Michael Combs receive HCTC faculty award

Hazard Community and Technical College honored Mathematics Professor Michael Combs with its highest honor for teachers – the John Brown Outstanding Faculty Award.

Combs began in August 2002 and he said he immediately felt at home.

Combs said he was very surprised and happy to be awarded this recognition. “This award makes me feel even more a part of the HCTC family. I am grateful to be recognized for my work with students and my colleagues. I really do love learning and sharing what I have learned with others,” he said.

His future plans include working with students and colleagues to make sure that HCTC’s graduates and programs continue to be recognized as premier. He plans to incorporate more technology into his teaching. “I am also excited to work with new co-requisite models and math pathways so that students can move through their coursework more efficiently and with greater success,” he noted.

Students have the utmost praise for Combs. As one stated, “Mr. Combs is a great teacher! I was always intimidated with Algebra, but he helped me understand the basics of it so much! If all professors were as good as him, college students would have it made!” Another wrote, “I love this class, and I have never enjoyed math before. I have learned more in this 12-week course than I did all through high school. He is a wonderful teacher, and very understandable. He makes it easy to learn.”

Combs served in another role while at HCTC, with the Mountain Writing Project. He was a fellow of the Mountain Writing Project in 2005, as a participant in the 2005 Summer Institute.  After he helped with various project, he became a co-director of the Summer Institute in 2010. 

Combs also has served for two years as Phi Theta Kappa advisor, which is the honorary society. He leads PTK’s No Kid Hungry annual bake sale -- the proceeds are sent to Share Our Strength’s national campaign to end hunger in America. PTK has sent over $950 so far to Share Our Strength. 

Besides teaching math, Combs has taught English classes as well. He has taught on all campuses (Lees, Hazard, Knott, Leslie, and Technical). He was Developmental Education Coordinator from 2007 – 2013. 

Combs has an associate degree from HCTC, a bachelor’s degree from Morehead State University with a double major in English and Mathematics, and a master’s degree in Higher Education from MSU. He has 18 graduate hours in English from Eastern Kentucky University. He is currently working to complete 18 graduate hours in Mathematics from Western Kentucky University.