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Changes are in the air at Tabor

College president wants to serve Kansas and beyond, prepare students for the future

Staff writer

(Editor’s Note: Information about the college’s centennial celebration with the dedication of Centennial Plaza and a new gathering place for students and Hillsboro residents will be revealed in next week’s newspaper as the interview with President Glanzer continues.)

It is an exciting time at Tabor College.

This is the start of the new school year at Tabor with new president Dr. Jules Glanzer at the helm.

So, what has Glanzer been doing since he arrived on campus in February and his inauguration in May?

Listening. Listening to faculty, constituents, donors, alumni, and community members.

“I’ve been asking them, ‘What would you like to see?’” Glanzer said. “A number of changes will come.”

Glanzer said some of those changes will be revealed at an employees’ meeting later this month.

Providing a Christ-centered college education includes staying ahead of the times.

“We’re preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist,” Glanzer said with a sense of urgency and excitement in his voice. “How students learn these days is different and how our faculty has to teach and prepare them is different.”

Electronic media has changed the world — even in classrooms in rural central Kansas.

“We need to become more efficient in serving Kansas and beyond. We need to consider new programs that are needed,” Glanzer asked.

He continued that the college’s education department is exploring ways to serve rural Kansas with teacher and nurse shortages. Glanzer said there also is a shortage of bank officers in the rural areas. Also in the works is a new social work program.

“Growth needs to come from serving people,” he said.

And growth is what Glanzer is anticipating with the possibility of a record number of freshmen beginning the fall 2008 semester.

While many smaller institutions are showing declining enrollment, Tabor is not.

“Indicators are pointing toward a class of 200,” Glanzer said. He was quick to add that those numbers could fluctuate 10-20 students either direction.

“We won’t know for sure until after freshman orientation the last weekend of August,” he said.

Evening classes will begin Sept. 1 with day classes beginning the next day.

Returning students will notice that two of the dormitories have been remodeled.

Beginning Sept. 1, the college’s new logo officially will be implemented.

Glanzer also knows there will be somewhat of a “reality check” for returning faculty and students, adjusting to a new president and administration, and the changes that come with that.

Relatively young for the position, Glanzer, who is 55, knows his role as college president is changing.

“Students want authentic,” he said. “My predecessor (Larry Nikkel) was that way.”

Glanzer also noted that the organization of the college has changed. Instead of a noticeable hierarchy with the president at the top, Glanzer said communication is important.

“This is not a democracy but we can share the table,” he said.

There is an expectation of transparency and authenticity from the president, Glanzer said, and he intends to provide it.

About President Glanzer

When President Nikkel decided to retire, the Tabor College board of directors spent much time and energy seeking a new president.

The Tabor graduate did not seek the position. The board sought him and considered him to be the ideal candidate.

As a matter of fact, Glanzer accepted the position on his 55th birthday.

Glanzer grew up on a traditional Mennonite Brethren farm near Mitchell, S.D. He married Peggy Todd in 1972. They have three children, Jeremy, Nicole, and Matt. Their three children and their children’s spouses are all Tabor College graduates.

A 1974 business administration graduate of the college, Glanzer received his Master of Divinity in 1978 from Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, and Doctor of Ministry in Leadership and Church Management in 2000 from Fuller Theological Seminary.

Glanzer served as a pastor in the Mennonite Brethren and Evangelical Covenant denominations for nearly 25 years.

Before his acceptance as college president, Glanzer was the dean at George Fox Evangelical Seminar, Portland, Ore.

He was a pastor of Ulysses Mennonite Brethren Church from 1978 to 1982, and was founding pastor of Faith Community (Evangelical Covenant) church in Houston, Texas, from 1987 to 2001.

He also taught religion courses as an associate professor at George Fox Evangelical Seminary, was an adjunct professor at Houston Graduate School of Theology, and presented seminars and lectures in the U.S. and throughout the world, including St. James Bible College in Magadan, Russia.

Last modified Aug. 9, 2008

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