Azizan-Gardner appointed Chief Diversity Officer

The MU alumna had served in an interim capacity since 2011.

After serving as interim for the past year, Noor Azizan-Gardner was appointed chief diversity officer Monday by Deputy Chancellor Mike Middleton.

The position involves coordinating the Chancellor's Diversity Initiative and working to promote diversity goals on campus.

“Our mission for diversity on campus is to initiate diversity and inclusion as a whole," Azizan-Gardner said. "We continue to want to collaborate and engage with all the divisions and units on campus. The campus diversity initiative is about the whole campus, not just the office."

One of the main priorities of the initiative is to create a diverse faculty, Azizan-Gardner said.

"We want to make sure we have a very diverse faculty body to engage with our increasingly diverse student body," Azizan-Gardner said.

Before serving as interim chief diversity officer, Azizan-Gardner was the director of diversity programming and professional development with the initiative. Azizan-Gardner said her past experiences working with the initiative will aid her as she assumes the new position.

"My role is to be able to provide leadership, resources and advice to my colleagues and to make all these things happen," Azizan-Gardner said. "My role is to capture the energy, passion and momentum of everybody to be agents of change (in diversity)."

Azizan-Gardner emphasized MU's progressive approach to diversity.

"We have a very comprehensive and strategic approach toward diversity," Azizan-Gardner said. "Here at MU, what we do in diversity is ahead of the curve compared to public research universities across the nation. Our diversity office is really interested in the whole spectrum of diversity."

In addition to working with the initiative, Azizan-Gardner has worked on multicultural issues locally and abroad for more than 18 years. She served on many multicultural committees and organizations throughout Columbia in the past and currently is a member of a community committee that works with the Columbia Police Department to address racial profiling issues.

The opportunity to help promote openness in campus diversity is what draws her to this kind of work, Azizan-Gardner said.

"Being a part of (the initiative), I get the chance to help create the kind of university where everyone feels like they are engaged and they feel like 'This is my university. I am a part of this. My voice is heard,'" Azizan-Gardner said.

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