The Institute for Global Leadership (IGL) two weeks ago announced the appointment of Michael Peznola as its executive director, a new position. As the first executive director of the IGL, Peznola will focus on handling administrative tasks associated with the institute and the more than 20 programs under the IGL umbrella.
“My goals are to sustain the processes that are good and improve the processes that need improvement, so that all of the bureaucracy becomes transparent to the students so that they have a top-notch experience,” Peznola said. “Not only in the education part, but in all of the other things that support their endeavors.”
Peznola joins the IGL’s staff after 30 years in the United States Marine Corps, and more recently in the Special Operations division. He worked as assistant chief of staff to James Stavridis, who is now dean of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, in U.S. European Command.
“[In that work], I gained an appreciation for managing staff, working budgets, working tasks — really getting things going forward,” he said.
Peznola said those managerial skills and his interest in education brought him to Tufts. He has instructed a number of lieutenants and officers, in addition to developing specific skills courses for Special Operations.
“You look at what we do [at the IGL] and all of the different programs — many different lines of efforts, so to speak,” he added. “I think I’m here to help take it to the next level — in terms of getting that stuff taken care of, so that the most important thing — the education of students — is brought to a higher level.”
According to Provost and Senior Vice President David Harris, the decision was made after long-term deliberation.
“The decision to hire an executive director with responsibility for all administrative aspects of IGL has been in the works for some time,” he told the Daily in an email. “It has been suggested by IGL staff, members of my staff, the IGL Advisory Board and a recent external review. I decided to create the position over the summer.”
IGL Founding Director Sherman Teichman, along with Associate Director Heather Barry, also spoke to the institute’s pressing need for the new staff member in this month’s NEXUS, the IGL’s newsletter.
“He will assume responsibility for all administrative and financial matters for the institute,” the newsletter states. “We have long needed and hoped for such a person and position to buttress our efforts as we grow and mature as an institute.”
Teichman said he will continue, as founding director, to focus on the strategic direction of the institute, and he is in charge of all of the IGL’s programmatic funding, overseeing both fundraising and grants. While Peznola handles the administrative and financial affairs, Teichman and the IGL staff will be able to more effectively pursue the IGL’s intellectual mission.
“Such an IGL ‘addition to force,’ will certainly enhance our efforts, and free us to further pursue our strategic objectives as an innovative incubator and as a crucible for transformative, immersive, multidisciplinary education,” the newsletter states.
Peznola was hired after a targeted search to fill the position, Harris said. According to Peznola, the university had his resume on file and he was contacted over the summer.
“[Peznola] has a wealth of substantive and administrative experience that will enhance IGL and Tufts,” Harris said. “I am confident that his contributions will allow IGL to have an even more positive impact on a greater number of Tufts students.”
Peznola has already sat in on several Education for Public Inquiry and International Citizenship (EPIIC) classes, met with student groups like the Alliance Linking Leaders in Education and the Services (ALLIES) and spoken with students individually.
“[It’s about] creating, maintaining and improving a quality education environment for the students,” he said.