Dr. Azziz is a recognized leader in higher education, having served on the Board of Trustees, of the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools – Commission on Colleges; as Senior Fellow, American Association of State Colleges & Universities; and as first Visiting Scholar, then Senior Fellow, the Pullias Center for Higher Education, University of Southern California. Among other areas, Dr. Azziz has focused on the development of operational efficiencies, such as shared administrative services and leadership incentive programs; the use of data and enhanced metrics to drive sound decision-making, strategic and tactical planning, and action monitoring; the development of in-house leadership and faculty talent; innovative approaches to improving student success; enhancing a climate of diversity & inclusivity on campus; change management; and mergers & consolidations in higher education.
Select career highlights as a higher education executive and leader include serving as:
- Founding president of Georgia Regents University (GRU, now Augusta University), leading the consolidation of two institutions to create the university, a $460M enterprise and one of Georgia’s four public research universities, 2013-15. During his tenure he was able to:
- Successfully manage a 30% reduction in state formula funding, despite significant unfunded mandates.
- Increase new freshman progression (completing ≥15 credit-hrs/semester) from 3.5% to 56%; and increased 6-year graduation rates from 22.2% to 30.2%, FY12-14.
- Increase total institutional research to >$106 million by FY14, the highest in institutional history.
- Revitalize philanthropy, garnering the highest annual support and total endowment (~$240M) in institutional history, the single largest gift (>$66 million) to a public institution in state history, and initiating the institution’s first capital campaign, achieving >50% of goal by year 3 of silent phase.
- President of Georgia Health Sciences University, during which, among other initiatives, undertook the creation of the only public academic health center in Georgia, 2010-13.
- Assistant Dean for Clinical & Translational Sciences (CTS), School of Medicine, UCLA, 2008-10.