Glanzer said effective leadership is all about relationships—an admonition he has borrowed, surprisingly enough for the leader of a college with a pacifist tradition, from a former Army chief of staff.
“You must love those you lead to be an effective leader,” Glanzer said, quoting the words Gen. Eric Shineski spoke upon his retirement. “You can certainly command without that sense of commitment, but you cannot lead without it. And without leadership, command is a hollow experience, a vacuum often filled with mistrust and arrogance.”
Glanzer knows leadership. It was the focus of his doctor of ministry program at Fuller Theological Seminary. In an interview with the Free Press, he identified leadership as one of two key strengths he brings to his new role.
“I learned leadership at George Fox,” Glanzer said, referring to George Fox Evangelical Seminary, Portland, Ore., where he had been serving as dean since 2001 prior to coming to Tabor.
But learning leadership has been more than an academic exercise. During his time at George Fox, Glanzer played a key role in helping transform the school’s direction from decline to growth.
After Glanzer’s remarks and some refreshments, Tabor professor Bill Kostlevy (far right) and fellow faculty members offered Glanzer and wife Peggy some lighthearted “tools” they will need in their new roles. Tabor College photo.
“Tabor doesn’t need fixing,” Glanzer was quick to add. “Larry Nikkel has built the foundation, and my role is to build upon it.”
Glanzer said his only other “real qualification” to be president of Tabor College is that he is “a Tabor person.” He graduated from the college in 1974 with a degree in business administration.
He and wife Peggy saw each of their three children earn degrees there, too.
“I owe a lot to the faculty and staff and coaches here for the impact they’ve had on my family,” he said.
As president, Glanzer hopes to begin paying on that debt.
“One thing I want to do as president is to help create an environment where faculty can thrive,” he said.
Part of that is to enhance faculty salaries, which he called “an embarrassment.” But it goes beyond that.
“A lot goes into that kind of workplace,” he said. “I think that much of it is already here.”
Glanzer said improving salaries, resources and opportunities for faculty will require additional revenue streams.
He sees possibilities, such as identifying a “hot” new major that will attract additional students, further developing the college’s Center for Adult and Graduate Studies in Wichita, and expanding the college’s delivery system to include online courses.
Glanzer said other challenges that drew him to the college were in the areas of technology, globilization, the missional church—all arenas in which he worked during his time at George Fox.
For all those reasons and more, Glanzer sees his call to the presidency—as unexpected as it was—as “a God-arranged thing.”
“My six and a half years at George Fox gave me experience in some of the things Tabor is looking for,” he said.
Prior to starting his career in academia, he said, working nearly a quarter century as a pastor and church planter with the Mennonite Brethren and Evangelical Covenant denominations taught him to love people, hone his communication skills and broaden his connections in the evangelical church.
“I feel like I’ve been prepared for such a time as this,” he said.
That said, Glanzer is quick to add that he has a lot to learn about his new assignment.
“I am a rookie,” he said. “I believe God has prepared me for this new role, but the truth is I’ve never done it before.”
Glanzer said he is “thrilled” that his predecessor has agreed to mentor him over the next several months. In addition, Glanzer has already attended one seminar for new college presidents and is planning to attend more.
Given his inexperience and the fallibility of human nature in general, Glanzer said he knows he will make his share of mistakes along the way. At Friday’s gathering, he asked faculty and staff to be understanding, patient and forgiving.
“I ask you to give me the benefit of the doubt,” he said, “and to speak openly and honestly directly to me. Talking to others about my mistakes will not help correct them.”
Glanzer promised them the same courtesy—and more.
“I want to make Tabor College a place where people love to work and serve and thrive,” he said. “My job is to help you be successful, to help you reach the stars. That’s our starting point.”