September 27th, 2011: Fulbright Scholar Takes Up Appointment in AIT

27.09.11 A leading American academic in the creative arts has been appointed as the first Fulbright Scholar at Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT).

Dr Joan Phillips from the University of Oklahoma joins the School of Humanities at AIT, where she will lecture and undertake research in creative arts in the social care area. Her appointment at AIT is for the September-December 2011 academic semester.

Head of the School of Humanities, Dr Marian Fitzgibbon, said that she was “delighted” to welcome Dr Phillips to Athlone. “I feel sure that we can make good use of Joan’s considerable experience for the benefit of students and staff in the School of Humanities,” she said. “The advantages of having an external perspective are already becoming apparent, in endorsing current practice and more importantly, in improving it.”

She continued: “Dr Phillips and I are working to maximise the potential of her time here for enhancing creative practice in the social care domain, most particularly in expanding student and staff interest in research in this field.”

Dr Phillips said that her ambitions were “to enrich the lecturing staff and thus the students as well, infusing a research focus into the various modules I will be working with. Through intellectual exchange as well as personal involvement I think best practices emerge and I find this process invigorating.

“My time in Athlone thus far has been extremely pleasant and the association with the Fulbright Program is an honour,” she said. “Creative arts in social care is a cutting-edge endeavour and Athlone has high quality programmes for students in this area.”

Adjunct Graduate Associate Professor in the Department of Human Relations and Instructor in the School of Art and Art History at the University of Oklahoma, Dr Phillips is past-President of the American Art Therapy Association (2009-2011). She is widely published on subjects of violence in adolescent artwork, art with children in the foster care system, and preschool sexual abuse art therapy treatment.

Dr Phillips is one of approximately 1,100 US faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright US Scholar Program in 2011-2012. The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange programme sponsored by the US government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for Fulbright is an annual appropriation from the United States Congress. Substantial support for the Fulbright Program within Ireland is also provided by the Government of Ireland and other in-country sources.

The Irish Fulbright Commission is a bi-national organisation established by agreement between the governments of the United States and Ireland to administer the educational exchange programme between the two countries.

Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Program operates in over 155 countries worldwide. Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late US Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given approximately 300,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in government, science, the arts, business, philanthropy, education, and athletics. Forty-three Fulbright alumni from 11 countries have been awarded the Nobel Prize and 75 alumni have received Pulitzer Prizes.

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For further information contact:
Brian Lynch
Communications and Marketing Manager
Athlone Institute of Technology
Tel 090 644 2595
Mobile 087 122 0361

Email brianlynch@ait.ie<mailto: brianlynch@ait.ie>