Professor Kent Glenzer: Practical Lessons from the Trenches of Social Change
October 3, 2012
"One of the things I love most about MIIS students is their extreme hunger for practical advice," says Kent Glenzer, associate professor of organizational behavior and development. Despite impressive academic credentials such as a Ph.D. and an Ivy League degree, until he got the call from the Monterey Institute last year, Kent had not seen himself as an academic.
A self-described "organizational geek," Kent has spent the last 23 years "working in the trenches of social change" for organizations such as the Peace Corps, PATH, CARE and Oxfam America. He is continually fascinated by the inner workings of organizations in the business of doing good—of promoting social change. He knows firsthand all about the business of running a non-profit organization in developing countries, measuring impact and facilitating organizational decision processes.
As a restless 19-year-old journalism major at Northwestern University, Kent decided to take a year off and do some traveling. He visited Carl Petry, a favorite professor and specialist in Middle Eastern history who was in Egypt for a sabbatical. "There was something about it, I just knew that I wanted to be there," says Kent of his month in Egypt, using the word "there" to mean developing countries, Africa and Islamic culture.
Kent is really a "jack-of-all-trades" in his field, with extensive experience working on different strategic levels of development organizations in 21 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. He is not your typical university professor, but he is the ideal match for the Monterey Institute and its "goal-oriented and proactive students," eager to absorb as much practical advice as they can before heading off to discover their own trenches. Today, he teaches classes in both the Master of Public Administration and International MBA programs.
Watch Kent tell a short story about a memorable experience serving in the Peace Corps in Mali.