THIBODAUX, La. — The University of Louisiana System has recognized the career of Renee Hicks (BS ‘89, MEd ‘03) by giving her the James Callier Servant Leader Award.
The award recognizes individuals who demonstrate servant leader qualities and characteristics that inspire others to develop their leadership potential.
Hicks, assistant vice president for institutional effectiveness, access and success, first joined the Nicholls team in 1997 as a research assistant in the office of institutional research. In 2019, Hicks was elevated to assistant vice president.
In 2017, Hicks identified trends within the Black male student population that lead to the creation of the Colonels Retention of Winners Network (CROWN). The successful program has increased retention and graduation rates among Black male students since its inception. Recently, she worked with the system as they introduced the first R.F. Lewis Scholars.
“I have a great working relationship with the system and have great respect for their leadership team,” Hicks said. “Dr. Claire Norris, Associate Vice President for Inclusion, Diversity, and Effectiveness, has a contagious energy and positive nature and a true appreciation of data. She assembled a group of leaders to work in this area that was truly amazing. I feel humbled to be recognized because I feel like I learned so much from the group. All are so focused on meeting students’ needs and supporting educational attainment. It has been truly inspiring to be a part of the system’s effort towards greater support for our black males.”
During her nearly 25 years with the university, she has served as the liaison with the SACSCOC accreditation body and guided the university through a successful reaffirmation in 2016. Today, her role has expanded. In addition to her work in institutional research, effectiveness and student academic support, she also oversees the university’s enrollment and admissions offices, the CROWN program and its female counterpart for women of color, Legacy Leaders.
The award’s namesake, Dr. James Caillier, is a lifelong Louisiana secondary and post-secondary educator. He was the first ULS president and holds the distinct honor of being president emeritus for the ULS. He continues his service to higher education as the executive director of the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation.