Michael Lamb is the F. M. Kirby Foundation Chair of Leadership and Character, Executive Director of the Program for Leadership and Character, and Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Humanities at Wake Forest University. He is also an Associate Fellow of the Oxford Character Project. He holds a Ph.D. in politics from Princeton University, a B.A. in political science from Rhodes College, and a second B.A. in philosophy and theology from the University of Oxford, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar.
Michael’s research focuses on the ethics of citizenship and the role of virtues in public life. His book, A Commonwealth of Hope: Augustine’s Political Thought (Princeton University Press, 2022), offers a novel interpretation of Augustine’s political thought and recovers his virtue of hope to inform contemporary politics. He is also a co-editor of Cultivating Virtue in the University (Oxford University Press, 2022) and Everyday Ethics: Moral Theology and the Practices of Ordinary Life (Georgetown University Press, 2019). His work has been published in a number of edited volumes and academic journals, including the American Political Science Review, Review of Politics, Journal of Religious Ethics, Journal of Moral Education, and Journal of Character Education.
Michael’s broader interests include virtue ethics, leadership and character development, religion and politics, ethics and public policy, and politics and literature. He has taught interdisciplinary courses in politics, ethics, and religion at Oxford, Princeton, Rhodes, and Wake Forest. For excellence in teaching, he was awarded the George Kateb Teaching Award for Best Preceptor from Princeton’s Department of Politics, a Teaching Excellence Award from Oxford’s Humanities Division, and a Teaching Award from Wake Forest’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching.
A political theorist with experience in practical politics, Michael has advised universities on character education and civic engagement and served as chief of staff for campaigns for state senate, Governor, and U.S. Congress in his home state of Tennessee. At the University of Oxford, he helped to launch the Oxford Character Project, which helps graduate students in various fields – including government, law, medicine, business, and academia – think about the role of ethics in their professions. He also served as Dean of Leadership, Service, and Character Development for Rhodes Scholars. He is currently working with the Wake Forest community to develop programs in leadership and character. He also serves as principal investigator on a $30 million grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc., to build the capacity of other colleges and universities to educate character.