Ashford July 2019 Faculty of the Month: Dr. Pamela Hardy
Editor’s Note: This month we continue our series highlighting faculty favorites based on feedback from Ashford students and alumni.
As a young girl growing up in Des Moines, Iowa, Dr. Pamela Hardy always had a strong desire to care for people.
“I was always trying to invent something,” she recalls. “Like the time I created a ‘product’ called ‘bug-be-gone cream.’ I mixed Vaseline with dirt to keep the mosquitoes from biting me and my friends. All my friends put it on their arms and legs. No mosquito bites!”
Dr. Hardy was curious in nature and at a young age demonstrated an eagerness to learn and discover. But as one of only five black students in her school, her early education was filled with unpleasant experiences stemming from racism, bullying, and an overall lack of support from her teachers. As she matured, she realized it was not school she disliked, but rather those unfortunate experiences.
Motivated rather than deterred, Dr. Hardy remained unflinching in her passion for helping others. She went on to earn four degrees, most recently a PhD in human services with a specialization in management of nonprofits. She has spent more than 30 years working and volunteering in numerous public health positions, including alcohol facilitator and ombudsman for the U.S. Navy, coordinator for the U.S. Department of Labor, and director of the California Black Infant Health Program for the state and county of San Diego, to name a few.
Getting to Know Dr. Hardy
In December 2012, Dr. Hardy joined Ashford University as chair of the Adult Development degree program, promoted to academic department chair, and Program Chair for the Master of Public Health. In these positions, she oversaw the design, implementation, and instruction of numerous courses within the public health and health education programs. Today, she serves as Associate Dean, in the College of Health, Human Services, and Science.
Dr. Hardy currently resides in Wildomar, Calif., with her husband, Melvin, and dog, Quincy. She recently shared several memorable experiences, goals, and interests and provides some additional insight into her philosophies on education and living a life of service.
Dr. Pamela Hardy and her husband, Melvin, at the San Diego Zoo.
Ashford: Can you describe any significant experiences that shaped your approach toward helping and teaching others?
Dr. Hardy: What I endured in school as well as a young military spouse both shaped my life and my philosophy.
In school, I would get in fights because boys would call me racial names. Most of the time, I was ignored. But there was a glimmer of light; one high school teacher was kind, thoughtful, and full of encouragement.
As a military spouse, I was known for helping families stretch their food budget. I clearly understand some of the struggles our military students face. I have learned to adapt to change very easily.
Whether it is military families, pregnant teens, foster youth, or students, I have always been one to help others, especially the less fortunate. Each person in this profession has the ability to change lives. Gandhi said, ‘Be the change that you wish to see in the world.’ It starts with each of us doing our part, one person at a time. I have always loved being the advocate, the voice for the voiceless, and having faith for others when their faith for the moment has dipped.
Dr. Pamela Hardy (second from left) after being honored as a recipient of a Favorite Faculty Award.
Ashford: You hold several degrees from both traditional and online universities. Are there any obstacles you experienced as an online student that you keep in mind as an instructor?
Dr. Hardy: Some of the obstacles I initially encountered were not being able to immediately get a response from my professor, not being able to see body language and hear voice inflections, having things explained differently, and not having the opportunity to go to office hours.
I enter the classroom two to three times a day to ensure my students have what they need. I want to make my presence known. I clearly understand that we all do not learn the same way; therefore, I will speak to students on the phone, create Zoom meetings, and repeat a concept as many times as necessary. I also provide encouraging words and pay attention to my word choice when providing feedback.
Dr. Pamela Hardy celebrates with her three grown children.
Ashford: Who is someone in your life that inspires you the most and why?
Dr. Hardy: My mother. She taught us to be respectful and thoughtful. My children, friends, and colleagues have all heard me state her little pieces of wisdom.
After an appearance on "Good Morning America," Dr. Pamela Hardy poses for a photo with anchor Robin Robinson.
Ashford: What public figure has inspired you the most?
Dr. Hardy: Maya Angelou, like my mother when they both were alive, endowed our lives with wisdom and insight.
Dr. Pamela Hardy (left) has a "need for speed!" and enjoys activities such as driving a race car or motorcycle, flying a plane, and riding on roller coasters.
Ashford: What is on your bucket list for the next five years?
Dr. Hardy: Traveling everywhere. The pros of the military life have been that we have seen the world, but not all of it yet.
Dr. Pamela Hardy (left) participates in a 3-days 60 miles event for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
Ashford: You have an impressive volunteer resume. Can you list some organizations you’ve worked with?
Dr. Hardy: I have volunteered with The ROCK Church Temecula Valley, San Diego Police Department, Navy Ombudsman, NAACP Veterans Dinner, New Seasons Block Party, Toys for Joy, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, and the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
Dr. Pamela Hardy (far right) on her first cruise in 1995, Sailing the Seas Sigma Gamma Sorority, Inc.
Ashford: Is there anything else you'd like readers to know?
Dr. Hardy: Life is short. It is time to live your best life! I will share something I learned when I went on a women’s retreat, called Sisters Jammin in Jamaica. An author there named Debrena Jackson Gandy emphasized that you should not allow negative people in your life to ride in the front seat of your vehicle. Instead, buy them a ticket for public transportation. It does not mean you do not love or care for people; [you can] love them from afar.
Written by Ashford University staff