Associate Dean & Professor
Ph.D., University of Michigan
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Dr. Michael K. McLendon is a professor of higher education policy and
leadership and the associate dean at the Simmons School of Education and Human
Development at Southern Methodist University. Prior to his appointment at SMU,
Dr. McLendon served for thirteen years as a professor of public policy and
higher education at Vanderbilt University, where he also held roles as executive
associate dean of Peabody College of Education and as director of several
graduate and undergraduate programs.
Dr. McLendon’s scholarship and teaching focus on governance, finance, and public
policy of higher education. A primary strand of his research involves analysis
of the factors shaping policy change, innovation, and reform for higher
education at both the state and campus levels. Among his recent studies are ones
that examined the determinants of state adoption of new accountability and
financing policies in higher education; the factors associated with changes in
state funding for public colleges and universities; and, the impacts of new
policies and management practices that have aimed to increase the performance of
postsecondary systems and institutions.
The results of these and of other studies have been published in leading
journals of the fields of educational policy and of higher education studies,
including The Journal of Higher Education, Educational Evaluation and
Policy Analysis, Research in Higher Education, Review of Higher
Education, American Journal of Education, Teachers College Record,
Educational Policy, Journal of Education Finance, and Higher
Education: Handbook of Theory of Research.
Much of his research has been supported by foundations and by public
agencies. He has been as a principal investigator and a lead consultant on a
variety of national studies, including ones funded by the Lumina Foundation, the
National Science Foundation, and the Association of Governing Boards of College
and Universities. He also consults with national and state policy organizations,
state boards of higher education, and governors and legislatures.
Dr. McLendon teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on state policy and
politics of higher education, university governance and administration, and
postsecondary education finance. He also has taught seminars and survey courses
on American public policy and on leadership. He is a recipient of a number of
awards from Vanderbilt University in recognition of outstanding teaching.
Actively involved in several professional associations, Dr. McLendon has served
as an elected member of the Board of Directors of the Association for the Study
of Higher Education (ASHE). Additionally, he serves or has served on a number of
editorial boards, including those of Research in Higher Education and Review of
Higher Education. He is a former associate editor of Higher Education: Handbook
of Theory of Research and former co-editor of the Politics of Education
Dr. McLendon earned his Ph.D. in Higher Education Policy from the University of
Michigan, an M.S. in higher education from Florida State University, and a B.A.
in political science from Baylor University. Prior to undertaking doctoral
studies, he served as a policy analyst in the Florida House of Representatives
and as a staff member in the United States Senate, in Washington D.C. In 2007,
he was named a distinguished young alumnus of his undergraduate alma mater.
Mokher, C., & Flores, S.M. (2011). Legislative agenda-setting for in-state
resident tuition policies: Immigration, representation, and educational access.
American Journal of Education, 117(4), 563-602.
Hearn, J.C. & McLendon, M.K. (2011). Governance: Toward new models and methods
for understanding postsecondary governance. In M. Bastedo’s (ed.) Governing the
University. The Johns Hopkins University Press.
McLendon, M.K., & Hearn, J.C. (2010). Openness laws, institutional governance,
and democracy. Politics and access to state information about higher education.
Teacher’s College Record, 112(10), 2649-2663.
Doyle, W., McLendon, M.K., & Hearn, J.C. (2010). Why states adopted prepaid
tuition and college savings programs: An event history analysis. Research in
Higher Education, 51(7).
McLendon, M.K., Mokher, C.G., & Doyle, W. (2009). Privileging public research
universities: The political economy of state appropriations to higher education.
Journal of Education Finance, 34(4), 372-401.
Hearn, J.C., & Mokher, C. (2009). Partisans, professionals, and power: The role
of political factors in state higher education funding. The Journal of Higher
Education, 80(6), 686-713.
McLendon, M.K., Heller, D.E., & Lee, S. (2009). High school to college
transition policies in the states: Conceptual and analytic perspectives on
conducting across-state study. Educational Policy, 23(2), 385-418.
McLendon, M.K., & Mokher, C. (2009). The origins and spread of state policies
privatizing public higher education. In C. Morphew and P. Eckel (Ed.).
Privatization of the public research university. (pp. 24-62). Baltimore, MD: The
Johns Hopkins University Press.
McLendon, M.K., & Hearn, J.C. (2009). Viewing recent U.S. governance reform
whole: “Decentralization” in a distinctive context. In J. Huisman (Ed.).
International perspectives on the governance of higher education. (pp. 161-181).
New York: Routledge.
McLendon, M.K., & Cohen-Vogel, L. (2008). Understanding education policy change
in the American states: Lessons from contemporary political science.
Understanding the Politics of Education: AERA Handbook of Theory and Research.
(pp. 66-112). Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association &
Hearn, J.C., McLendon, M.K., & Mokher, C. (2008). Accounting for student
success: An empirical analysis of the origins and spread of state student
unit-record systems. Research in Higher Education, 50(1), 665-683.
Mokher, C., & McLendon, M.K. (2008). Uniting secondary and postsecondary
education: An event history analysis of state adoption of dual enrollment
policies. American Journal of Education, 115(2), 249-277.
McLendon, M.K., Deaton, R., & Hearn, J.C. (2007). The enactment of state-level
governance reforms for higher education: A test of the political-instability
hypothesis. The Journal of Higher Education, 78(6), 645-675.
Hearn, J.C., & Deaton, R. (2006). Called to account: Analyzing the origins and
spread of state performance-accountability policies for higher education.
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 28(1), 1-24.
McLendon, M.K., & Hearn, J.C. (2006). Mandated openness in higher education: A
field study of sunshine laws and institutional governance. The Journal of Higher
Education, 77(4), 645-683.
McLendon, M.K., & Hearn, J.C. (2006). Mandated openness and higher education
governance: Policy, theoretical, and analytic perspectives. Higher Education:
Handbook of Theory and Research, Vol. XXI (pp. 39-97). New York: Springer.
McLendon, M.K., Heller, D.E., & Young, S. (2005). State postsecondary education
policy innovation: Politics, competition, and the interstate migration of policy
ideas. The Journal of Higher Education, 76(4), 363-400.
McLendon, M. K. (2003). Setting the governmental agenda for state
decentralization of higher education. The Journal of Higher Education, 74(5),
McLendon, M.K. (2003). The politics of higher education: Toward an expanded
research agenda. Educational Policy, 17(1), 165-191.
McLendon, M. K. (2003). State governance reform of higher education: Patterns,
trends, and theories of the public policy process. Higher Education: Handbook of
Theory and Research, Vol. XVIII (pp. 57-144). London: Kluwer.