Douglas Hicks - Professor of Religion and Senior Advisor for Academic Initiatives

Colgate Directory

Douglas Hicks

Douglas Hicks

Professor of Religion; Senior AdvisOr for Academic Initiatives; Former Provost and Dean of the Faculty
Religion, 301C Lawrence Hall
p 315-228-7824
Douglas Hicks is Professor in the religion department and Senior Advisor for Academic Initiatives at Colgate University. As Provost and Dean of the Faculty from 2012-2015, Hicks led the four academic divisions of Colgate’s faculty, as well as university libraries, information technology, athletics, museums, international initiatives, and the office of equity and diversity. With President Jeffrey Herbst, he was a principal architect of the university’s strategic plan, Living the Liberal Arts, and he led the successful implementation of the plan’s academic priorities: internationalization, technological innovation, civic engagement, and pedagogical development.

Hicks was formerly professor of leadership studies and religion in the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond, where he taught from 1998 until 2012. As founding director of Richmond’s Bonner Center for Civic Engagement, he built a staff team of a dozen members to promote community-based learning, civic partnerships, and applied research on public issues. He also stewarded a major gift for, and led the development and launch of, the University of Richmond Downtown initiative. He received an Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia (SCHEV), the commonwealth’s highest recognition for professors.


Colgate joins new consortium for online pedagogy
Colgate University and three peer liberal arts institutions joined together in a new consortium focused on online teaching and learning. The agreement between Colgate, Davidson College, Hamilton College, and Wellesley College is aimed at strengthening collaboration around online technologies, including the edX platform. READ MORE
Transition in the Office of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty
In April, 2015 Douglas A. Hicks announced he would conclude his term as Colgate’s provost and dean of the faculty at the end of the 2014-15 academic year. He also announced his plan to take a sabbatical leave to focus on his scholarly work, including writing on leadership in higher education. READ MORE
Dean of College, Dean of Faculty collaborate on residential learning communities
The first of four residential learning communities on the Colgate campus will launch in fall 2015. The community will accommodate 200 sophomores and 200 first-year students in Curtis and Drake Halls and will be co-led by Rebecca Shiner, professor of psychology, and Mark Shiner, university chaplain. READ MORE
Trustees approve construction of Center for Art and Culture
The $21-million center — designed by renowned architect David Adjaye — will feature a new 17,000-square-foot structure consisting of three connecting “volumes” that will be used as flexible and spacious galleries. READ MORE
Transformative gifts propel Colgate’s strategic internationalization
Colgate is in the middle of everywhere, and a new series of gifts is powering the university’s commitment to international engagement, as envisioned in the 2014–2019 strategic plan. READ MORE
Mellon grant to assist Colgate’s investigation of online learning technologies
Colgate University and Hamilton College receive a $91,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to further their exploration of online learning technologies within the residential liberal arts context. READ MORE
Op-ed published in Huffington Post: "The Liberal Arts Contribution to edX"
With his counterpart, Patrick Reynolds of Hamilton College, Hicks discusses the potential benefits and pitfalls of liberal arts experimentation in online educational platforms. READ MORE
Colgate University, Hamilton College announce partnership as new edX members
Colgate and Hamilton commit to collaborate with edX to provide non-credit courses and modules to their respective alumni communities and to the broad public. READ MORE
Hicks welcomes New York Six International Initiative funded by Mellon grant
Colgate joins its upstate New York partner institutions to buttress its internationalization efforts. READ MORE
Colgate hosts Patriot League chief academic officers meeting
In light of national challenges facing NCAA Division I athletics, the provosts discuss the Patriot League’s commitment to embody the true scholar-athlete model. READ MORE
Colgate hosts Patriot League chief academic officers meeting
In light of national challenges facing NCAA Division I athletics, the provosts discuss the Patriot League’s commitment to embody the true scholar-athlete model. READ MORE
Teagle grant to support Colgate, 5 other schools in blended-learning project
Colgate joins its partners in the New York Six to explore hybrid learning—in person and online engagement—across its campuses. READ MORE
Colgate returns aboriginal children's artwork to Australia
Hicks represented Colgate at a signing ceremony at Curtin University, Perth, Australia, as part of the voluntary repatriation of a remarkable art collection.
Hicks presents "Great Minds" lecture on religious leadership and social change
How do religious ideas help fuel social change? Hicks discussed how transformative leaders embody and articulate society-shaping ideas through the communities they form and the narratives they tell. READ MORE
Colgate receives $700,000 Mellon grant to fund new Sophomore Residential Seminars
In collaboration with Dean of the College Suzy Nelson, Provost Hicks crafted a proposal to create year-long learning communities that serve as the centerpiece of sophomore’s academic experience. READ MORE
Convocation for first-year students
Hicks focused his first major address at Colgate, delivered to the faculty and the incoming first-year Class of 2016, on the power of tradition and the need for dynamism within tradition in order to stay vital. READ MORE
Doug Hicks, Suzy Nelson, and Jeffrey Herbst meet with members of the Association of Critical Collegians Hicks is a supporter of the value of athletics to the educational experience. In 2013, Hicks was an influential figure in the repatriation of indigenous Australian artwork from Colgate's collections to the collections of Curtin University in Australia. As part of the Global Leaders Lecture Series, Hicks spoke with former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, and fielded questions from students. Hicks balances a sense of fun with a serious approach to scholarly work.

Scholarship and Teaching

What makes for a good life, and can it be pursued in common? What does justice look like in a complex, global economy? How can leaders, despite their personal interests and failures, guide organizations and communities to do the right thing?  How do people appropriately integrate their religious commitments into the various activities of their lives? What role should religiously based moral convictions play in a devout and diverse society?  

Questions such as these fuel my own scholarship, and I aim to inspire my students to grapple with them and arrive at their own answers.  

Over my career I have been fortunate to study with economists, theologians, ethicists, and leadership scholars, and I apply insights from those various fields to the moral issues that concern us all:  how to build from religious tolerance and mutual respect to confront fears, real and imagined, in an age of terrorism; how to balance the needs of other nations with those of our own; how to understand the appropriate and constructive role of business and commerce within our civil society.

In my fourth book, Money Enough: Everyday Practices for Living Faithfully in the Global Economy (Jossey Bass, 2010), I look at how people spend and save money, how labor fits with leisure, and how various aspects of economic life can be viewed through the lens of daily practice. And I frame some key theological and ethical questions, such as: What is the appropriate role of money in a well-lived life?

On my website, there is information about Money Enough, and three other books that I wrote earlier in my career, along with links to articles, public talks, and other materials.

In With God on All Sides: Leadership in a Devout and Diverse America (Oxford University Press, 2009), I consider the ways leaders must draw together people from varied backgrounds in order to transform the problem of diversity into an opportunity.  In other words, how do we turn the cacophony of beliefs and practices into a kind of citizenship worthy of the American tradition of religious freedom? 

In Religion and the Workplace (Cambridge University Press, 2003), I propose some constructive solutions based on a respectful pluralism that allows for the expression of individual beliefs and practices. 

And in Inequality and Christian Ethics (Cambridge University Press, 2000) I draw on Christian social ethics, political philosophy, and development economics, in order to illuminate contemporary realities and trends of inequality, as well as their moral significance.


  • PhD, Harvard University, 1998
  • MA, Harvard University, 1995
  • MDiv, Duke University, 1993
  • AB, Davidson University, 1990

Teaching Experience

  • Professor of leadership studies and religion, University of Richmond, 1998-2012
  • Visiting faculty positions at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, and Harvard Divinity School

Professional Experience

  • Former president of the Academy of Religious Leadership
  • Former chair of the Religion and Social Sciences section of the American Academy of Religion
  • Ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA)
  • Former board member of the Virginia Poverty Law Center
  • Former Board of Trustees member, Duke University 

Selected Publications


Edited Books

  • Hicks, Douglas A., and Thad Williamson, editors. Leadership and Global Justice. The Jepson Studies in Leadership series, ed. by George R. Goethals, Terry L. Price, and J. Thomas Wren. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.
  • Hicks, Douglas A., and Mark Valeri, editors. Global Neighbors: Christian Faith and Moral Obligation in Today’s Economy. The Eerdmans Religion, Ethics, and Public Life series, ed. by Jean Bethke Elshtain and John D. Carlson. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2008. 
  • Wren, J. Thomas, Douglas A. Hicks, and Terry L. Price, editors. The International Library of Leadership. Volume I: Traditional Classics on Leadership. Volume II: Modern Classics on Leadership. Volume III: New Perspectives on Leadership. Aldershot, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2004. Paperback edition of Traditional Classics on Leadership published in 2005.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles