Senior Fellows

Michael K. McLendon

Former Dean of the School of Education, Fred and Edith Hale Endowed Professor of Higher Education Policy and Leadership, Baylor University

Download CV | Download Bio | Website


Michael K. McLendon, Ph.D., serves as interim provost and chief academic officer of Baylor University, where he provides oversight and strategic direction for Baylor’s 17,000 students, 1,000 faculty and 12 academic schools and colleges. 

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 Chair and served as a professor of higher education policy and the academic associate dean at SMU’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 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.

He continues to serve as the Fred and Edith Hale Endowed Professor of Higher Education Policy and Leadership. Dr. McLendon is widely published in leading research journals on the topics of governance and management, finance, politics and public policy as these relate to higher education both in the U.S. and internationally. He has been named as one of the nation’s leading university-based academics whose research contributes most substantially to public debates around education. 

A seventh generation Texan, Dr. McLendon earned his Ph.D. in higher education policy from the University of Michigan. His early professional experiences include having worked as a staff member in both the United States Senate and Florida House of Representatives.


  • Ph.D. Higher Education Policy, University of Michigan
  • M.S. Higher Education, Florida State University
  • B.A. Political Science, Baylor University

Publications, Speeches and Presentations

  • McLendon, M.K., D. Tandberg, & N. Hillman. (In press). Financing college opportunity: An analysis of factors influencing state spending on student financial aid and campus appropriations from 1990 to 2012. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.
  • Perna, L.W., M.K. McLendon, & M. Klein. (In Press). State policies and higher education attainment: Insights and implications for state policymakers. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.
  • McLendon, M.K., & Hearn, J.C. (2013). The resurgent interest in performance-based funding for higher education.  Academe.
  • Hearn, J.C., McLendon, M.K., & Lacy, A. (2013).  State-funded “Eminent Scholars” programs: University faculty recruitment as an emerging policy instrument. The Journal of Higher Education, 84(5), 601-639. 
  • McLendon, M.K., C. Mokher, & S.M. Flores. (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. 
  • McLendon, M.K., 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., R. Deaton, & J.C. Hearn. (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.
  • McLendon, M.K., J.C. Hearn, J.C., & R. Deaton.  (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.