Sandy Phipps said her very rewarding 28-year career is coming to an end at Hazard Community and Technical College after she retires as Professor of Psychology. “Watching our students learn, grow, and succeed, to know that they entrusted at least part of their post-secondary education to me was such an honor. Not only that, but to watch myself learn and grow as a person has been so fulfilling. Some of my best teachers have been my students. Also, I have made lasting friendships with employees and students,” she said.
Students favor Professor Phipps and the way she treats them in the classroom. As one stated, “I have never had a teacher as caring and supportive as Ms. Phipps. I would recommend any one to take her class. Not only is she the best teacher but she has been a great friend and mentor.” Another student wrote, “Sandy Phipps very obviously loves her job and that spills over onto her students. She is an incredible person and I have learned a lot in her class. She is the type of person that makes learning fun.”
Professor Phipps has taught all psychology classes – Introduction to Psychology, General Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Human Potential, and Psychosocial Aspects of Death and Dying. Her excellence has been honored twice -- UK Alumni Association Great Teacher Award in 1994; and the National Institute of Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) award in 1996 for faculty excellence.
She served as academic advisor for both Student Government Association (SGA) and the honor society Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) for many years. She served for many years on HCTC’s March of Dimes team and organized fundraising for the Spina Bifida Association of Kentucky.
Professor Phipps fondly remembers the semester she taught at Breathitt High School in spring 2009. She is also happy that she had the opportunity to teach a dual credit class each semester this academic year at Hazard High School. She has served HCTC by participating in Road Shows and traveling to register students back in her earlier years when registration was done manually (before computers).
What means the most to her are the countless expressions of gratitude she has received from students. “To hear thank you from a student is the most gratifying honor of all,” Professor Phipps said.
Professor Phipps has seen the college change through the years. When she first started, it was Hazard Community College, part of the UK Community College System. Under the leadership of Dr. Hughes, she watched the college grow and thrive, expanding its reach to other communities. Eventually the college merged with Lees College, creating the Lees College Campus. Not too long after that, the Kentucky Community and Technical College System was created and the college became part of KCTCS, merging with the tech campus in Hazard under the name Hazard Community and Technical College. In Professor Phipps' opinion, technological advances have probably led to the most monumental changes for the college.
Professor Phipps first started at HCTC in Student Affairs as Personal, Career, and Transfer Counselor. She began as an adjunct faculty while in this position, then teaching fulltime January 1991.
Prior to coming to HCTC, Professor Phipps worked as a substance abuse counselor for KRCC before returning to MSU to pursue her master’s degree. After obtaining this degree, she worked for Mountain Comprehensive Care Center as a Psychological Associate.
She holds an associate in arts degree from Lees Jr. College; bachelor’s degree in Psychology with double minor in English and Business from Morehead State University (MSU) and a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from MSU.
She is a 1979 Breathitt High School graduate. She lives in Jackson with husband, John, and two children, Johnathan Phipps, 19 years old and a student at Breathitt High School, and Makendra Phipps, 13 years old and a student at Jackson City School.