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"Garry is the consummate professional and this PhD Trailblazer Award recognizes both the longevity and results of the hard work he has put into helping minority doctoral students get into PhD programs, be successful, and move forward with their careers in academia.” -- Dr. Michael Wesson, Chair, Harbert College Department of Management
The Harbert College is committed to attracting and supporting a diverse workforce through an organizational culture that is intentionally inclusive and mindful of the diversity in the world.
Dr. Garry Adams, Associate Professor in Strategic Management at the Harbert College of Business, is the 24th recipient of the prestigious PhD Project Trailblazer Award, presented annually by the PhD Project’s Management Doctoral Student Association.
The award is given to scholars who have played exemplary leadership roles in mentoring and developing students at the professional level -- specifically to students involved in the PhD Project. The PhD Project, founded by the KPMG Foundation, recruits minority professionals from business into doctoral programs, to provide students with guidance, counseling and mentorship.
Dr. Garry Adams, Professor in Strategic Management
“This is an organization that is near and dear to my heart,” said Adams, who began his journey with the PhD Project as a doctoral student at Florida State in the late 1990s and has served as a mentor within the organization for years, coaching students on how to prepare for the job market within academia, helping prepare CVs, mock interviews, through a variety of conferences and one-on-one sessions. “I’ve done these sessions with students as a way of giving back because the organization has done so much for me – both as a doctoral student and as a faculty member. It’s been a joy to give back to these doctoral students that are now coming through the process.”
Dr. Michael Wesson, Chair of the Harbert College Department of Management, considers Adams’ work with the PhD Project a “blessing,” not just for Harbert College’s Management Department, but for all doctoral students he has mentored.
“Garry is the consummate professional and this PhD Trailblazer Award recognizes both the longevity and results of the hard work he has put into helping minority doctoral students get into PhD programs, be successful, and move forward with their careers in academia,” Wesson said. “Personally, I’m super excited for Garry – he is one of the least likely people I know to call attention to himself and he deserves this recognition.”
Adams said, as a doctoral student, the PhD Project “helped me develop and understand what it was like to be an academician, looking at things from more of a minority view.”
“The PhD Project talked about being a minority faculty member and how important that would be, no matter the institution,” said Adams, who has also served as President of the Southern Management Association. “Depending on what your orientation is, a part of what the PhD Project talks about is how important it is to have people in front of the classroom that look like you, and have similar backgrounds. It helps students understand what they can achieve, where they can go, and what they can accomplish. Then from a majority perspective, it helps people understand – ‘all right, you have a minority faculty member here that is interacting and those roles can be accomplished … you could have a high-achieving faculty member of a different status.’”
The PhD Project is certainly developing a Harbert College flavor. Recently, Dr. Randy V. Bradley – who earned an MBA at Harbert in 2001 and PhD in Management Information Technology from Harbert in 2006 – was inducted into the PhD Project Hall of Fame. Bradley is now a professor in Supply Chain Management at the University of Tennessee.
Like Bradley, Adams was mentored within the PhD Project as a student, then served in a leadership/mentorship capacity within the organization as a professional. For him, winning the Trailblazer Award brings the process full circle, making a difference in the lives of students he mentors and teaches in at Harbert College.
“My biggest job is to set students up to be successful post-graduation,” Adams said. “That’s my biggest impact more than anything else … then for them to give back to others like we did.”