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Melissa Haynes promoted to Senior Lecturer

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Published Date

May 9, 2024


Princeton Classics is delighted to announce the promotion of faculty member Dr. Melissa Haynes to the rank of Senior Lecturer. A scholar of horror, gender, and visual culture in Imperial Latin and Greek literature, Haynes has taught at Princeton for nine years.

Haynes is a distinguished innovator of new courses and programs, from introductory language classes to upper-level seminars. Last year, she led an intensive Greek class abroad for the Classics Department’s inaugural Summer in Athens (CLG 104). That fall, her new lecture course Ancient Sport and Spectacle (CLA 227) immediately became one of the university’s largest and most popular offerings.

“I made it my mission to take as many of her classes as possible,” said Classics major John Freeman ’24, who took six courses with Haynes. “I owe her so much as a scholar and as a mentor and cannot stress enough how much value she brings to the Princeton community and its Classics Department.” 

For Freeman, recently named the Class of 2024 salutatorian, Haynes’s commitment to intellectually engaging students proved key to his Princeton experience: “I can confidently say that she is the most impactful educator I have had the pleasure to learn from.” 

Many others have agreed. In 2020, the Princeton chapter of Phi Beta Kappa presented Haynes its annual award for excellence is undergraduate teaching. Her next new course, this fall’s Magic and Witchcraft in the Ancient World (CLA 234), has already enrolled 120 students.

Fellow instructors credit Haynes’s success to her broad knowledge of the ancient world and her skill in making it interesting and accessible to all students. 

“Her courses provide multiple points of entry into the field,” said Yelena Baraz, Kennedy Foundation Professor of Latin, who worked closely with Haynes as Director of Undergraduate Studies. “Her new lecture classes are excellent examples, but she does this in all her courses on a daily basis, bringing inscriptions into her beginning language courses, finding striking examples of reception for her seminars.”

Graduate Student Jermaine Bryant, who co-taught a course with Haynes on Roman elegy (CLA 342), also stressed her ability to connect with students. “Melissa is an exemplary teacher who brings electricity to the classroom,” he said. “I have learned much about teaching from her, and I treasure her expertise and humanity, as all who have had the fortune of being taught by her do.”

Baraz further praised Haynes as “an exceptional advisor for independent work.” In the words of one advisee, Nicolette D’Angelo, “Professor Haynes changed my life!” D’Angelo, a former Rhodes scholar now pursuing a PhD at UCLA, recalled thesis meetings often running to two hours. “The generosity and dedication that Professor Haynes brings to students at Princeton is special, singular, and deserving of every accolade.” 

Haynes received her doctorate in Classical Philology from Harvard University and previously served on the faculties of Bucknell, Temple, and the University of Wisconsin. While in grad school, she recalls “having to fight harder to do the type of work that I thought I wanted to do” in order to bring the field’s attention to women and gender studies, an experience documented in a recent interview with the Daily Princetonian.

Today, those same interests help guide her innovations in teaching and connections with students. “Haynes’ pedagogy is one of care and curiosity rather than shame,” said D’Angelo. “In my own teaching and research, I can only aspire to the example set by Professor Haynes, and I count myself among the many whose intellectual lives she has supported and fundamentally transformed.”