Excellence in Instruction Award winner for 2024 announced

Haynes is wearing a striped cardigan, holding a sign that says, “Congratulations Excellence in Instruction Award Winner,” surrounded by a group of seven people — friends and family. Black, gold and white balloons are visible behind them.

Linda Haynes (College of Liberal Arts) is surprised in her classroom with the presentation of the 2024 Excellence in Instruction Award, surrounded by family, friends, colleagues and students. (Purdue University photo/Greta Bell)

Linda Haynes has served students with care and innovative solutions for over 30 years

Linda Haynes, a senior lecturer and associate director of introductory composition in the College of Liberal Arts, considers teaching her students to find reliable sources to be one of the most important things she does. It’s during those lessons that she experiences one of her favorite educational moments, when she senses a shift in the energy of the classroom as evidenced by a particular, surprising sound.


Haynes has her hands over her mouth in shock as three smiling people participate in presenting her award. One holds the “congratulations” sign and another holds black, gold and white balloons.
In a celebratory ambush, Linda Haynes was surprised mid-lecture by friends and family to receive her award. (Purdue University photo/Greta Bell)
Haynes stands at the front of her classroom, glancing up at the door, while several students are listening attentively to the lecture.
Before the realization hit: Linda Haynes looks up at the sudden commotion at the door to her classroom. (Purdue University photo/Greta Bell)
Purdue Pete high-fives Linda Haynes at the front of her classroom.
Purdue Pete helped present the prestigious 2024 Excellence in Instruction Award to Linda Haynes. (Purdue University photo/Greta Bell)

“There’s something about that quiet, that intense work they’re doing. You can almost hear their brains working, those synapses firing,” she says. “When they get like that, I know I’ve hit something, they’re really understanding what it is to enjoy the treasure hunt of research.”

It’s this devotion to her students’ learning that earned her the prestigious 2024 Excellence in Instruction Award. This award is presented annually to a lecturer or senior lecturer who has gone above and beyond for their students during their years of service to the university. Haynes received a surprise presentation in her classroom by Purdue Pete, family and colleagues.

Since she began her teaching and advising career at Purdue in 1993, Haynes has played a pivotal role in advancing the university’s educational mission by delivering innovative, high-quality writing instruction to thousands of undergraduate students, both in her instructional role and her administrative role as assistant director, and now associate director, of the Introductory Composition at Purdue (ICaP) program. She’s taught 16 different courses for the Department of English, seven of which she helped to design or redesign. Since 2004, she’s offered hands-on writing instruction to over 1,200 undergraduate students in 56 separate sections.

Haynes — known for her devotion to setting up students for success, as well as her innovative approach — put both on display at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. She was conducting an early pilot of Purdue’s new learning management system, Brightspace, with a mentor group of graduate students when learning abruptly shifted to an online model, making the pilot more urgent. Over the summer of 2020, Haynes trained directly with D2L, the developer of Brightspace, to understand the software so that she could then introduce and translate the information to all ICaP writing instructors.

Despite tremendous accomplishments throughout her decades of service, Haynes is unassuming. “I have no expectations for winning anything like this,” she says of the award. “But when 20-30 people suddenly burst into your classroom with photographers and balloons and Purdue Pete, it really brings out the community aspect of the job. You realize you don’t simply teach your class and go home. It has lasting effects.”

Linda Haynes

There’s something about that quiet, that intense work they’re doing. … When they get like that, I know I’ve hit something.

Linda Haynes

Senior lecturer and associate director of introductory composition
College of Liberal Arts