Excellence in Leadership, Science and Education

Focused on improving our global community through excellence in discovery, learning, creativity, and leadership.
Improving the Future Through Better Learning


Focused on improving our global community by ensuring a more thoughtful and knowledgeable people.

Student Success

As founding President of Georgia Regents University (GRU), Dr. Azziz was faced with an undergraduate graduation rate that was listed among the 25 worse in nation for a 4-year public institution of higher education. Implementing an aggressive and innovative improvement plan, which fostered timely student progression through a variety of programs including an innovative ‘4-Years-4-U’ plan. These efforts resulted in over 56% of new freshman successfully completing ≥15 credit-hrs./semester in Fall ‘14, compared to only 3.5% in the Fall ’12. Further, 6-year graduation rates were increased through a variety of approaches, from 22.2% to 30.2% in less than 36 mos. Many of these efforts have been documented in blogs and in print (e.g. see Azziz R. How to Graduate on Time. The Presidency, American Council of Education. Fall issue 2015; http://www.acenet.edu/the-presidency/columns-and-features/Pages/How-to-Graduate-on-Time.aspx).

Diversity and Inclusion

Dr. Azziz is a long-time advocate of not only diversity, but also inclusivity, in higher education and academic medicine, for faculty, students, and staff. He previously served as member of the Faculty Partners for Diversity at UCLA, and currently serves as Senior Mentor for the Network of Minority Health Research Investigators (NMRI) of the NIDDK, National Institutes of Health. As first president of Georgia Health Sciences University (previously called the Medical College of Georgia), Dr. Azziz championed diversity and inclusion efforts throughout, creating the first enterprise-wide Office of Diversity & Inclusion, which implemented a campus-wide ‘Healthy Respect” program, among other initiatives. These efforts increased the proportion of under-represented minorities among students by 18.8%, faculty by 9%, and staff by 2.4%; while decreasing Equal Employment Opportunity yearly complaint rates by 44% (2010-14), despite an effort to increase awareness. The University also engaged strongly in promoting LGBT health, and religious tolerance, campus and community-wide. These and many other efforts resulted in the university being recognized with the ‘2014 Award for Diversity and Inclusion’ from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)/ Minority Opportunities Athletics Association (MOAA), the 2014 INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, and special mention by Minority Access, Inc. at the 15th National Role Models Conference (Oct. 2014). Many of these efforts have been documented (e.g. see Azziz R. Fostering a Climate of Inclusion: What Works. INSIGHT Into Diversity, July/August 2015 issue, pp. 22-23, http://www.insightintodiversity.com/fostering-a-climate-of-inclusion-what-works/; and Azziz R. What Can Campus Leaders Do to Make Protests Unnecessary? Chronicle Higher Education, Dec. 4, 2015, http://chronicle.com/article/What-Can-Campus-Leaders-Do-to/234463).

Leadership Development

Dr. Azziz is a strong advocate for leadership development not only among recognized and emerging administrators, but also among staff and faculty. He developed and then served as Director for the Young Investigators Academic Development Course at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 2004-10. At Georgia Regents University he created the Office of Faculty Development and established an enterprise-wide ‘Leadership Academy’. He has written extensively on leadership and is a frequently invited speaker (e.g. see video: College Presidents Talk Leadership at ACE’s Annual Meeting. by Nick DeSantis. March 10-11 2014. The Chronicle of Higher Education, http://chronicle.com/blogs/bottomline/video-college-presidents-talk-leadership-at-aces-annual-meeting/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en; Presidential Dialogues-Two. FOCUS ON THE FUTURE: Lessons on Effecting Change. Academic Impressions. Washington DC, January, 2016, https://www.academicimpressions.com/news/presidential-dialogues-lessons-effecting-change).

Health Professions Training

Dr. Azziz is a long-term and experienced advocate of health professions training and education. He has served as Program director for graduate and postgraduate medical training programs, and has worked as university leader, to ensure the best infrastructure for the training of not only physicians, but also of other health professionals. He served as principal advisor for the drafting of the recommendations of Health Professions Education Committee, Board of Regents, University System of Georgia. He also served as president of Georgia Health Sciences University (previously called the Medical College of Georgia), where he oversaw a 10% per year increase in health sciences student enrollment, to the highest number of students in the history of the institution. Additionally, he oversaw the expansion of satellite campuses state-wide.