McKenzie Robinson | SBJ

2021 Most Influential Women: Allison Langford

Higher education consultant

Posted online

Having left her role as vice president for strategic planning and initiatives at Southwest Baptist University in summer 2021, Allison Langford is feeling reflective.

Langford says when she announced her resignation, she received an outpouring of encouragement from colleagues and students alike.

“I am humbled to read the descriptors of me and embarrassed that I cannot remember some of the specific moments that they recall – small and unassuming instances that end up inspiring hope, providing clarity or encouraging perseverance,” she says.

These days, Langford’s energy is focused on raising grass-fed Scottish Highland cattle through Langford Farms, the agricultural business she shares with Joe Langford, her husband of 28 years. She is also starting her own higher education consulting firm and is in the process of filing paperwork for it.

Langford began her career as a teacher at Buffalo High School, where she spent eight years expanding the math program.

“The math program grew significantly, quadrupling the number of students in college-prep math courses such as calculus, trigonometry, statistics and Algebra II,” she says.

She still hears from some of her high school math students.

“After more than 20 years, they can still sing the quadratic formula or remember being inspired to overcome their fear of math,” she says.

In 2003, she became a faculty member in the University Success Center at SBU. She was the founding director of the university’s honors program, and in 2010, after completing her doctorate in higher education leadership, she was tapped as assistant provost and later associate provost for teaching and learning.

One of Langford’s key contributions was in establishing SBU’s Center for Teaching and Learning, which provides ongoing professional development and support for faculty.

“From early in my career, I have been willing to step into leadership roles and apply my skills to efforts that will ultimately improve the education experience for students and more effectively fulfill the mission of the organization,” she says. “I rarely say no to an opportunity or challenge, and I seek to solve problems and make improvements in a collaborative manner.”

In her civic life, Langford is involved in her church, Alliance Christian Fellowship, where Joe serves as pastor.

Langford has volunteered with Alpha House Pregnancy Center for over 20 years, including service as board chair and interim director, and she has helped to establish the organization’s main fundraiser, its annual banquet.

She also volunteers with Community Outreach Ministries, primarily in the food bank, and she supports NightLight International, which has its headquarters in Springfield. NightLight is an organization that intervenes on behalf of sexually exploited women and children.

“These efforts reflect my passion for life and the belief that every life is an image bearer of God, inherently valuable and worthy of dignity,” she says.