A Kentucky State University professor recently received the rare honor of being named Educator of the Year by the Kentucky Communication Association (KCA).

Dr. David L. Shabazz, chair of the Division of Literature, Languages and Philosophy and associate professor, is one of only two recipients of the KCA’s Educator of the Year in the organization’s history. The first recipient was named in 2013.

“I was very surprised,” Shabazz said. “I knew I had a chance for the excellence in teaching award, but this came as a total surprise. I’m an introvert, so I rarely tell my colleagues about my accomplishments. This time I did.”

Shabazz has had an incredible year prior to this recognition. Shabazz completed his doctorate, presented at the World Journalism Education Congress (WJEC) in Paris, was approved for tenure/promotion and received awards from the Broadcast Education Association (BEA).

“I feel like my cup runneth over,” Shabazz said. “I’m feeling a mixture of humbled, excited, and energized. All faculty and staff are service industry employees, which means we rarely hear ‘thank you’ or received accolades until much later.”

Shabazz said it’s taken a lot of work to get to this point.

“I’ve worked an unforgiving schedule for the last three years,” Shabazz said. “My internal constitutions are very strong, but it’s always nice to get external validation. An award like this only makes me want to work that much harder.”

Shabazz said the fact that the award is rarely given makes it that much sweeter.

“Being the first person to win this since 2013 is a great honor,” Shabazz said. “Educator of the year is not an award routinely given out just because the category exists. That really makes me humbled to know my work stands out among the excellent communication professors throughout the Commonwealth.”

Shabazz offered encouragement to others who are putting in hard work in their fields.

“There are many people who go the extra mile and don’t get any recognition,” Shabazz said. “I hope my success can inspire others who are on the grind trying to make things better. Keep grinding and it will be worth it.”