Dr. McLendon earned his B.A. in political science from Baylor in 1991, returning in 2015 as dean of the School of Education. Prior to his return, he 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, whose faculty he joined in 2012. Previously, Dr. McLendon was the executive associate dean and chief of staff and also the associate dean for undergraduate academic affairs at Vanderbilt University's Peabody College of Education and Human Development, on whose faculty he served for 13 years as a professor of public policy and higher education.
In addition to his role as interim provost, Dr. McLendon continues to serve as the Fred and Edith Hale Endowed Professor of Higher Education Policy and Leadership. He is widely published in leading research journals on the topics of governance, finance, politics and public policy for higher education both in the U.S. and internationally. Much of his multidisciplinary scholarship seeks to predict or explain the policy adoptive behavior of state governments in the arena of higher education. His scholarship also addresses both the antecedents and impacts of college costs and pricing, new policies and practices promoting market-based approaches in higher education, performance-based accountability systems, campus and systemwide governance and partisanship and electoral changes in statehouses. A particular strand of research has examined the implications of state and institutional policies for the educational success of Latino/Hispanic populations.
Dr. McLendon has been named as one of the nation's leading university-based academics whose research contributes most substantially to public debates around education. He has advised governors, legislatures and national and state policy organizations on issues ranging from college affordability and student success to ways of improving campus governance and leadership and of enhancing financial sustainability. In addition to serving as a senior fellow at several university-based centers and research institutes for the study of politics, international affairs and higher education, he consults with governments and universities internationally. His recent work, primarily focused in Mexico and Latin America, Southeastern Europe and Central Asia, has addressed regional needs in the areas of human capital formation, effective university governance and strategies for improved performance of postsecondary education systems.
Dr. McLendon continues to teach undergraduate and graduate courses on American public policy, education politics and policy, college and university governance, finance of higher education and leadership, and regularly guest lectures at Baylor and at other universities. 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 and a M.S. in higher education from Florida State 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, Kathy Coleman McLendon, a Baylor Business School graduate, are parents to three energetic children, who attend area public schools.