Dr. Shanna Hagan-Burke Appointed Dean of Baylor School of Education

May 6, 2020
Dr. Shanna Hagan-Burke

Shanna Hagan-Burke, Ph.D., professor of special education and head of the department of educational psychology at Texas A&M University's College of Education and Human Development, will join Baylor University on July 1 as Dean of the Baylor School of Education.

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WACO, Texas (May 6, 2020) – Following a nationwide search, Baylor University Provost Nancy Brickhouse, Ph.D., announced today that Shanna Hagan-Burke, Ph.D., professor of special education and head of the department of educational psychology at Texas A&M University’s College of Education and Human Development, has been selected as Dean of the Baylor School of Education. Her appointment is effective July 1.

Dr. Hagan-Burke will succeed Terrill F. Saxon, Ph.D., professor of educational psychology and associate dean for research and graduate education, who has served the past three years as the School’s interim dean.

“We welcome Dr. Hagan-Burke to Baylor University and the School of Education,” Dr. Brickhouse said. “Throughout her academic career, Dr. Hagan-Burke has demonstrated a strong commitment to both undergraduate and graduate teaching while also conducting robust externally funded research in her academic field. She also deeply values Baylor’s mission and aspirations as a preeminent Christian research university. As Dean, she will continue the impactful work of our education faculty, whose growing research portfolio complements a long-standing commitment to excellence in teaching and student mentoring.”

“It is an exciting time to join Baylor University, and I am looking forward to serving the School of Education as its next dean. From the moment I read Illuminate, I knew I wanted to be a part of Baylor’s efforts to realize this vision,” Dr. Hagan-Burke said. “The School of Education is uniquely poised to make substantive contributions to the University’s signature academic initiatives, and I am grateful for the opportunity to lead those efforts.”

Dr. Hagan-Burke served on the faculties at the University of Georgia and University of Oregon before joining the Texas A&M faculty in 2005 as associate professor of special education. In 2016, she was named professor and department head of educational psychology. Her department, which focuses on human development and well-being in educational and community contexts, has averaged nearly $9 million annually over the past three years in sponsored research and is home to multiple innovative research labs and clinics.

Her research interests include functional analyses of challenging behavior, positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) and early literacy. She has been awarded more than $5.6 million dollars in competitive external grants, serving as the lead principal investigator or co-PI on 11 external grant awards. Her work investigating relations between academic performance and problem behaviors has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (2013, 2014) for its contributions to the fields of early reading intervention and early childhood education. She currently directs a doctoral training grant focused on the preparation of scholars with dual expertise in academic and behavioral supports (Project ABS).

Dr. Hagan-Burke has 17 years of experience working with state-level behavioral support initiatives (Alabama, Georgia and Hawaii Departments of Education) and their systemic efforts to meet the needs of students with challenging behaviors. She was a member of the Texas Education Agency’s Response to Intervention (RTI) Guidance Committee and served as the lead author developing their RTI framework for social behaviors.

In 2015, Dr. Hagan-Burke was awarded an Eppright Professorship for undergraduate teaching excellence at Texas A&M. She also has held The Douglas J. Palmer Endowed Chair in Educational Psychology, was selected as a fellow of the SEC Academic Leadership Development Program and has received additional university recognition for her teaching and service.

Dr. Hagan-Burke has published more than 60 articles in educational journals, as well as book chapters, encyclopedia entries and monographs, and technical research reports for state and federal agencies. She is a frequent presenter at national and international scholarly conferences.

She earned her B.A. in special education and teaching and her master’s in clinical teaching from the University of West Florida, and her Ph.D. in special education from the University of Oregon.

“As we conclude this successful nationwide search, I express my sincerest gratitude to Dr. Saxon for his strong and steady leadership as interim dean and to the 13 members of the School of Education Dean Search Committee, chaired by Diana R. Garland School of Social Work Dean Jon Singletary, for their valuable time and service to the University,” Brickhouse said.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 18,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.


For more than 100 years, Baylor educators have carried the mission and practices of the School of Education to classrooms and beyond as teachers, leaders in K12 and higher education, psychologists, academics/scholars and more. With more than 50 full-time faculty members, the school’s growing research portfolio complements its long-standing commitment to excellence in teaching and student mentoring. Baylor’s undergraduate program in teacher education has earned national distinction for innovative partnerships with local schools that provide future teachers deep clinical preparation, while graduate programs culminating in both the Ed.D. and Ph.D. prepare outstanding leaders, teachers and clinicians through an intentional blend of theory and practice. Visit baylor.edu/SOE to learn more.