LCC Honors Neises with the Distinguished Faculty Award for 2023-2024

May 1, 2024

L-R: Communication Professor and 23-24 Distinguished Faculty Award honoree, Tonya Neises, is presented a plaque by Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Jason Sharp.

Each spring, Labette Community College (LCC) recognizes a central purpose of the College – quality instruction - by selecting and honoring a full-time faculty member with the Distinguished Faculty Award. The recipient of this prestigious award for the academic year 2023-2024 is Communication Professor, Tonya Neises.  This award recognizes Neises's exceptional dedication to teaching, innovation in instruction, and profound impact on student success at Labette Community College. 

Neises, who joined LCC as a full-time faculty member in August 2009, has demonstrated unwavering commitment and excellence in her role. With a Master of Arts in Communication from Pittsburg State University, Neises brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her classes. 

Neises teaches courses such as Public Speaking, Introduction to Public Relations, and Introduction to Advertising, and Interpersonal Communication. Her passion for teaching is evident in the glowing testimonials from her students. One nomination form praised her for always being available to help students in need and for maintaining a positive classroom atmosphere. Another student remarked “Her assignments are not just busy work, but truly make the topic of her instruction come full circle.” The same student went on to say, “Her heart for students is obvious.” 

Throughout her tenure, Neises has continuously strived for excellence in teaching by implementing innovative methods and staying updated with the latest educational technologies. She has embraced online education, using platforms like Zoom to ensure students receive quality instruction even during challenging times. 

Another example of Neises’s innovative teaching methods is her use of Open Education Resource (OER) textbooks this year for both Introduction to Advertising and Introduction to Public Relations. OER removes price barriers, saving students money and making it possible for everyone to have their own copy of required course materials from the first day of class. They also promote collaboration among students, as well as between students and teachers. Neises’s use of OER has gained statewide attention as she was selected to be the lead presenter at the recent OER Round Table for Communication faculty across Kansas. 

Moreover, Neises's commitment extends beyond the classroom. She actively engages with students through advisement, recruitment activities, and community involvement. Her dedication to student success is evident in her open-door policy, personalized support, and promotion of student achievements both in and out of the college. 

“What I love about teaching the most is helping students make meaningful connections between class material and the real world,” Neises said. Neises is a proponent of service learning and requires her communication majors to develop events or projects to benefit, a nonprofit organization, the college, or the community.

Neises also volunteers at area high schools by judging senior projects and FFA writing competitions, as well as welcoming students to job shadow her in an effort to inspire and motivate the next generation of students to become teachers.

In addition to her outstanding instruction, Neises has been actively involved in various college committees, demonstrating her leadership and commitment to the college community. Currently, she serves on LCC’s Distance Education Committee, Retention Committee, and Grievance Committee. She also serves on various ad hoc committees such as the Supplemental Contracts Committee, the 100-Year Anniversary Committee, and on numerous hiring committees.  

Furthermore, she’s been an active member of the Faculty Association since 2009, serving many years as the treasurer before moving into the position of association president. She has provided leadership by serving on the faculty negotiations team for the last nine years. This active involvement and service showcases her dedication to LCC and her influential role within the college faculty. 

LCC Vice President of Academic Affairs, Jason Sharp, states “Labette Community College is honored to recognize Tonya's exemplary contributions with the Distinguished Faculty Award for the second time, having previously won in the 2014-2015 academic year. Her tireless efforts in promoting quality instruction, student engagement, and community involvement embody the core values of our institution.” 

The Distinguished Faculty Award was presented to Neises during the annual Distinguished Faculty Award reception on April 29.  She will be recognized again for her commitment to Labette Community College and quality instruction during the Commencement ceremony on May 10, 2024. For more information about the Distinguished Faculty award and to view previous recipients, visit or contact LCC’s Director of Human Resources, Haley Walker, at  

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