The institute opened in 1970 as a regional technical college and adopted its present name on May 7th, 1997. Professor Kieran Byrne has been Director of the Institute since May 2001.
Waterford politicians made strenuous but unsuccessful efforts to locate a university in Waterford at the time of the formation of the Queen's University of Ireland in the 1840s. The cause was led by Thomas Wyse, Waterford’s then Member of Parliament, who was perhaps chosen unwisely as he was not influential in Parliament, having strong Napoleonic links (he married a niece of Napoleon I of France), being a Catholic and leaning towards an independent Ireland. Galway, a much smaller city at the time, won out over Waterford, perhaps because of the necessity for geographical dispersion or to bolster the Irish language. Wyse wrote in the round on the matter in his text "Education reform or the necessity of a national system of education" (London, 1836).
The institute was founded in 1970 as Regional Technical College, Waterford. Once founded, the regional technical college grew very quickly as a result of the obviously strong regional need for tertiary education. In 1997 the college adopted its present name by order of the Minister for Education Niamh Bhreathnach, with Dublin Institute of Technology being the only other institution with the "institute of technology" title at the time in Ireland. Following a change of government and enormous political pressure on behalf of other regional technical colleges, especially Cork Regional Technical College, all other regional technical colleges were renamed similarly by Minister for Education Micheál Martin.
Since 2001 Institute has conferred its own awards at all levels from Higher Certificate to PhD, subject to standards set and monitored by the Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC) which was established by the Government in June 2001, under the Qualifications (Education and Training) Act, 1999. In October 2005 the institute was selected by the The Sunday Times newspaper as the "Institute of Technology of the Year" in Ireland.
The institute now has a student population of approximately 6000 full-time students and 3500 part-time students. The Staff currently consists of approximately 470 Full-time academic, 300 part-time and 300 support staff.
The main campus is located on the N25 Cork Road. It was established in 1970 and houses the majority of the institutes departments. The Engineering, Science, Business and Health Science Schools are located on this campus. The buildings on this campus are: The original ’69 building, the ’77 extension, WIT library, IT Building, Nursing Building, College Hall, Tourism and Leisure Building, “T-Block”. In late 2005 the Minister for Education and Science Mary Hannafin announced four new buildings (an Engineering & Science Building, an Architecture Building, a Business & Enterprise Building and a Tourism & Leisure Building) as part of a €1.2 billion investment in higher education. It is unsure how many of these will be located on this campus. The Tourism & Leisure Building was located here.
The College Street Campus is the second largest campus currently. The buildings were purchased from the Good Shepherd Order of Nuns. The once convent houses a beautiful Pugin-designed chapel which is used for concerts and ceremonies. The Humanities and Education schools are officially located here, but are in reality spread between this and the main campus.
The Applied Technology Building, which is on lease from IDA Ireland, is located in Waterford’s Industrial Estate. This is just a 2 minute walk from the back of the main campus. While thought by most students to be a “spill-over” of the main campus, due to its close proximity, it is officially a separate campus. It houses engineering workshops and technology based facilities as well as the Careers Centre and the Engineering Research area.
The Carriganore campus, or west campus, is located outside the city near the Waterford Bypass. It is the goal of the Institute that this campus become the colleges main campus in years to come.
There is an active Students Union in WIT. Every full-time registered student in the college is a member of the Students Union. They are also affiliated to the Union of Students in Ireland.
Like many other Irish universities and institutes, the institute has an increasingly international student body. The institute has had strong links with many European universities for many years and has more recently grown its links with American and Asian universities.
Findings in mental health reported from Waterford Institute of Technology, Department of Nursing.(Clinical report)
Feb 18, 2009; New research, 'Views on nurse prescribing: a survey of community mental health nurses in the Republic of Ireland,' is the subject...