Patricia P. Kelly, professor emerita of teaching and learning, has been named the 2012 recipient of the Alumni Award for Excellence in International Education.
Sponsored by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the Alumni Award for Excellence in International Education is presented annually to a Virginia Tech faculty or staff member who has had a significant impact on international education at the university. Selection is based upon contributions to the internationalization of Virginia Tech, the impact on students, the impact on the campus and community, the significance of the initiative, and the sustainability of the initiative. Awardees receive $2,000.
Kelly joined the university in 1977 as an assistant professor in English education. During her tenure, she has been a driving force in promoting outreach programs in school systems, colleges, and universities throughout the United States, beginning with the Southwest Virginia Writing Project.
In 1999, Kelly was in a United States Agency for International Development research project on “Transforming Trial Schools into Problem-solving Centers and Professional Development Sites” in Malawi. In the project, Kelly and colleagues worked with teachers and school leaders on the teaching and learning process, and she began to apply her knowledge and experience to international settings.
In addition to developing the program in Malawi, Kelly, along with a colleague, won the Fulbright Hays Group Study Abroad Grant in 2003-04 for teachers from the New River Valley and Roanoke to teach collaboratively with counterpart teachers in Malawi classrooms. In turn, she invited those teachers to visit the New River Valley and Roanoke schools to teach.
Apart from her involvement in funded projects in Africa, Kelly, in collaboration with colleagues at the Center for Research and Development in International Education, provided leadership in signing a memorandum of understanding with a Nigerian organization to build international partnerships that will promote educational technology in tertiary schools. Kelly has spearheaded numerous other international partnerships focusing on education.
“Kelly has exhibited professional dedication to the students at Virginia Tech on and off campus and to students and teachers in other schools using the Southwest Virginia Writing Project,” said Josiah Tlou, professor emeritus in the School of Education. “This outreach strategy has now spread internationally in the last seven years beyond her retirement. Her contributions to the university’s international curricula, her innovative teaching, her mentoring graduate students, and coordination of international projects are all evidence of her contributions.”
Kelly received her bachelor's degree and master's degree from the University of West Virginia and a Ed.D. from Virginia Tech.