Morela Hernandez adds leadership and diversity expertise to Ford School faculty

February 18, 2021

Earlier today, the University of Michigan Regents approved the appointment of Morela Hernandez as professor of public policy with tenure at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, effective August 31, 2021. She will also hold a collegiate chair and an appointment at U-M’s Ross School of Business. Most recently Hernandez was the Donald and Lauren Morel associate professor of business administration in the Leadership and Organizational Behavior area of the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.  

Hernandez is an organizational psychologist doing important work at the intersection of leadership and diversity. She is an internationally recognized scholar with deep expertise in applying behavioral science insights to design and improve organizational systems and decision-making practices.  

Ford School Dean Michael S. Barr said, “Professor Hernandez uses creative and rigorous analysis based in behavioral science to shed light on leadership best practices. Her expertise will expand how we develop the next generation of diverse leaders grounded in public service, and provide them with the tools to influence others to advance the public good.” 

Hernandez will teach courses on leadership and diversity, and become the faculty director of the Ford School’s Leadership Initiative. The Leadership Initiative distinguishes itself by integrating critical leadership skills into core competencies and coursework, as well as providing opportunities for assessments and coaching for all graduate students. Developing these skills allow graduates to understand leadership styles of themselves and others, build effective teams, communicate across differences, and more effectively envision and navigate change. 

Professor Hernandez said, “I feel called to serve where I can do the most good. At this moment in our country’s history, that place is the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy to train the next generation of public sector and government leaders. I look forward to working closely with Dean Barr and the entire Ford School faculty and staff to redefine leadership education in public policy and heighten our students’ abilities to create positive change in the world.”

Hernandez is widely published in a number of top-tier academic journals, including Academy of Management Review, Journal of Applied Psychology, Personnel Psychology, and Psychological Science. Her work has also appeared in media outlets such as Time magazine, the New York Times, MIT Sloan Management Review, and the Washington Post, as well as featured on National Public Radio. She is on a number of editorial boards including Academy of Management Journal and Journal of Applied Psychology, and serves as Associate Editor for Academy of Management Review. Hernandez has worked as a leadership development coach for senior-level executives, and consults with a number of government agencies, social profit organizations, and global companies on topics related to diversity and inclusion as well as large-scale organizational change.

At the University of Virginia, Hernandez was the academic director of behavioral research at Darden (BRAD Lab), an interdisciplinary lab that applies behavioral science to business and society, and the co-founder of the pan-university Convergent Behavioral Science Initiative (CBSI), which uses cross-disciplinary research to impact energy systems, diversity, and well-being.