Elizabeth Kiss will speak on leadership at Oxford College.

Kiss to speak on leadership

Are leaders born, or are they made? In other words, can leadership be taught? These are the questions an internationally known scholar will grapple with in an upcoming appearance at Oxford College.

Elizabeth Kiss, president of Agnes Scott College, will speak on February 20 at 7:30 p.m. in Oxford’s Williams Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

“We are delighted to welcome Elizabeth Kiss to the Oxford College community and to learn from her perspectives and experiences of leadership,” says Douglas Hicks, dean of Oxford College. “She is a preeminent figure in higher education who has put her leadership into practice. Both Agnes Scott and Oxford foreground leadership as a principal element of liberal arts education, and I look forward to sharing ideas with her about educating future leaders.”

Following Kiss’s lecture, she and Hicks will conduct a dialogue on the nature of leadership, discussing their philosophies and experiences, and addressing questions from the audience. Both Kiss and Hicks bring to the discussion their extensive careers as higher-education leaders as well as their knowledge of leadership theory.

Kiss and Hicks have crossed paths in the academy on various occasions. Both are graduates of Davidson College, where they were Edward C. Stuart Scholars, a program that emphasizes academic excellence as well as leadership development. Hicks served as a trustee of Duke University, and Kiss is now a Duke trustee as well as having been a trustee and vice-chair of Davidson’s Board.

Elizabeth Kiss was named by the Chronicle of Higher Education in 2017 as one of the eight most influential people in U.S. higher education. Since 2006 she has served as president of Agnes Scott College, a post from which she will step down later this year to become the warden of Rhodes House and CEO of the Rhodes Trust, which oversees the Rhodes Scholarship at the University of Oxford. She is the first woman to hold these positions.

Kiss holds a DPhil from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. Prior to joining Agnes Scott College, she was the Nannerl O. Keohane Director of the Kenan Institute for Ethics and an associate professor of political science and philosophy at Duke University. As founding director of the Kenan Institute, she helped to build a university-wide initiative to support the study and teaching of ethics and to promote moral reflection and commitment in personal, professional, community and civic life.

Kiss’s academic focus is moral and political philosophy. She has published extensively on issues of justice, moral judgment and education, human rights, and rights theory in relation to ethnic conflict and nationalism. She also is a member of the boards of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics, the Woodruff Arts Center, and the Women’s College Coalition.

Hicks has served as dean of Oxford College since 2016. Prior to that he was a professor, dean of the faculty, and provost at Colgate University. From 1998 until 2012, he was professor of leadership studies and religion in the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond and was the founding director of Richmond’s Bonner Center for Civic Engagement. He has written and spoken extensively on leadership, including co-editing Leadership and Global Justice (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) and the three-volume International Library of Leadership (Edward Elgar, 2004).

Oxford is known for its programs of leadership for students, and its strategic plan calls for continuing the emphasis on leadership education. Says Hicks, “Dr. Kiss’s lecture and the ideas that will be shared promise to inspire our enhancement of leadership in Oxford’s educational promise.”

For information about the event, contact Oxford College Communications at 770-784-8331.