Texas Tech University

College of Education Names Burkhart Center Interim Co-Directors

Amanda Castro-Crist

July 30, 2020

Burkhart quilt

Janice Magness and Jennifer Hamrick will lead the center while the college conducts a national search to replace Wes Dotson, who served as director since 2017.

Texas Tech University's College of Education has named two interim co-directors of the Burkhart Center for Autism Education & Research, which became effective Tuesday (July 28).

Janice Magness
Janice Magness

Janice Magness, program director of the Burkhart Center's Transition Academy, and Jennifer Hamrick, an assistant professor at the Burkhart Center, will serve as interim co-directors while the college conducts a national search to find a replacement for Wes Dotson, who served as director since 2017. Dotson was named a director at the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders at the University of Missouri.

"I want to thank Janice and Jennifer for agreeing to serve in this capacity while we search for a new director of the Burkhart Center," said Jesse Perez Mendez, dean of the College of Education. "The Burkhart Center is an important center in our college, and it is an important asset to our region and our state. Under their leadership, the center will continue working to improve the lives of people living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by providing services, training professionals and conducting research."

Magness has served as program director of the Transition Academy since 2007 and has previously served the center in interim leadership positions. A graduate of Texas Tech and a lifelong educator with more than 30 years of classroom experience, Magness spent the last 18 years of her public-school career as a content mastery teacher with Lubbock Independent School District. During those years in special education, she worked primarily with students with ASD.

"I look forward to working with Jennifer Hamrick and the faculty, staff, students and families who both give and receive services from the Burkhart Center," Magness said. "It is an honor for me to continue with our mission of helping students with ASD and their families in the West Texas area and beyond."

Jennifer Hamrick
Jennifer Hamrick

Hamrick joined the Burkhart Center in 2018 and is director of the Mobile Outreach Clinic for Autism, the Texas Telehealth Outreach Clinic for Autism and the Teacher Training Institute. She is an assistant professor in the Educational Psychology and Leadership program and a certified teacher. She also is a board-certified behavior analyst with more than 18 years of experience in the field of special education in large, public school districts. Hamrick received her doctorate in special education from the University of Texas at Austin with an emphasis in autism and developmental disabilities.

"I'm excited to be working alongside my colleagues to provide continued support to the Burkhart Center staff while we navigate upcoming changes," Hamrick said. "Janice and I both have been heavily involved in the daily operations of the center while we all worked together to continue providing services to individuals and families during the coronavirus-related shutdown. I am confident we will continue to do so in our new roles while also working with Dean Mendez and Texas Tech to search for a new director."

The Burkhart Center for Autism Education & Research was established in 2005 to increase the quality of life for individuals with autism and their families through service, education and research. For more information, visit the center's website