Former Leadership Institute AD Jonathan Glenn transitions to athletics


Jonathan Glenn gives a speech at the CommUNITY Peace Service, Jan. 17 in Finch Fieldhouse.

Central Michigan University announced Jonathan Glenn will change positions from assistant director of the Sarah R. Opperman Leadership Institute to Associate Athletics Director/Student Leadership and Development, per a Feb. 10 press release.

“There’s no growth when you’re comfortable,” Glenn said. “When you’re in new environments, when you have to use your leadership in different circles, that’s when growth happens. I know I’m about to grow a lot.”

Glenn said after working with multicultural students in the MAC scholarship and majority-white students in Leadership Safari, he sees the athletics position as an opportunity to work with his “third set of students”.

“To be able to be a part of (student-athletes) stories… oh my gosh,” he said. “I work in higher education for the student experience, it’s just not really about me. This opportunity gives me a chance to serve more student population.”

Glenn will now work directly with student-athletes, coaches, and administrators to oversee leadership and development initiatives including diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts.

“It’s my job to see the hard work that people have already done and to assist to the best of my ability,” he said.

His job includes assisting students with post-graduate planning and overseeing leadership academy – a group of student-athletes from all sports, nominated by their coaches, to be a part of several leadership initiatives created by Glenn and his colleagues.

Glenn said he is especially looking forward to collaborating with student-athlete leaders from the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

Glenn will also serve as the sports administrator for Women’s Basketball, Lacrosse and Wrestling as well as being a member of the executive leadership team.

He said other sports teams like field hockey, volleyball and gymnastics have already reached out to him regarding leadership training for the students and coaches.

Glenn worked in the Leadership Institute since May 2019 where he oversaw budgets for leadership programming like Leadership Safari.

“I know some people feel like it’s a loss,” he said. “At the end of the day, I’m still at CMU. I care about the overarching success of the university… I’m going to do my darndest until I’m done at this university to make sure that every student that I meet has a great experience.”

Glenn's old position at the Leadership Institute remains vacant.

Glenn spent time working as an adjunct professor both at CMU and at Life Christian University. He's also served as the CMU football chaplain and as the assistant director of mentoring and scholarship in the Multicultural Academic Student Services (MASS) office from January 2016 to May 2019.

“I am not where I am today without the three years in the MASS office,” he said. “I do believe I can bring a different voice to our (DEI) approach.”

Glenn obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from CMU in 2006 and earned a Master of Arts degree in History, with a focus on Native American History and New Spain Identity, in 2012. 

He is working towards his Doctorate in Educational Leadership at CMU which plans to finish at the end of 2022.

Glenn said his new title covers tasks that were previously carried out by a now-vacant position – associate athletics director of institutional support services. Formerly held by, Rachel Blunt, the position is still technically open, according to Glenn.

Blunt took a job in her home state at the University of Missouri as the senior associate athletic director for student-athlete development and championship performance, according to a Missouri press release.