mr Salih Ismail is a Lecturer in the School of Science and Engineering. He is currently pursuing his doctoral research in the security of cloud computing. His research interests include Cyber Security, the Internet of Things, Cloud Computing, and the Semantic Web. He graduated with a distinction in his MSc Computer Systems Management from Heriot-Watt University. He received his BSc (hons) in Information Technology from the University of Bedfordshire. Prior to academia he worked in the industry in various posts including IT Manager, Technology Officer, and Database Administrator and sat on many advisory boards for tech start-ups. He has received various awards showcasing his excellence in Cyber-Security including the prestigious Dubai Electronic Cyber Security Innovation Award.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +971 42452576

Mr Mahesh Nagaraj

Lecturer – Physics Foundations, Electrical Systems, Lab Electronics
School of Science and Engineering

Mr. Mahesh Raj Nagaraj holds a Bachelor’s in Electrical and Electronics Engineering, and a Master’s in Computer Applications in Industrial Drives in Electrical Engineering, for which he secured a university gold medal. He has over 8 years of experience in teaching and student relations. His research interests are in the areas of Nano Technology; Artificial Intelligent and Neural Networks; Electrical Power Generation; Smart and Eco-friendly System; and Maximum Power Point Tracking for Photovoltaic System. He has hands-on experience in the installation of various engineering laboratories and is a certified professional in PLC and SCADA.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +971 42452565

Ms Sabiha Nuzhat

Lecturer – IT and Computer Systems
School of Science and Information Technology

Ms Sabiha Nuzhat holds a Master’s of Science in Information Technology (Software systems) with Distinction from Heriot Watt University, and a Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Science from Murdoch University. During her studies at Murdoch Dubai, she received the honour of being a Valedictorian, and was awarded the ‘Academic Excellence Award by DIAC’ (Dubai International Academic City) and the ‘Colonel S P Wahi Leadership Award’ for demonstrating outstanding leadership qualities. She has been teaching for more than 4 years to students of Undergraduate programs, mainly, object-oriented programming, databases, computer systems, system analysis and design, and mathematics.

Sabiha also holds a Post Graduate Certificate in Business Administration from Edinburgh Business School – Scotland. Prior to teaching, she had been working in the field of marketing, specializing in social media and web marketing. She holds an ISO qualified auditor certificate from QA Technic.

Currently, Sabiha is pursuing her Doctorate of Education (EdD) from the Curtin University. Her research is focused on the use of technology in education.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +971 42452312

Ms Ajita Nayar

Adjunct Faculty

Ajita Nayar has a Master’s in Microbiology and Environmental Science and is an Associate Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy. She is an experienced lecturer with more than 15 years of teaching both undergraduate and graduate students in Mumbai and Dubai. She is passionate about improving quality and adding value to Teaching and Learning practices and has been closely involved in curriculum and assessment design for undergraduate students. In addition to lecturing, she was also the Academic Counsellor and Institutional Effectiveness Coordinator at the American College of Dubai.

Ajita Nayar is also a qualified Project Management Professional (PMP) and has managed International Educational for Sustainable Development (ESD) projects for the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) in the UAE and Qatar which were adjudged by UNESCO as one of the five Best Practices in the Arab region. She was invited by UNESCO to present her project design and activities at the World Conference on ESD in Nagoya, Japan. She has represented the UAE in numerous international gatherings on Education for Sustainable Development in Norway, Scotland, Malta, Poland, Macedonia, Sweden, and Morocco, and is a regional member of the Commission on Education and Communication of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Ajita Nayar joined Curtin University Dubai in January 2018 and teaches Mathematics and Introduction to Statistics to the Foundation and Undergraduate students.

Email: [email protected]

Faculty – School of Foundation Studies

Dr Bilal Siddiqi

Lecturer – Curtin Dubai Foundation Program

Dr Bilal Siddiqi has experience in both academic and operational spheres. He has a PhD in literature from the University College of London, where he was recipient of a three-year scholarship. During his PhD, he edited a cluster of articles on Fyodor Dostoevsky entitled, ‘Rethinking Dostoevskii: Literature, Philosophy, Narrative’ with the renowned Slavonic journal, SEER. He also co-wrote the introduction for this cluster. He taught undergraduate and postgraduate courses at UCL and supervised undergraduate theses in literature. He is also a qualified schoolteacher, with a Postgraduate Certificate in Education from Oxford University. He has taught at various secondary schools in London and Oxfordshire, teaching English Literature and Language to students in between the ages of 11 and 18.

On the administrative and operational side, Bilal has worked predominantly in the media and education sectors, serving as Executive Director for Samaa TV, one of the premier news channels in Pakistan, and as a Marketing and PR executive and later manager at Murdoch University Dubai.

Email: [email protected]

Mr Jeya Kumar

Associate Lecturer – Curtin Dubai Foundation Program

Mr Jeya Kumar has over 20 years of teaching experience. He has been an instructor, teaching Mathematics at Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) in Al Ain for fifteen years. He piloted and pioneered an online web-based program called ALEKS (Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces) at HCT. Prior to his lectureship at HCT Al Ain, he worked as a teacher, computer instructor, and network administrator in Brunei. Mr. Kumar specializes in teaching mathematics by incorporating elements of computing.

He completed his first degree in Mathematics and Computing in the UK. He also holds a Graduate Diploma in Secondary Education (Mathematics and Computing) from Curtin University, Perth, Australia. He then went on to complete his MSc in Education (Classroom Technology) from Walden University.

During his career, he has presented at a number of conferences and workshops for academics and professionals. Mr Kumar has also published on the ‘Online delivery of Mathematics courses.’ Mr Kumar currently teaches Mathematics at Curtin University Dubai.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +971 42452580

Ms Everyl Colaco

Senior Teaching and Learning Coordinator
Foundation Program Coordinator – Non-STEM units
Associate Lecturer
Curtin Dubai Foundation Program

Ms Everyl Colaco holds a Bachelor of Commerce with a double major in Marketing and Management, a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification, and a Master’s in Business Administration.

Prior to her role as Senior Teaching and Learning Coordinator and Foundation Program Coordinator for non-STEM units, Everyl worked as an associate lecturer and in the Student Experience and Academic Departments.

Having been part of the Curtin Dubai team since the launch of its campus in 2017, Everyl currently oversees the Student Success Centre, Student Experience, and the Student Council. She is a notable speaker for the University’s high school outreach program and has also emceed for events such as Curtin Dubai’s Graduation Ceremony in 2020 and the DEWA Business Cup Challenge.

Email: [email protected]

Mr Nicholas Brown

Teaching and Learning Coordinator and Associate Lecturer
Curtin Dubai Foundation Program

Mr Nicholas Brown is the Teaching and Learning Coordinator at Curtin University Dubai. He teaches courses within the University’s Foundation program, focusing on areas such as Critical Thinking and Project Management.

Born in the United Kingdom, Nick graduated with a BEng (Hons) in Architectural Engineering in Edinburgh and began his career as a Mechanical Building Services Engineer. Nicholas then moved to Dubai, managing several projects, including Expo 2020 Pavilions, helping them achieve their LEED Gold Sustainability targets.

As the Teaching and Learning Coordinator, Nicholas supports students with understanding the types of academic writing, tips and tricks on paraphrasing, referencing, and understanding what credible sources are when writing assignments.

Email: [email protected]