New Deans

New deans join the ranks of Baylor's academic leadership

February 1, 2024

School of Education

Dr. Michael K. McLendon

Dr. Michael K. McLendon, BA '91, will begin serving as dean of Baylor's School of Education on July 1. McLendon holds The Harold and Annette Simmons Centennial Chair in Higher Education Policy and Leadership at Southern Methodist University (SMU), where he serves as a full professor and the associate dean of the Simmons School of Education and Human Development. He also is a Fellow with both SMU's John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies and the University of Georgia's Institute of Higher Education. McLendon succeeds Dr. Jon Engelhardt, who is retiring after eight years leading the School of Education.

McLendon served as an aide to U.S. Sen. David Pryor in Washington, D.C. From 1992-94, he worked as a policy analyst on the Higher Education Committee of the Florida House of Representatives. In addition to his BA from Baylor, he holds degrees from Florida State University and the University of Michigan.

From 1999-2012, McLendon served as a professor of public policy and higher education at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. While at Vanderbilt, he was executive associate dean and chief of staff at the Peabody College of Education and Human Development, the nation's top-ranked college of education. A prominent scholar and recipient of national research awards, McLendon has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and presentations.

He has served on the editorial boards of several leading academic journals and is a former elected member of the board of directors of the Association for the Study of Higher Education. McLendon has repeatedly been named as one of the nation’s leading university-based academics whose research contributes most substantially to public debates around education in the U.S.

He and his wife, Kathy (Coleman) McLendon, BBA '90, have three children: Cole, Kate, and Pierce. They are members of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas.

School of Music

Dr. Gary Mortenson

Beginning July 1, Dr. Gary Mortenson will be the new dean of the School of Music at Baylor. Mortenson is director of the School of Music, Theatre and Dance at Kansas State University, where he is professor of trumpet. The International Trumpet Guild named him as recipient of the organization's Award of Merit at its 2014 conference. He will be presented with the Presidential Award for Outstanding Department Head at Kansas State University in May.

He will succeed Dr. William V. May, BMEd '69, who retired as dean in July 2014 before returning to the faculty as a professor of music. Dr. Timothy McKinney, professor of music theory, has served as interim dean of the School of Music since August 2014.

Mortenson holds degrees from Augustana College, Ithaca College and the University of Texas.

Since the founding of Kansas State's School of Music, Theatre and Dance in 2012, Mortenson has worked with the faculty and with friends and supporters of Kansas State to renovate Kirmser Hall, address infrastructure needs in the Mark A. Chapman Theatre, gain All-Steinway recognition for Kansas State and to realize the construction and opening of the new Purple Masque Theatre on the west side of Memorial Stadium. He also worked to increase support for both faculty development and student scholarships through the Kansas State University Foundation.

Mortenson served as the International Trumpet Guild publications editor and as a member of the guild's board of directors from 2001-2013. His research has been published in a multitude of professional journals and publications.

Mortenson and his wife, Kristin, have two children: Leah and Sarah. The family attends services at Grace Episcopal Cathedral in Topeka.

George W. Truett Theological Seminary

Dr. Todd D. Still

Dr. Todd D. Still, BA '88, a professor of Christian Scriptures and The William M. Hinson Professor of Christian Scriptures at Truett Seminary, began serving as the fifth dean of Baylor’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary in April.

Still succeeded Dr. David E. Garland, who will return to full-time teaching after eight years as dean of the seminary.

As a well-known New Testament scholar, Still also will bring visionary leadership that fosters the highest levels of research, teaching and mentoring in a school committed to the formation of future ministry leaders.

Before coming to Truett in 2003, Still taught at Dallas Baptist University and at Gardner-Webb University's School of Divinity in Boiling Springs, N.C., where he held The Bob D. Shepherd Chair of New Testament Interpretation.

In addition to his BA in Greek and sociology from Baylor, he holds an MDiv in biblical languages from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a PhD from the University of Glasgow, Scotland. Still completed additional graduate study at Cambridge University and the University of St. Andrews. He also served as an Honorary University Fellow at the University of Exeter in England.

A licensed and ordained Baptist minister, he has served in a variety of ministry capacities. Still is the author of numerous books, articles, reviews and Bible study materials. Presently, he is interim preacher at First Baptist Church of Midland, Texas.

Still has served three terms as Faculty Regent on the Baylor Board of Regents and as chair of the Baylor Faculty Senate from 2012-13.

He and his wife, Carolyn (Christian) Still, BSEd '90, have two sons, Samuel and Andrew. They are members of First Baptist Church of Waco.