Oct. 7, 2019
As the new associate dean for diversity and inclusion, Deborah Hazzard is believed to be the first African American academic professional in a leadership role in the Moore School’s 100-year history. Hazzard began the role in June.
Hazzard, a management clinical assistant professor, sees the importance of her being the first African American administrator in the example it sets for underrepresented students.
"'You cannot be what you cannot see,’ is an adage that is near and dear to my heart because I firmly believe in the power of representation,” Hazzard said. “If we are to become more diverse and inclusive in our student population, we must also become more diverse and inclusive in our faculty, staff and leadership ranks.”
Moore School Dean Peter Brews said Hazzard is a great fit for the position, as she was already creating a related certificate program ahead of becoming the associate dean for diversity and inclusion.
“Dr. Hazzard is a fabulous addition to our leadership team at the Moore School,” Brews said. “Her academic background in particular perfectly equips her for her role as associate dean of diversity and inclusion, and I look forward to working with her over the coming years as our diversity and inclusion initiatives reach even greater heights and serve even more students at the school.”
Hazzard’s main goal in this new leadership role is to increase representation of underrepresented populations while ensuring that everyone in the Moore School community feels respected, valued and visible. Already some of the Moore School’s diversity initiatives are starting to gain momentum. These initiatives include the Rising Scholars program, last spring’s African American Leadership Conference and other programming focused on first generation students, gender and the LGBTQ population.
“[This position] provides me with a platform for moving the needle forward relative to diversity, equity and inclusion,” Hazzard said. “Moreover, it affords the infrastructure to garner and pool resources, both financial and human, that can be deployed for the express purpose of making the Moore School more inclusive and engaging for all students. Suffice it to say, I am truly excited about the opportunity to engage in this manner.”
Hazzard said she is proud of the diversity and inclusion work that has already been done in the Moore School.
The dean’s Diversity and Inclusion Student Council was created in 2015 to help ensure goals for diversity and inclusion are fully achieved and valued at the Moore School and to advise programming for underrepresented populations and first-generation students.
Since 2015, the Moore School has received eight gifts totaling close to $1 million to support underrepresented students. Three gifts were received prior to 2015 to support underrepresented students. Last year, in 2018-2019, 120 students from underrepresented populations and first-generation students received 169 scholarship and fellowship awards totaling $339,000. Going into 2019-2020, 128 of these students received 174 scholarship and fellowship awards totaling $395,000.
Beyond financial support, Rising Scholars is one successful diversity and inclusion program. This project is an excellence initiative to develop future business leaders and bridge the opportunity gap for underserved students from South Carolina. Moore School students who are selected for the program share a passion for business and a commitment to the school’s core values. To be designated as Rising Scholars, students must demonstrate a record of excellence, resiliency, teamwork and integrity — characteristics that are fundamental to future business leaders.
The Moore School has two Rising Scholars cohorts, and Hazzard is working diligently to retain these current students through enriched programming opportunities. Simultaneously, Hazzard is recruiting new students to the program but is also looking for ways to provide academic and professional mentoring to all underrepresented students, not just those who are Rising Scholars.
Another diversity and inclusion program currently offered in the Moore School is Hazzard’s own Inclusive Leadership Certificate Program. This certificate is for middle- to upper-level managers in private and public sector organizations who want to become leaders in their areas by effectively leveraging diversity and inclusion in an effort to enhance organization effectiveness.
“I created the Inclusive Leadership certificate program to address an unmet need,” Hazzard said. “Organizations are seeking leaders and managers who possess diversity and inclusion competencies and are able to infuse these much-needed competencies into their organizations. This program is focused on developing diversity and inclusion leaders who are able to understand and lead in today’s highly competitive, dynamic business environment.”
Hazzard went on to add that diversity and inclusion are no longer moral arguments but strategic business imperatives.
Recognizing the need for diversity and inclusion is nothing new for Hazzard. Originally from Columbia, South Carolina, Hazzard is a graduate of Lower Richland High School where students were, and still are, from predominantly underrepresented racial and socioeconomic backgrounds. This personal connection drives Hazzard’s passion for the diversity efforts at the Moore School.
“My goal [here at the Moore School] is the same as it has been throughout most of my adult life: to make a difference and strive to leave things better than I found them,” Hazzard said.
After spending her professional career working in other areas of the Southeast, Hazzard found herself back in Columbia in 2013 when she began teaching at the Moore School. Hazzard’s other work experience includes roles at Bank of America, First Union Bank, City of Charlotte and her consulting and training firm — 2 Higher Heights LLC.
Hazzard is extremely proud of her new position in the Moore School and is grateful to her predecessors for their commitment to inclusivity, in both student programming and faculty engagement.
“I want to sincerely thank all the people who came before me because they made this [promotion] possible,” Hazzard said. “Today, I stand on the shoulders of all those people! I fully recognize that some of those people were people of color, while others were allies—in any case, they challenged prevailing beliefs and behaviors, rejected the status quo and used their power to make a difference. I honor each and every one of them for their sacrifices, and for their efforts to knock down walls while building bridges.”