Baylor Provost David Garland Announces Appointment of Dr. Michael McLendon, B.A. '91, as Dean of the School of Education

Michael McLendon
Michael K. McLendon, Ph.D., has been named dean of Baylor's School of Education
March 19, 2015

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WACO, Texas (March 19, 2015) – Following a nine-month national search, Baylor University Provost and Executive Vice President David E. Garland, Ph.D., has announced the appointment of Michael K. McLendon, Ph.D., as dean of Baylor’s School of Education.

Dr. McLendon currently holds the Harold and Annette Simmons Centennial Chair in Higher Education Policy and Leadership at Southern Methodist University (SMU), where he serves as a full professor and the associate dean of SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development. He also holds appointment as a Fellow both with SMU’s John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies and the University of Georgia’s Institute of Higher Education.

Dr. McLendon will begin his service as dean on July 1, succeeding Jon Engelhardt, Ph.D., who is retiring after eight years leading the School of Education.

“We are grateful that our national search for a new dean for Baylor’s School of Education attracted a deep, diverse and robust pool of highly qualified and prominent candidates,” Dr. Garland said. ”But among this stellar group of seasoned academics, it was Dr. Michael McLendon who generated the highest degree of enthusiasm among the search committee. A Baylor graduate, Dr. McLendon’s exceptional academic career includes scholarship at the highest level and leadership at some of the top education schools in the country.

“Baylor’s School of Education is recognized for excellence and Christian influence in developing dynamic educators and educational leaders, and researchers who have increased the effective transmission of knowledge on a global level. As the School of Education’s chief academic and administrative officer, Dr. McLendon will provide tremendous leadership as we seek to enhance these efforts and further raise the national profile of Baylor’s School of Education,” Dr. Garland said.

“As a Baptist, a sixth-generation Texan and a proud Baylor alum, I am honored by the opportunity to return home to Baylor, to help this great university achieve the fullness of its vision, ‘Pro Ecclesia, Pro Texana, Pro Futuris,’” Dr. McLendon said.

Dr. McLendon earned his bachelor’s degree in political science in 1991 from Baylor, where he was president of several student organizations. Following his graduation, he served as an aide to U.S. Sen. David Pryor, in Washington, D.C. From 1992-1994, he worked as a policy analyst on the Higher Education Committee of the Florida House of Representatives, while completing his master’s degree in higher-education studies at Florida State University. In 2000, he earned his Ph.D. in higher education policy from the University of Michigan.

From 1999-2012, Dr. McLendon served as a professor of public policy and higher education at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. While at Vanderbilt, he held the inaugural role of executive associate dean and chief of staff at the Peabody College of Education and Human Development, the nation’s top-ranked college of education. During his 13 years on campus, he oversaw undergraduate education at Peabody, directed the college’s doctoral and masters programs in higher-education studies, led the university’s programs in education policy and chaired the academic policies and affairs committees of the University Senate, in addition to other roles.

Dr. McLendon joined the faculty of Southern Methodist University in 2012 as a professor of higher education policy and leadership and the associate dean for academic affairs at the Simmons School of Education and Human Development. In the Simmons Dean’s office, Dr. McLendon oversees academic affairs and faculty development and leads a variety of strategic initiatives at one of the nation’s fastest growing schools of education.

“Never before in our nation’s history has education mattered as much as it does today,” McLendon said. “Strengthening the educative capacity of our schools and colleges, improving learning for all students, overcoming deep disparities in outcomes that persist across our educational systems and enhancing the effectiveness of our teachers and our educational leaders – all of these efforts are vital both to our civic health and our individual and collective prosperity.”

A prominent scholar and recipient of national research awards, Dr. McLendon has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and presentations on topics pertaining to governance, finance and public policy for higher education. His work has appeared in such leading field journals as The Journal of Higher Education, Research in Higher Education, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Teachers College Record, The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research and Educational Policy. He has served on the editorial boards of several of these journals and is a former elected member of the Board of Directors of the Association for the Study of Higher Education. Dr. McLendon has repeatedly been named as one of the nation’s leading university-based academics whose research contributes most substantially to public debates around education in the United States.

He and his wife, Kathy Coleman McLendon, a 1990 Baylor graduate, have three children, Cole, an eighth grader, Kate, a fourth grader, and Pierce, who is four years old. They live in Dallas and are members of Wilshire Baptist Church.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.


Founded in 1919, the Baylor School of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. The School prepares leaders beginning in undergraduate programs, continuing through master’s-level work and culminating in both Ed.D. and Ph.D. programs; impacts the world as students participate in faculty-guided fieldwork, service learning and community-focused research in local and global contexts; and shapes the future by mentoring the whole person, developing an understanding of theory and practice and encouraging responsiveness to one’s calling.

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