Associate Professor Kent Glenzer was appointed dean of the Graduate School of International Policy and Management in January 2015. Glenzer serves as the academic leader overseeing the school’s degree programs in Business Administration (MBA), International Education Management, International Environmental Policy, International Policy and Development, Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies, and Public Administration (MPA), as well as a variety of related non-degree programs. In this role, he also serves as a member of the Institute’s senior leadership team.
What I am most passionate about: I’m most passionate about transforming higher education so as to better prepare young professionals to work on complex, wicked problems. This requires us to rethink and reinvent relationships between public, private, and nonprofit enterprises to connect disciplinary silos and expertise in new ways, and adopt transformative andragogical approaches in our programs. What the world doesn’t need is more competent, obedient, rule-following technocrats. What it does need is feral professionals who can transform systems and reconfigure long-standing relationships of power.
What excites me about being a professor at MIIS: I spent 25 years working with nonprofit agencies focused on international development before coming to MIIS. I came to MIIS because I wanted to help students avoid the mistakes my generational colleagues and I made. I wanted to do so in a post-graduate institute that put high value on practical tools, approaches, and both personal and team strategies. I looked for a place with a commitment to praxis and interdisciplinarity. And I found MIIS, which satisfied all these standards. I get very excited when, in working with graduate students here at MIIS, we find ways to connect with external clients, deliver high value for money, and so enhance a program, a project, a strategy, or an organization.
I have extensive work and research experience in sub-Saharan Africa, having lived there for 13 years and focused on it as both an external and internal consultant to NGOs and public sector agencies for 10 more years. I have a strong background, both practically and academically, in civil society, social movements, and policy advocacy. I specialize in organizations, organizational development, organizational behavior and culture, institutional and organizational fields, and organizational evolution and learning processes.
All my work and thinking centralizes on the power dynamics, inequalities, and identity politics that surround and constitute development processes, programs, policies, and strategies.
- Co-editor and chapter contributor in the forthcoming Action Research Handbook (3rd edition).
- Appointed to Editorial Board of the Action Research Journal.
- Led the formative evaluation of Save the Children’s $5 million program devoted to global knowledge sharing and building robust communities of practice related to food security programming.
- Consulted with Geneva Global on a long-term program to build the civil society sector in western China. This work is ongoing.
- Consulted with the Ford Foundation in China – and NGO partners there – on a strategic monitoring, evaluation, and learning system for the country office.
- Contributed a chapter to a book on understanding culture and cultural change for the Army Research Institute, a book targeted at army officers, as well as being lead expert for a training module for army staff on using appreciative inquiry to advise host country staff on organizational development and change.
- Authored Oxfam America’s Rights-Oriented Programming for Effectiveness and Oxfam International’s Program Principles, which both served to strategically frame the organization’s long-term and rights-based approaches to development and social change.
- Oversaw a three-year, multi-level portfolio assessment of CARE’s work on women’s empowerment and oversaw the massaging of evaluation results into organizational practice.
Prior to accepting an appointment at MIIS, I worked for Oxfam America for four years, CARE USA for 12 years, during which time I had the opportunity to live and work in Mali for nearly seven years, Mozambique for four years, and Ethiopia for more than two years. My consulting has taken me to more than 30 countries in Africa, south and east Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean. I’ve also worked with the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health and I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali.
- Bachelor in Journalism, Northwestern University, 1983
- Masters in Communication, Cornell University, 1990
- Ph.D., Emory University, 2005
Careers in Strategic Planning and Management
Students working with me will be well prepared for consulting on or full-time positions in program/project monitoring and evaluation, strategic planning, project and program management, and facilitating organizational change processes. You might find yourself in the human resources department of a large international NGO, as a learning or staff/management development specialist. You might find yourself the manager of a civil society strengthening project in sub-Saharan Africa financed by a philanthropic foundation. You might find yourself part of a team contracted to evaluate a program or project of Oxfam or CARE.
- “Introduction.” Co-authored with Svante Lifvergren. Analytical synthesis for the “Exemplars” section of The Handbook of Action Research, 3rd edition, forthcoming, 2015.
- “Insurgent inquiry: Connecting action research, impact evaluation, and global strategy in a rights-based international development NGO.” Co-authored with Elisa Martinez and Michael Drinkwater. Forthcoming in The Handbook of Action Research, 3rd edition, 2015.
- “Using Appreciate Inquiry in Organizational Development.” Video module for use by U.S. Army for training of in-country advisors. Produced by eCrossCulture, 2013.
- “Chutes, Ladders, and Sticky Institutions: Understanding Social Change in Sub-Saharan Africa,” in Beret E. Strong, LisaRe Brooks, Michelle Ramsden Zbylut, and Linda Roan eds., Sociocultural Systems: The Next Step in Army Cultural Capability, 2013.
- "Addressing Root Causes of Economic and Social Injustice: Considerations of Concept, Strategy, and Measurement from Oxfam America’s Rights-Based Programs.” In Building Sustainable Communities Through Multi-Party Collaboration. New York: Interfaith Council on Corporate Responsibility, 2011. Pp. 29-34.
- “La Sécheresse: The Social and Institutional Construction of a Development Problem in the Malian (Soudanese) Sahel, c.1900-1982.” Canadian Journal of African Studies 36, 1 (2002): 1-34.
- "Leading learning and change from the middle: Re-conceptualizing strategy’s purpose, content and measures.” Co-authored with Colin Beckwith and Alan Fowler. Development in Practice 12, 3-4 (August 2001): 409-423.
- “State, Donor and NGO Configurations in Malian Development 1960-1999: The Enactment and Contestation of Global Rationalized Myths in an Organizational Field.” In Globalization, the Third World State and Poverty-Alleviation in the Twenty-First Century, ed. Ikubolajeh Logan, Aldershot, England: Ashgate Publishing, 2001. Pp. 161-180.
Courses offered in the past four years.
▲ indicates offered in the current term
▹ indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]
DPPG8549 - Social Asset Mapping: MRY
Social Asset Mapping: Monterey
MIIS and CSUMB are partnering on a contract with the City Council of Monterey. The contract calls for CSUMB to conduct a hard asset mapping of the city, and MIIS to undertake a social asset mapping. Together, the two products will serve to inform the city’s next strategic plan. In this course, students will learn the discipline of social asset mapping, and undertake primary research with Monterey community members, organizations, and leaders. Students will produce a report and be required to present results in front of City Council members.
Fall 2016 - MIIS
MBAG8501 / DPPG9501 - Leadership Across Borders
International Organizational Behavior focuses on organizational culture and how it enables – or sometimes hinders – bottomline results in international contexts. We will look at bottomline results across public, for profit, and nonprofit worlds. This course, at its heart, is about the people side of the enterprise.
Themes covered include diagnosing and changing organizational culture, managing and motivating individuals, leading and working in teams, leading organizational change, development, and transformation, and new organizational forms/structures emerging in response to complex business and social challenges. The relentless focus of the course is on practical strategies, frameworks, and analytical tools that managers and leaders deploy to improve business performance in international organizations.
This course seeks to challenge assumptions about what organizations are, broaden understandings of effectiveness, and expand analytical repertoires and management skills. Competencies for effective teamwork suffuse the syllabus, as do those related to changing and improving organizational performance through people.
Fall 2015 - MIIS, Spring 2016 - MIIS, Fall 2016 - MIIS
MBAG8511 / DPPG9511 - Leadership Across Borders II ▹
“Complex social problems are beyond the capacity of any single organization – or sector -- to solve. This case-based course looks at different ways of structuring, managing, and leading inter-organizational collaboration. First, we theorize power itself. Second, we build a sophisticated understanding of debates regarding how structural social change actually happens…vs. how we may wish it happens. Third, we challenge our implicit mental models of what an “organization” even is. Then, we look at specific, real-world cases – relative success stories -- where relations and structures of power have been de- and re-institutionalized. The goal is to understand what managers, leaders, and activists can actually do, pragmatically, to foster such social, political, and cultural change. Central to the course is looking at organizations themselves as social and cultural constructions, as sites where larger political struggles over power get enacted. In other words: the course will de-romanticize “NGOs” or “Social Enterprises” and unpack them as instantiations of extant power relations and forms of structural inequality rather than heroic actors somehow immune from such things. Our goal in this course is not to identify which kind of collective effort is uniformly best – students seeking black-and-white certainty and infallible “tools” will be very disappointed. Rather, our aim is to understand the strengths, weaknesses, limits, and opportunities of different approaches to collective action, depending on program goals and the operating context. Students will leave the course armed with broad strategies, approaches, tactics, and historical, comparative knowledge about what has worked, in what contexts…and the understanding that when it comes to shifting power relations in sustained ways…the next challenge demands creative thinking, not application of past “best practice.”
Spring 2017 - MIIS