Kipp Named 2017 LCC Distinguished Faculty Award Recipient

April 20, 2017

Melissa KippParsons, KS--Labette Community College announced Monday, April 24 that Melissa Kipp, Professor of Graphic Design, was named the 2017 Distinguished Faculty Award Recipient. The Distinguished Faculty Award is presented annually. Faculty members must be nominated by students or LCC employees to be considered by the selection committee. Criteria for the award include teaching effectiveness, college service, student involvement, and community service. All full-time faculty who have completed at least four years of full-time teaching at LCC are eligible to be nominated.

Kipp was honored at a reception in the Cardinal Café on Monday afternoon among colleagues, staff, students and a surprise visit from her family. This award ceremony is to pay tribute to one instructor’s contribution to the central mission of the college- to provide quality learning opportunities to students of LCC. This award was developed to allow the college to publicly recognize and reward an instructor who has performed in an exemplary manner.

Melissa Kipp is the only full time instructor in the Graphic Design department. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Melissa designed and maintains the LCC website. She keeps well informed with information in her field of graphic design, web design, and social media. The Graphic Design’s program recent reports show enrollment and graduation rates are increasing.

“By cultivating a safe and supportive environment to practice their visual vocabulary, students gain the skills necessary to confidently express their ideas to a given audience while learning to receive and grow from constructive criticism,” Kipp said.

Graphic design is inherently an interdisciplinary subject. Graphic designers must understand the history of art, the science of how the human eye sees color, the psychology of how individuals respond to visual stimuli, the mathematics of page layout and proportion, the communication and listening skills to convey client needs, the business management to meet project deadlines, the sociology of cultural norms in developing appropriate visual solutions, and ultimately the technology of numerous software programs in combination with analog tools in order to effectively communicate a design objective. Kipp’s teaching philosophy is to provide students with the tools necessary to become an effective problem-solver while making educated design decisions. She encourages students to reach beyond making something that “looks good” and be able to back up and justify how each decision communicates the objectives of a design project. Students begin this process by providing both a historical and current view of design fundamentals and assess their understanding through real-world design projects.

“Learning never stops in the field of graphic design. With technology rapidly changing and software updates occurring approximately every 6 months, it is vital that I utilize multiple methods of keeping up-to-date in the industry. In addition to trade journals, blogs, and magazine subscriptions, I participate in professional development activities on a weekly basis,” she said. “Staying current with design trends and techniques allows me to modify course curriculum to assign projects that would be expected of the students upon entering the workforce.”

In addition to constant training, Kipp feels it is vital to the success of students and the graphic design program to update curriculum and rebrand the program. This process began by changing the program name to Graphic Design Technology in order to reflect the increasing amount of technology used within the industry. Kipp has developed a one-year certificate program for students who are not seeking a two-year degree, but wish to obtain a credential in the graphic design field. She is currently working to develop new course offerings, with the addition of a web certificate program implemented within the next five years. Kipp also incorporates service learning into her curriculum.

Her students said, “She always helps and makes sure her students are taken care of inside and outside of the class room. She provides helpful feedback on all our work which pushes us to do better and be better as an overall graphic designer.”

Another student said, “She seems excited to teach and is always welcoming.  She finds a way to relate the class content to something we are interested in. We get to do class projects and let us look at each other’s work for suggestions. Her classes are fun and laid back because we get to do a lot of cool stuff, although she maintains high expectations from her students. She is enjoyable to be around and you can tell she loves what she does.”

Her open door policy and active role as the academic advisor for graphic design students is beneficial to the achievement of personal, educational, and career goals of her students. She also serves as the advisor for the Graphic Design student organization, co-sponsors the annual High School art competition, and frequently gives demonstrations to campus tour groups.

Kipp’s connection to her students reaches beyond graduation. “I regularly keep in touch with students outside of the classroom via email or social media to provide assistance with design projects, to serve as a reference for employment, or even just to discuss new design trends and techniques,” she said.

Her service to Labette Community College extends beyond student involvement, as Kipp serves as the college webmaster. She attends college athletic events, music concerts, student and graduation activities and shares her photography talent to provide the college with high-quality photos to utilize for marketing. Kipp provides pro-bono design work for various campus organizations, athletic teams, and community groups. She regularly incorporates service-learning opportunities into course curriculum for students to gain real-world experiences while giving back to the community.

Kipp fulfilled a personal and professional goal of earning a Master of Arts Degree in Communication from Pittsburg State University in May of 2014. She began working at Labette Community College in the spring of 2008.

For more information about the Distinguished Faculty award, contact Janice Every at

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