Dr. Cindy McClenagan

Working Toward a Common Goal

 Dr. Cindy McClenagan

A farm girl from Iowa, Dr. McClenagan went to Luther College for her bachelor's degree. She started college as an undecided and after two years, she thought, “Oh, this English stuff is kind of fun.” She picked up an English major and three minors in history, religion, and international studies.

“... because I wasn’t good at deciding exactly what it was I liked or wanted to do… I think that experience kind of makes me more equipped to help the undecided students that come in. Often at registration, I meet students and parents who are panicked because the student doesn’t know what to major in just yet, and I’m happy to be able to tell them that it will be all right and that the student will get there.”

After receiving her bachelor’s, Dr. McClenagan attended University of Iowa for her M.S. in Library and Information Science. She then traveled south to Texas, attending Texas Tech University for her Ph.D. in English.

At the time she graduated, there was an open library position at Wayland. She interviewed here and with a school in Los Angeles. As a small-town farm girl from Iowa, she was much more comfortable at Wayland. She told her parents that she wanted to get a couple of years of experience here, and then she’d move back to Iowa. She met Brian, her husband who teaches psychology at Wayland, and got married, so she ended up staying here. Her parents still joke that they are waiting for her to “get that experience and move on back home.”

From her librarian position, she was asked to teach a few writing classes and then she applied for an English faculty position when one came open. She progressed from faculty to Dean of the School of Languages and Literature, and in 2016 was named Academic Vice President of the university.

Dr. McClenagan enjoys the flexibility within Wayland’s University system that allows her to create and organize various university components. Wayland is very open to developing new things (like many of the master's programs developed in recent years). Her love for Wayland also goes back to where she grew up; the whole mindset of accomplishing things together.

“It sounds cliche to say ‘Wayland is like a family,’ but I really do feel the sense that most people working here at Wayland are working together toward that one common goal of providing a good Christian education in the best way that we can.”

One of her biggest joys in teaching is class discussion. She says that she gets, “so sad when I get non-talkative class. Most classes will eventually get more comfortable and get into some conversation later. I like to hear from the students about what they think and how they see and interpret things.”

When she’s not carrying on conversations, in the classroom or her office, Dr. McClenagan spends time with her family. She wants to be a part of whatever her husband and sons want to do -- even if it means playing Pokemon Go with her youngest son.