As the new graduate assistant with the Graduate School of International Policy and Management (GSIPM) office, I had the opportunity to sit down with Associate Professor Kent Glenzer and talk about his new position as dean of GSIPM. He will be replacing Yuwei Shi for an 18 month term as GSIPM Dean.
First things first however, Kent Glenzer prefers that students do not call him Professor, Sir, Dr. Glenzer, Mr. Glenzer, His Majesty, Your Highness, or anything other than just Kent, his first name. Being called by his first name is one of the reasons why MIIS is different than other graduate schools. “We maintain personal relationships between professors and students,” and the new dean wants students to know that Kent is his preferred call sign. So please call him Kent, even if you feel awkward doing it!
2015 will bring new challenges and priorities for MIIS. I asked Kent what are his top priorities to tackle as new dean. Recently MIIS transformed three programs, which included the Masters of Business Administration (MBA), the Development Practice and Policy (DPP), and the new MA in International Trade and Economic Diplomacy (ITED). Kent is eager to get the word out on these programs. He wants to focus on marketing and making sure the general public knows about some of MIIS’s unique graduate degrees. He firmly believes that the programs will set MIIS apart because they embody the challenges of the 21st century. Kent is also no stranger in advocating an improved faculty development and evaluation program. This is another one of his top priorities. He wants to install a new system that better incentivizes and rewards faculty excellence in teaching, research, and publication. A final priority for Kent is promoting innovative pedagogies which generate transformational learning. For Kent, this is an example of how good strategy should entail building on existing strengths.
I was fortunate to take Kent’s classes on International Organizational Behavior last semester. It was by far my favorite class at MIIS so far. As dean, Kent will not be able to teach classes. I wanted to know if he was going to miss his time in the classroom. He mentioned that he actively pursued the dean position because “I truly missed managing people.” In the workplace he was known as a good manager and people performed well with him. He felt that he had the skills to address some of the challenges that MIIS will face in the next 18 months. “Honestly, I will really miss interacting with students when I am dean but I am really excited for this new position,” is how Kent summed up his time away from the classroom. However, he will miss teaching International Organizational Behavior, Power/Social Change/and Organizations, as well as Advanced Program Evaluations which promote rich conversations that push students to think outside the box.
I wanted to know how Kent’s background in International Development will influence his time as dean. “I am a jack of all trades, master of none,” is how he summed up his interdisciplinary background in the field. “My focus was not in one single subject, but in many,” Kent believes that the ability to work in an interdisciplinary fashion and with experts of all kinds characterizes professionals who wish to tackle complex problems. All GSPIM programs emphasize interdisciplinary, and Kent sees his role as helping to foster continuous improvement in how we do that.
I asked Kent if he has any major worries or concerns. He landed on one very quickly: the cost of higher education. And he noted that this concern is shared by many among MIIS faculty and administration. While he has no panacea at hand, he is committed to helping move forward discussions about how immersive professional learning – MIIS’s signature pedagogy – can be made more affordable, particularly for low income students.
I wanted to know what really excites Kent about the future of MIIS. He used a term he has coined called “feral professionals” to describe why MIIS is so unique. “Students come out of MIIS 100% competent to do their dream job and once they are inside an organization, they possess the skills and savvy to transform an organization, program, or policy from the inside.” He would love to have MIIS known as a place not just where obedient, competent professionals are nurtured and educated but an institution that incubates smartly disobedient systems changers.
Perhaps one of the biggest negatives about being dean is the decreased amount of time Kent will spend with students, “In the classroom, you really get to know students and learn from them.” Kent wants everyone to know that he has an open door policy and “please text, email, and call me anytime.” No student should feel like they cannot interact with the dean. Feel free to bring up an issue regarding GSIPM and MIIS to him at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also make an appointment through Lauren Patron-Castro, Dean’s Assistant: email@example.com
You can read about Kent’s background here: http://www.miis.edu/academics/faculty/kglenzer
About the author:
Josh Zimmerman is a Graduate Assistant for GSIPM Immersive Learning and Special Programs. At MIIS he is pursuing his MBA and the Terrorism Studies Certificate with a focus on project management. Before coming to MIIS, Josh spent several years in the federal government, military, and private sector. He received his BA in Intelligence and National Security Studies from West Virginia University.