Úna Parsons, IT Sligo
Úna Parsons, Head of Faculty, Engineering & Design, IT Sligo
Úna Parsons, is the Head of the Faculty of Engineering & Design at IT Sligo since 2017. The faculty educates nearly 4,000 students and has over 200 staff.
Prior to joining IT Sligo in 2012, Parsons was CEO of the Crafts Council of Ireland, and previously held senior roles with Engineers Ireland and Bausch & Lomb, one of the world’s largest suppliers of eye health products.
Within her role at Engineers Ireland, Parsons initiated the inaugural Engineers Week in 2007, which has since gone on to become the biggest celebration of engineering and diversity in the STEM calendar.
However, her association with the college stretches back to her own student days as a toolmaking apprentice in the former Sligo Regional Technical College.
“As a former apprentice here, I have a particular affinity with the institute, its students and its heritage within the engineering and manufacturing sectors.
“I also have a great interest in the creative sector and, given that the faculty’s portfolio along with engineering, construction and computing departments also includes the institute’s department of creative practices."
Since becoming Head of Faculty of Engineering & Design, Úna has launched the new Yeats Academy of Arts, Design and Architecture which is becoming a growing creative hub for the northwest campus. More recently she has initiated the Sligo Engineering Fair, a large family weekend event encouraging young people and especially young women to explore a career in STEAM subjects.
Úna is currently the chairperson of Engineers Ireland Academic Society – an all-island network of academic engineers and engineers in industry with an interest in teaching and learning, whose mission is to promote the professional development of academic engineers and the advancement of academic standards in engineering.
"The outbreak of Covid 19 in Ireland showed how resilient we can be as a nation when we all come together as one. When the country first went into lockdown last year, Sligo University Hospital approached us for help with reagents for testing, building structures in the hospital to make it covid safe, PPE and even emergency ventilators. Every skill across all departments in IT Sligo were needed to get us through this and together we were able to help protect our frontline workers across the region. This past year has shown that resilience is our greatest asset."