Communication Lecturer Recognized for Distinguished Service

Published on October 04, 2022

By Elise Russell

Krista Kimmel, a senior lecturer in the School of Communication at Eastern Kentucky University, received the Vernon Gantt Award for Distinguished Service at the Kentucky Communication Association’s (KCA) annual conference in September 2022. 

“I’m honored to be recognized by my peers across Kentucky for this award,” Kimmel said. “My colleagues took time from their day to nominate me, which I appreciate deeply. I think service is just the right thing to do, so I never expect any recognition. However, to know that my colleagues thought of me and wanted to recognize me is humbling.”

EKU colleague, Dr. Jennifer Fairchild, professor in the School of Communication, said, “Krista is an outstanding educator, a great representative of EKU and a servant leader. She is most deserving of this award.” 

According to KCA, the Vernon Gantt Award is given in recognition of Kentucky educators whose careers have been dedicated to improving their communities at the departmental, college/university, local and/or regional level. As an award for outstanding service, worthy faculty will have brought their professional expertise or research skills into these communities to effect positive change through conducting workshops, consulting, forging partnerships, volunteering, promoting philanthropy or engaging in service-learning projects.

Especially meaningful for Kimmel is the fact that Dr. Gantt, for whom the award is named, was her professor at Murray State University. Kimmel holds bachelor’s degrees in public relations and English from Murray State University, a master’s in communication from the University of Kentucky and a master’s in adult and higher education from Morehead State University. She began teaching at EKU as a part-time faculty member in 2005, then joined the full-time communication studies faculty in 2009 as a lecturer. Kimmel primarily teaches introduction to human communication, interpersonal communication and public speaking. She is also a faculty member for EKU's honors program. 

At the September KCA conference, Kimmel was also elected to serve as second vice president of the association—the beginning of a four-year commitment to the organization.

“I believe KCA provides a wonderful opportunity for educators from across Kentucky to gather and share ideas and best teaching practices,” Kimmel said. “I’m then able to bring these perspectives back to the classroom.”

In a leadership capacity with KCA, Kimmel wants to encourage more membership and involvement, including student participation in the KCA conference in the KCA conference—“a great opportunity for students to showcase their work in a supportive, inclusive environment,” she said. 

“Krista is passionate about helping students understand and apply the discipline of communication,” said Dr. Ginny Whitehouse, director of EKU’s School of Communication. “She serves the Institute for Creative and Collaborative Arts School of Communication both in the way she teaches and guides programs, as well in the leadership roles she takes.”

KCA was established in 1931 for the promotion of effective teaching, research and practice in the artistic, humanistic and scientific principles of communication. KCA is a not-for-profit organization comprised of communication faculty, students and professionals who are committed to studying, improving and applying the principles of communication within the Commonwealth of Kentucky.