Hicks named dean of Auburn University’s College of Liberal Arts
Following a national search, Auburn University has selected Jason Hicks as the next dean of the College of Liberal Arts, or CLA, effective July 1.
Hicks joins Auburn from Louisiana State University, where he is currently a Provost’s Fellow in the Office of Academic Affairs. He succeeds Ana Franco-Watkins, who has served as interim dean since July 2021 following the transition of Joe Aistrup back to the faculty after serving as dean for eight years. Franco-Watkins will return to her position as professor and chair of the Department of Psychological Sciences.
“Throughout the search process, our CLA faculty, staff, students and alumni indicated their desire for an effective leader to bring together diverse viewpoints and create a refreshed vision for the college,” said Interim Provost Vini Nathan. “With the selection of Jason Hicks, I am confident that he will deliver on these goals and foster new levels of innovation and excellence across the college’s instruction, research and outreach programs.”
An international scholar in human memory, Hicks began his tenure at LSU in 1998 as an assistant professor of psychology, rising to the rank of associate professor in 2004 and full professor in 2011. Hicks served as chair of LSU’s Department of Psychology from 2014-18, leading a large academic unit with 26 full-time faculty, 100 graduate students across five doctoral programs and more than 850 undergraduates. From 2018-21, he was associate dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, where he spearheaded professional and leadership development efforts for the college, including the creation of HSS Future Forward—a professional development program for aspirational department leaders.
“I am extremely honored to accept this leadership opportunity,” said Hicks. “The College of Liberal Arts is truly integral to the university’s success. I am eager to enhance the college’s positive impact on students, staff, faculty and alumni of the college.”
Hicks will lead one of the largest colleges on Auburn’s campus, comprised of two schools and 12 departments encompassing the social sciences, communication, fine and performing arts, humanities and aviation. As the academic core of Auburn, CLA has a successful record of research, creative activities and outreach among its 800 faculty and staff and 4,800 students.
As dean, Hicks’ immediate priorities include developing strategies to elevate the student experience and broaden access to CLA curricula and courses, furthering opportunities to support the recruitment and retention of faculty, expanding engagement with alumni and enhancing professional and leadership development for faculty and staff. With both short- and long-term strategies, Hicks will build upon academic endeavors that enhance CLA’s core values: learning and knowledge, inclusion and equity and engagement and impact.
A native of Wichita, Kansas, Hicks earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Truman State University and his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Georgia.
Hicks’ research expertise includes the areas of human memory distortion, memory for intentions (prospective memory), memory for the source of learned information and how people control memory retrieval. He has published in top journals such as Memory & Cognition; Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition; and the Journal of Memory and Language. He is an American Psychological Association Fellow, a member of the Association for Psychological Science and a Psychonomic Society Fellow.
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