Buffalo State University President-elect Dr. Chance Glenn said he’s “excited by the feeling that I get from the community, how it cares about the university, and vice versa.”
Glenn’s appointment as the 10th president of Buffalo State University took place December 5, and he officially starts in his new role July 1, 2024. He recently answered some questions about what drew him to Buffalo State University and how his experience has shaped him as an educator and leader, as well as his vision for Buffalo State.
During your introductory address before the SUNY Board of Trustees, you said, “We have a responsibility to the generation that is coming up, to prepare them to be what is needed to move our society forward.” How does that sentiment influence how you plan to lead Buffalo State University?
It is a recognition of the awesome power we all have as educators, to prepare the next generation for leadership and influence in our world. We have a responsibility to them to do it right. We must provide education, guidance, and mentorship in such a way that they are ready for the present world, but also for the future one. It will be my expectation that all of our faculty, staff, and administrators embrace this notion, and to live it by the things that they say and do.
What are some of the reasons you were attracted to Buffalo State University?
I am excited about the opportunity to do something special here. I was looking for a place where I felt I could make a lasting impact along the way. I am excited by the feeling that I get from the community, how it cares about the university, and vice versa. This together makes this a special place that could contribute to a national discussion on higher education.
How has your vast experience in higher education shaped you as a leader and educator?
I have learned to be patient and to listen. Prior to coming to higher education, as I worked for the government and for private industry, the speed of movement and the dynamics of decision-making were quite different from what I experienced in higher education. I have learned to build consensus and to be collaborative and to share in the benefits that come from success, while taking responsibility when things are not successful. Probably the most important thing a president can do is to be an inspirational leader to the community. It is my hope that I can be that for the Buffalo State community.
You were nominated for a Grammy Award for Gospel in 2000. How long have you been writing and performing songs? What are some other things you like to do outside of work?
I have been singing since I was very young. I grew up in a church that only sang a cappella, so I learned to sing by ear and to harmonize. My whole family sang in one way or another. I began writing music in earnest in the ’90s, as I was part of a church that wanted topical music for each service. I was the primary worship leader, so the music director and I would write songs that fit the pastor’s message. I began to collect a lot of original songs, so I recorded my first album, The Praise Project: First Fruits, in 1999. A fortuitous relationship I formed with the Recording Academy led to the Grammy nomination in 2000, of which I am very proud.
I also am an inventor and scientist of a sort. I co-created the Electronic Alchemy eforge, a special 3D printer. I am currently trying to create a warp drive with our experimental spacetime distortion research.
Interim President Bonita R. Durand, Ph.D., addressed the campus community in November and detailed SUNY’s request for a deficit-reduction plan to eliminate the structural deficit. In what ways do you believe Buffalo State can achieve this?
On the revenue side, since Buffalo State is an enrollment-driven institution, increasing the student rolls through (a) retention efforts, (b) increasing transfer students, (c) increasing graduate students, and (d) providing and communicating scholarship packages to potential students. These are initiatives we want to work hard on. We also want to communicate and show that Buffalo State is an institution that cares about its students from start to finish, and has created a place they can call their home.
On the expense side, we have to look at the appropriate actions to reduce them. Interim President Durand has taken the appropriate steps as a leader to communicate the situation to the community. We will work to craft a plan that will meet our goals and to achieve the budget we desire.
What are your plans before your July 1 start date? When will you be visiting Buffalo State and meeting with various constituencies?
I have already begun working with teams on the campus to develop transition plans. There is a strong and dedicated staff in place that is helping me to do this. Interim President Durand has been wonderful in keeping me abreast of what I need to know in anticipation of my start. I expect to visit the campus a few times before my July 1 start. I hope to meet with and talk to members of the campus community and the greater Buffalo community when this happens. I am truly excited about this great opportunity to serve the university.