Transitions Conference

Michael McLendon
Associate Dean
Simmons School of Education and Human Development
Southern Methodist University

  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 Yearbook.

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.