Haynes Receives Jameson M. Jones Award for Outstanding Faculty Service

image of Rhodes College professor holding a plaque and standing next to the provost
Dr. Stephen Haynes and Dr. Katherine Bassard

Dr. Stephen Haynes, professor of religious studies at Rhodes, was presented the 2023 Jameson M. Jones Award for Outstanding Faculty Service on Aug. 18 at the college’s Opening Convocation. This is an annual ceremony to mark a new academic session and to recognize the new class.

“On behalf of our esteemed faculty, dedicated staff, and committed trustees, I am delighted to welcome you—the great Class of 2027— to Rhodes College,” said President Jennifer Collins. “We have all come out today to celebrate this extraordinary group of students and to extend to you our very best wishes for a wonderful four years at Rhodes. The 175th session of Rhodes College has officially begun!”

Established in 1988, the Jameson M. Jones Award for Outstanding Faculty Service recognizes a member of the faculty who exemplifies a deep sense of service to the college’s mission. It is named in memory of Dr. Jameson M. Jones ’36, who served as chief academic officer for more than 15 years.

A member of the faculty since 1989, Haynes has taught a range of courses on religion and racism, the Holocaust, the Bible, and religion and literature, and he has served on many standing and ad hoc committees.

“Most recently, he served as the presiding officer of the faculty, and especially during the pandemic, he guided our faculty meetings with incredible grace,” said Dr. Katherine Bassard, provost and vice president for academic affairs, who made the presentation. “He also played an instrumental role on the Palmer Hall Discernment Committee and the renaming of what we now call Southwestern Hall. And his most significant contribution to our educational mission has been the creation of the Rhodes College Liberal Arts in Prison Program.”

In 2016, Rhodes began offering a Great Books Reading Group for more than 20 incarcerated women at the Women’s Therapeutic Residential Center in Henning, TN. The group was led by Haynes and faculty volunteers and met on a 16-week schedule. In 2019, the Great Books Reading Group was expanded to a four-course program of study called Culture and Values. Now, participants who complete the program can receive a Certificate in Liberal Arts from Rhodes. None of this would have been possible without Haynes’ dedication and passion, according to his nominators.

As one colleague wrote, “He built the program from the ground up, and since its inception, he has been a one-person college administration as he has been involved in admissions, development, public relations, and information technology.”

Haynes’ steadfast leadership on the college’s faculty governance committee also has received high praise. One nominator wrote, “Steve builds relationships while building programs.” Calling Haynes’ role “exemplary,” another colleague noted that “He asked terrific questions that showed his care and concern for sustaining Rhodes and its people. He demonstrated the best of teaching and learning, offering his insights and also his curiosity about other perspectives and his desire to grow from them.”

Haynes’ nominators also emphasized “his courage in taking risks for initiatives he believes in.” A key legacy of his work is the renaming of Southwestern Hall. In 2017, former President Majorie Hass and the Board of Trustees put together an ad hoc committee to establish a process for changing the name of a historic building on campus. Haynes was tapped to lead this charge, and as one person noted, his guidance “brought the whole community together rather than splintering it apart.”

As the recipient of the 2023 Jameson M. Jones Award, Haynes joins a distinguished group of faculty who have demonstrated through their outstanding records of service that they embody the kind of intellectual leadership and commitment to service that were so important to Jones.