Noor Azizan-Gardner named MU's chief diversity officer

Thursday, November 1, 2012 | 8:39 p.m. CDT; updated 11:48 p.m. CDT, Thursday, November 1, 2012

COLUMBIA — Increasing the diversity of faculty hires and adding diversity issues to existing curricula are among the priorities of Noor Azizan-Gardner, MU's newly appointed chief diversity officer.

Azizan-Gardner was appointed to the new position by Deputy Chancellor Mike Middleton on Tuesday, according to a news release. She has worked with diversity issues for over 18 years and was the interim chief diversity officer last year.

Of 162 new, non-visiting faculty hired from September 2011 to October 2012, 37 were members of racial or ethnic minorities – African-American, Asian, Hispanic, Native American and Pacific Islander – according to a report authored by MU's Chancellor's Diversity Initiative.

"There has already been a lot of progress, but it is a continued priority," Azizan-Gardner said.

The deans of all of the schools at MU are working to include diversity issues into their curricula, Azizan-Gardner said.

"The medical school uses problem-based learning and is working to add issues that the LGBTQ community faces into their curriculum," she said.

The Chancellor's Diversity Initiative is a program that aims to promote diversity on campus and to ensure that everyone is treated with fairness and without prejudice. 

Programs of the Chancellor's Diversity Initiative include the MU Equity Office, which works with faculty, staff and students who feel they have been treated unfairly, and services such as the You in Mizzou dialogue series, which holds discussions on issues such as sex and religion.

Another example is the Peer Mentoring Program implemented by the College of Engineering. Last year, U.S. and international students were paired up to increase interactions between the groups. The students took part in several events throughout the year, including a trip to Hannibal.

"We want to create an environment where all are able to engage in dialogue with each other and be themselves," Azizan-Gardner said. "We want to create spaces where people feel safe and welcome."

Supervising editor is Simina Mistreanu.

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