Michael K. McLendon, Ph.D., is the Fred and Edith Hale Endowed Professor of Higher Education Policy and Leadership. From July 2017 to April 2018, he served as Baylor’s interim provost and chief academic officer, providing oversight and strategic direction for Baylor's 17,000 students, 1,000 faculty, 12 academic schools and colleges and numerous centers and institutes. In this role, he led also the formation of the university's first academic strategic plan. Between 2015 and 2017, he served as the tenth Dean of Baylor University’s School of Education.

McLendon has written extensively on governance, finance and public policy for higher education both in the U.S. and internationally. Named as one of the nation's leading academics whose research most contributes to public debates around education, Dr. McLendon advises governors, legislatures and national and state policy organizations on issues ranging from affordability and governance to financial sustainability and college student success.

Before coming to Baylor in 2015, McLendon held the Harold and Annette Simmons Centennial Endowed Chair and served as the academic associate dean at Southern Methodist University’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development. Previously, he was the executive associate dean, undergraduate dean and chief of staff at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development, on whose faculty he served for thirteen years as a professor of public policy and higher education. He is a faculty fellow with the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Georgia and has held appointment as senior fellow with the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies and as director of the Education and Human Capital program at the newly-established Texas-Mexico Center, both of SMU.

McLendon is widely published in the leading research venues of his field, including Educational Evaluation and Policy AnalysisThe Journal of Higher EducationResearch in Higher EducationReview of Higher EducationHigher Education Handbook: Theory and Research, Teachers College Record, Educational Policy and The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. He has received funding for his work from the Kellogg Foundation, The Lumina Foundation, Spencer Foundation and the Association of Governing Boards (AGB) of Universities and Colleges. Additionally, he has served as an associate or a consulting editor for Research in Higher EducationReview of Higher Education and Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research, and is a former elected member of the board of directors of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE).

McLendon has taught undergraduate and graduate courses on American public policy, education politics and policy, college and university governance, finance of higher education and leadership. He received a number of awards while at Vanderbilt University, from 1999-2012, in recognition of outstanding teaching and mentoring at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

A seventh generation Texan, hailing from Corpus Christi, Dr. McLendon earned his Ph.D. in higher education policy from the University of Michigan, a M.S. in higher education from Florida State University and a B.A. in political science from Baylor University. He received Baylor’s Outstanding Young Alumnus Award in 2007. Early in his career he served as an aide to a member of the United States Senate, in Washington, D.C., and as a policy analyst with the Higher Education Committee of the Florida House of Representatives.

He and his wife are parents to three energetic children, who attend area public schools.

Select Publications (6) Showing 5 of 6. Showing 6 of 6. Show All Show Less

The Governor and the State Higher Education Executive Officer: How the Relationship Shapes State Financial Support for Higher Education

Michael K. McLendon, published "The governor and the state higher education executive officer: How the relationship shapes state financial support for higher education" in The Journal of Higher Education, Vol. 18, Issue 1, p. 1-25, 01/14/2017, with co-author(s) Dr. David A. Tandberg, Florida State Universty, and Jacob T. Fowles, University of Kansas.

Conceptualizing State Policy Adoption and Diffusion

Michael K. McLendon, published "Conceptualizing state policy adoption and diffusion" in Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research, Vol. 32, Issue 1, p. 1-42, 2017, with co-author(s) James C. Hearn, University of Georgia, and Kristen C. Linthicum, University of Georgia.

Financing College Opportunity: Factors Influencing State Spending on Student Financial Aid and Campus Appropriations from 1990 to 2012

Michael K. McLendon, published "Financing college opportunity: Factors influencing state spending on student financial aid and campus appropriations from 1990 to 2012" in The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 665, p. 143-162, 08/10/2014, with co-author(s) David A. Tandberg, Florida State University, and Nicholas Hillman, University of Wisconsin.

Understanding Education Policymaking and Policy Change in the American States: Learning from Contemporary Policy Theory

Michael K. McLendon, published "Understanding education policymaking and policy change in the American states: Learning from contemporary policy theory" in Handbook of Education Politics and Policy (2nd. Ed.), p. 86-117, 2014, with co-author(s) Lora Cohen-Vogel, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and Jon Wachen, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

State Policies and Higher Education Attainment: Insights and Implications for State Policymakers

Michael K. McLendon, published "State policies and higher education attainment: Insights and implications for state policymakers", 08/10/2014, with co-author(s) Laura W. Perna, University of Pennsylvania, and Michael W. Klein, New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Unversties.

State Policies and Higher Education Attainment

Michael K McLendon, published "State policies and higher education attainment" in The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 655, p. 6-15, 2014, with co-author(s) Laura W. Perna, University of Pennsylvania.