Michael McLendon, dean of Baylor's School of Education since July 2015, will become the interim provost on July 1, according to the university. 

Staff photo — Rod Aydelotte, file

New Baylor University President Linda Livingstone made her first major administrative announcement Tuesday, selecting an education policy academic as interim provost.

Michael McLendon, dean of Baylor’s School of Education since July 2015, will become the interim provost July 1, replacing the outgoing provost who served in the role for only 13 months, according to the university.

L. Gregory Jones announced his resignation from the post June 12. A former administrator at Duke Divinity School, Jones will return to a Duke University faculty position.

Jones was also executive vice president of Baylor. That designation “will remain open during the interim period as Dr. Livingstone evaluates the university’s organizational structure,” Baylor spokesman Jason Cook said.

McLendon, who also holds an endowed professorship in higher education leadership and policy, advises lawmakers and national and state organizations on issues of governance and education, such as college costs and institutional effectiveness.

“We are blessed to have such a noted higher education scholar on the Baylor campus who can immediately step in and serve the university as interim provost during this important time of transition,” Livingstone said in a statement. “Dr. McLendon fully understands the role of the provost, as his scholarly work has focused extensively on postsecondary governance, finance and policy. His knowledge of and familiarity with Baylor, as an undergraduate and dean, are certainly an added benefit.”

McLendon earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Baylor, a master’s degree in higher education from Florida State University and a doctorate in higher education policy from the University of Michigan. He has held chairs, deanships and professorships at the education departments at Southern Methodist University and Vanderbilt University.

Livingstone will continue conducting listening sessions with Baylor faculty and administrators to develop the profile for the next permanent provost, and a Baylor search committee and external search firm will start a national search in the fall, according to a Baylor press release.

An interim dean for Baylor’s School of Education will soon be named, the press release states.

“I am thrilled and humbled by President Livingstone’s invitation to serve as interim provost at this time of new beginnings in the life of the university we cherish,” McLendon said in the press release.

“My experience as an undergraduate at Baylor transformed my life, putting my feet on a path toward the study of and service to universities. Some 30 years later, I’m honored to partner with President Livingstone and her senior leadership team in cultivating an environment at Baylor that supports our continued progress toward being a top-tier research institution and one that promotes academic excellence and faith development at the highest levels.”

Phillip has covered higher education for the Tribune-Herald since November 2015.

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