Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) has announced the creation of an honorary research chair named after Honorary Fellow of WIT, Vicky Phelan, which aims to embed the values that Vicky stands for with the values of WIT.
The successful applicant will have access to a research grant for the period of the appointment (three years) and will conduct research into how we widen access into education, with a specific focus on women. They will be entitled to use the title “The Vicky Phelan Chair in Equality and Access to Education” for the duration of the bursary.
The announcement comes as the WIT community gathered to acknowledge the work and achievements on International Women’s Day of their former colleague and friend, with the Vicky Phelan Portrait in situ.
Dr Helen Murphy, Head of the School of Education & Lifelong Learning in WIT making the announcement said: “We are here today to create a long lasting link between Vicky, her family and the institute. Vicky has not only provided motivation and inspiration to the community of WIT, but also to the women of Ireland and, indeed, to society at large. The Vicky Phelan Chair in Equality and Access to Education embeds values that the WIT community hold dear: strength, courage, determination, resilience, openness, leadership, wisdom, the ability to overcome adversity and a willingness to put aside one’s own personal considerations for the betterment of society.”
The Vicky Phelan Chair in Equality and Access to Education will be awarded to a current member of staff in WIT following an internal competitive process.
“We are truly honoured to be able to create this honorary position after our friend Vicky, we know this will attract huge interest across the WIT community and will contribute in a real and meaningful way to the values Vicky upholds,” continued Dr Murphy.
The WIT community gathered on International Women’s Day to acknowledge Vicky’s work and achievements. In addition to a reception and viewing of the painting there were a number of speeches.
WIT staff and students in attendance were joined by members of Vicky’s family, along with Vicky’s lifelong friend David Brennan who purchased the portrait at auction. The artist, Vincent Devine spoke on the heartfelt story behind the creation of the painting, along with the President of WIT and other contributors from WIT.
The aim of the event on WIT’s main campus was to raise funds for two charities close to Vicky’s heart – the Solas Cancer Support Centre in Waterford and the Shona Project. Anyone who wishes to make a donation to either charity in Vicky’s name can do so at: https://www.idonate.ie/VickiPhelanPortraitExpoMar22.
WIT also teamed up Waterford Chamber of Commerce, Waterford Chamber Skillnet, Waterford Local Enterprise Office and Network Ireland Waterford to host a public viewing of the portrait later in the day in the Parlour Vintage Tea Rooms in Waterford, followed by a fundraising and networking event for local businesses. See [url=https://crm.waterfordchamber.ie/events/details/vicki-phelan-portrait-61?calendarMonth=2022-03-01]https://crm.waterfordchamber.ie/events/details/vicki-phelan-portrait-61?calendarMonth=2022-03-01[/url]
Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) awarded a WIT Honorary Fellowship to Vicky Phelan in November 2018. This award, conferred by the WIT Governing Body, is the highest honorary award the Institute can confer to individuals who have demonstrated distinction in a field of human endeavour to such an extent as to provide motivation and inspiration to the community of the Institute and society at large.
Vicky joined WIT in 2006 to work in the Literacy Development Centre in the School of Education & Lifelong Learning. She was warmly welcomed into the centre and, from the start, it was clear to her colleagues that she was a determined and engaging individual with a passion for education and equality. Her empathy with people and particularly adult learners was at the forefront of her work. Her capabilities and leadership led to her assuming the role of Head of the Literacy Development Centre, a national centre that provides professional development to practitioners working within the adult literacy and adult education sector. In this role she worked with adult education practitioners, local and national stakeholder organisations such as the education and training boards, NALA and SOLAS, and the academic and administrative team at the Literacy Development Centre in WIT.