Associate Professor

Kent Glenzer
McCone Building M114
(831) 647-4149

Kent has extensive work and research experience in sub-Saharan Africa, having spent 28 years prior to coming to the Institute with international NGOs such as Oxfam America, CARE, PATH, and also with Peace Corps. His work, teaching, and research focuses on the intersections of culture, organizational behavior, monitoring and evaluation, decision making, and strategy. He specializes in understanding how power dynamics, identity politics, and structural exclusion influence organizations, public policy, philanthropy, and the relationships between public, private, and nonprofit actors.

Kent Glenzer

Professor, MBA, MPA, and International Policy and Development 
Glenzer learned from one of the best to be an exemplary development professional.

Hi, my name is Kent Glenzer and I'm the Dean of the Graduate School of International Policy and Management here at the Middlebury Institute. And I want to tell a story from my past that shaped my career as a development professional and who I am as a teacher.

It was back in the 80s, I was just out of a Peace Corp and my wife just got got a job back in Mali with USAID. And so the first couple of weeks there, I pounded the pavement for a local hire job. And finally secured a position as executive assistant with Sandy Lomark, the country director of CARE International in Bamako.

Over 18 months, Sandy introduced me to the business of international development. I worked a bit in procurement, in finance, in donor relations, in programming, in communications, even going out to the field to manage sub-offices. As a mentor, Sandy was unyielding in her perfectionism toward me, but also exhibiting a lot of compassion and encouragement.

She invited me to engage with her as an equal and then was very precise and specific at the moments where I wasn't quite up to that task yet. That single relationship made my career, 30 years of working on questions of poverty, social justice, and human rights largely in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Four years ago I changed careers and came to the Institute and I think of Sandy a lot. Because Sandy's job with me, wasn't to replicate herself through me, but to make me a better development professional than she had ever been. That's my job in the classroom here, to make every student that comes into the classroom a better development professional than I ever was.

Courses Taught

Courses offered in the past two years.

  • Current term
  • Upcoming term(s)

Changing Public Policy: Advocacy in Action

How can we change public and/or organizational policies, practices, or procedures? How can civil society actors make effective arguments, forge campaigns and movements, and influence the decisions of powerful actors? How can advocacy help us bend justice’s arc…and what does a policy advocate actually do? What kind of careers and jobs are out there?

Taking a real-time problem-centered approach, this course will build career-ready competencies in three areas: policy advocacy research, policy advocacy strategy, and advocacy implementation. Students will work together in teams of 3-5, and advocate hands-on on an issue of importance here in the City or County of Monterey. Students should be prepared to spend much time out in the community building momentum for the change they seek, forging collaborations and partnerships with others, and meeting with decision-makers. The ethos of the course is action, action, action.

Spring 2019 - MIIS

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Meeting dates: January 28, 2019 – February 15, 2019

This hands-on course focuses on analysis of qualitative data. “Qualitative data”, refers to interview, focus group, written reports and visual records; hundreds of pages of them. Qualitative data sets will be provided, as there is no time in this short course to engage in primary data collection. Our entire focus will be on a) deciding how to interrogate the data (what is it you wish to know, demonstrate, reveal, test?), b) developing code books and coding, c) inter-coder reliability, and d) a wide variety of analytical approaches you can use, once you have qualitative data reduced and organized.

This course emphasizes the importance of learning-through-doing, making mistakes, and collaborative analysis (qualitative inquiry is almost always improved through collaboration). Your final product will be a written analysis that summarizes your findings.

Spring 2019 - MIIS, MIIS Workshop

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Meeting dates: April 22, 2019 - May 10, 2019

This course connects market-driven impacts and successful private enterprise management directly to the world’s most challenging problems. The role and power of markets to impact positively the sustainable development goals (SDGs) is central to the course’s conceptualization. Students acquire and apply – through a dynamic “raw case” methodology -- business competencies to impact global problems that serve also to assure and enhance the long-term viability and sustainability of the enterprise. Morover, the course introduces students to the concept of not just business impact on problems, but of blended impact – the solution power we produce by aligning private sector, public sector, and nonmarket (i.e., the nonprofit sector) efforts—and the skills, competencies, and tools that permit us to do that. The course aims to build a competent foundation in enabling for-profit enterprises to tackle wicked problems, and a course that students leave with clear ideas of additional business competencies they wish to build while here at MIIS. The educational philosophy of the course is founded on adaptive learning, learning-on-demand, and capacity building in learning-to-learn. Adaptive learning also means incorporating cross-disciplinary perspectives, frameworks, and techniques often in compressed time frames. Students should expect similar complexity, ambiguity, uncertainty, and volatility throughout the raw-case study as dealing with a tough business problem in real life.

Spring 2019 - MIIS, MIIS Workshop

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Complex social problems are beyond the capacity of any single organization – or sector -- to solve. Their sheer intractability suggests that we need new ways of both understanding the problems themselves and imagining solutions. This comparative case-based course – the course will consist of a series of inquiries into actual cases and elicitation of concrete practical lessons from those cases -- looks at different ways of structuring, managing, and leading collaborations between public, private, nonprofit, faith-based, and social movement actors to make a positive, large, and lasting impact on intractable and pressing global challenges: gender inequity, food and livelihood insecurity, structural poverty, climate change and adaptation, inter-generational inequity, inequitable access to health care, predatory capitalism and economic inequality. Learners will master tools and approaches for power, institutional, and hegemonic analysis; learners will acquire knowledge about the actions needed to bring together odd bedfellows, organizations that do not normally work together and face deep institutional and cultural constraints to doing so. The course will challenge learners to build a sophisticated understanding regarding how structural social change actually happens…vs. how we may wish it happens. 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.”

NOTE: Students who have already taken MBAG8511, “Leading Across Borders II,” will find some duplication of content and learning objectives and should contact the professor prior to registering for the course.

Fall 2018 - MIIS

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Advanced Program Evaluation Practicum

This course is entirely practical field work. It is for professionals who have determined that their career trajectory will include a substantial focus on monitoring and evaluation. The prerequisite for this course is DPMI, DPPG 8644, significant work experience in program evaluation outside of MIIS, or a graduate level course in program evaluation from another university. It is a 4 credit course.

Every student in the course must arrive on the first day with a client organization for which the student will do an evaluation. The evaluation can be of many different kinds, but imperative is that the student be able to design, implement, and report findings to the client within 15 weeks. Students can form teams to work with the same client. Students can also work solo.

The professor will serve as coach, mentor, guide, and consultant to students, and learning trajectories will therefore be unique for each student/student team. Readings, classroom exercises, and required deliverables will be different for different student teams.

The course can satisfy the DPP requirement for a SEMINAR; or, an Evaluation Course; or, Practicum (for second year students); or, elective. May not satisfy more than one of these basket requirements.

Fall 2018 - MIIS

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Leadership Across Borders is intended to develop each student’s personal and leadership effectiveness as it relates to leading self (understanding the practical importance of self-awareness, leveraging strengths, and addressing areas for growth), leading others (appreciating differences, understanding diversity, inspiring and engaging others, and empowering others to do their best thinking and problem-solving), leading teams (facilitating successful outcomes in teams), and leading the organization (with a focus on organizational strategy and culture). This course is designed as a leadership experience by providing a learning environment that is interactive, engaging, and provides opportunities to practice critical leadership and interaction skills. This course, at its heart, is about the people side of the enterprise.

We will explore key leadership competencies and organizational dynamics that are critical for the success of any organization, regardless of industry and whether it be small not-for-profits, start-ups, or medium to large companies. We will explore the challenges and leadership implications of working across borders and embracing diversity. Given that the success of most organizations across the globe is dependent upon leveraging people’s capabilities and collaborating within and across teams, this course will provide numerous opportunities to put these principles into practice. Students will also have the opportunity to explore leadership “presence” by practicing their presentation skills in an intensive day-long workshop.

By the end of this course, students will be ready to:

1. Act as a force for positive change inside any organization and be able to adapt personal strategies in diverse business, social, and market contexts (PLO 7)

3. Integrate into and/or lead multi-cultural teams (PLO 6)

4. Choose from a range of styles to effectively manage relationships with coworkers, bosses, and direct reports (PLO 6)

5. Articulate solutions to business problems orally in a persuasive manner

Fall 2018 - MIIS, MIIS Workshop

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Areas of Interest

I’m 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.

Academic Degrees

  • PhD, Emory University, 2005
  • MA in Communication, Cornell University, 1990
  • BA in Journalism, Northwestern University, 1983

Professor Glenzer has been teaching at the Institute since 2011.


  • 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.