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Bennett College’s Dr. Anne Hayes honored with Exemplary Teacher 0f the Year Award




Dr. Anne Hayes, executive director of Global and Interdisciplinary Studies and Sustainability Lead at Bennett College, has received the prestigious Exemplary Teacher of the Year Award from the United Methodist Church’s General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM). This distinguished honor recognizes educators within United Methodist-affiliated institutions who exemplify exceptional teaching, leadership, and a dedication to education that embodies core values.  

Nominated by Bennett College President Suzanne Elise Walsh, JD, Dean Sara Wrenn and other senior academic leadership of the college, Hayes is described as a visionary educator who extends learning beyond the classroom. “Dr. Hayes is known for taking Bennett students out into the community and engaging them in real world social and environmental justice issues. This is important to our mission of preparing women for leadership roles locally and globally.” stated President Walsh.  

During her time at Bennett College, Hayes has gone above and beyond to make an impact on students and encourage them to make an impact on the world. Along with three students, she formed Bennett College’s Green Team, the first student-led organization focused on recycling, sustainability, and environmental justice, and created and co-taught four innovative environmental studies themed classes.Hayes has also mentored Bennett’s Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants (FLTAs) who have come from all around the world to teach a variety of languages to Bennett College students.  

Under Hayes’ leadership, the Green Team has received multiple notable honors, including being recognized as the 2023 Student Service Organization of the Year. Additionally, the team has organized impactful events such as “Black Women and Climate Change” and secured grants to establish a raised bed garden on campus.  

Dr. Hayes has played a pivotal role in globalizing Bennett’s curriculum, facilitating transformative learning experiences for both faculty and students and has led research groups in Morocco. She also led the team that earned Bennett College’s first Fulbright-Hays Award. This award, granted by the U.S. Department of Education, supports research and training efforts overseas for American educators to improve global understanding and collaboration.  

“My goals as a professor are always to spark a passion for learning about the world and making an impact on it. It’s one thing to tell students they can change the world, and it’s another to walk with them as they are creating big change! As an educator and activist, nothing makes me prouder.” stated Hayes.