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Graduate Degrees in Gifted Education at WKU


Graduate

WKU has offered graduate courses in gifted education since 1982. We currently offer the Endorsement in gifted education, the Master of Arts in Education (MAE) in Gifted Education and Talent Development, and the Educational Specialist (EdS) in Gifted Education and Talent Development. WKU is the only university in Kentucky to offer the MAE and EdS in gifted studies, and we have more coursework in gifted education than any other university in the state. In addition, students in the Educational Leadership Doctoral Program (EdD) may use the coursework from the MAE and EdS to make a concentration in teacher leadership with a focus on gifted education. In all its graduate programs in gifted studies, WKU strives to provide opportunities, research-based knowledge, best practices, faculty mentoring, and other tools educators need to better identify and serve high-ability and gifted students. The Center for Gifted Studies supports graduate work through programming and professional learning opportunities.

Courses applied toward a master's, specialist or graduate certificate must be completed within 6 years of the completion date (number of years for the doctoral degree is 10 years). If the student completed courses beyond 6 years, counting them on a credential can be appealed (Appeal of Graduate Policy). The appeal should address how the student's knowledge of the course content is current and must be supported by the advisor, department head, college dean, and graduate dean.

 

Schedule for GTE Class Offerings

  • PSY 432G - Fall, Spring, Summer
  • GTE 536 - Fall
  • GTE 537 - Spring
  • GTE 540 - Spring
  • GTE 538 - Summer
  • GTE 539 - Summer

Courses that Rotate

  • GTE 636 - Summer even years, Spring odd years
  • GTE 637 - Summer odd years, Fall even years

 

The Gifted and Talented Endorsement

Dr. JuliaWestern Kentucky University offers a Gifted and Talented Endorsement, designated on the teaching certificate, which provides the opportunity to work directly with groups of gifted children K-12. Currently, we are the only Kentucky institution that has offered the complete sequence annually since 1984. Specializing in gifted education proves extremely valuable for classroom teachers, counselors, gifted resource teachers or administrators.

The endorsement requires four classes, three of which are offered online.  The classes are GTE 536, GTE 537, PSY 432G and GTE 538 (Practicum). GTE 538 is a two-week practicum and is not offered online but rather for two weeks on campus in June. Contact The Center for more information.

Kentucky teachers must pass the PRAXIS in Gifted Education, a requirement that began in 2009.

 

Application Process

Applying to The Graduate School is the first step.

The Gifted and Talented Endorsement can be part of a Master’s program, a Rank II or a Rank I as well as a separate endorsement. It is crucial to plan early in the program so that courses are taken as needed. If an endorsement is specified, the adviser will be Dr. Julia Roberts, Executive Director of the Center for Gifted Studies.

When applying for the gifted endorsement applicants’ will choose the following options on the graduate application:

  • Category of Study—Certification
  • Program of Study—Certification-only Tchr Ed (132)
  • Concentration—Gifted Education Endorsement


Required Courses

The Endorsement requires four three-hour courses:

GTE 536 Nature and Needs of Gifted, Creative and Talented Students. 3 hours. Terminology, theories, issues, and general approaches in educating gifted, creative, and talented young people.

GTE 537 Curriculum, Strategies, and Materials for Gifted Students. 3 hours. The curriculum and the learning environment in meeting the unique and advanced needs of gifted students. Strategies particularly suitable for the gifted.

PSY 432G Psychology of the Gifted and Creative. 3 hours. Identification of gifted children and adults with emphasis on educational programs for the maximum development of giftedness.

GTE 538 Practicum for Teachers of Gifted Students. 3 hours. Prerequisites: GTE 536, GTE 537, and PSY 432G. Supervised experiences to integrate the knowledge and skills needed to plan, implement, and evaluate effective learning experiences for gifted, creative, and talented students. The practicum is a two-week experience on campus.

 

The MAE in Gifted Education and Talent Development

TeachingThe College of Education and Behavioral Sciences at Western Kentucky University  offers the MAE in Gifted Education and Talent Development. The MAE has two pathways – one leading to certification and the other with a research focus. The pathway leading to certification (Rank II and Gifted Endorsement) includes 18 graduate hours in gifted education and talent development. The pathway with a research focus has 21 graduate hours in gifted education and talent development. If an individual already has earned a master’s degree, the second pathway can be taken to earn a Rank I.

Dr. Julia Roberts, Dr. Janet Tassell, and Dr. Toni Syzmanski will teach the courses leading to the MAE in Gifted Education and Talent Development. Courses will be online with the exception of the practicum. Schools or school districts can request that face-to-face teaching be offered for cohorts. WKU has offered the 12 graduate hours leading to the gifted endorsement annually since 1984.

 

Teaching Pathway

Educators pursuing the 31 credit-hour Advanced Certification for Teacher Leader concentration may be completing the graduate program to continue in a teaching position or to become a curriculum coordinator. Counselors, principals, librarians, and other specialized teachers will enhance their knowledge and skills in a concentration that leads to Rank II certification and the gifted education endorsement.

Course # Course Name Hours
PSY 432G Psychology of the Gifted and Creative 3
GTE 536

Nature and Needs of Gifted, Creative, and Talented Students

3
GTE 537 Curriculum, Strategies, and Materials for Gifted Students 3
GTE 538 Practicum for Teachers of Gifted Students 3
GTE 539 Assessment and Identification of Gifted and Talented Students 3
GTE 540 Developing Creativity and Leadership in Gifted Youth 3
TCHL 500 Foundations of Teacher Leadership 3
TCHL 545 Class Instructional Strategies 3
TCHL 555 School and Class Assessment 3
TCHL 559 Action Research Design 1
TCHL 560 Action Research Capstone in Teacher Leadership

3

 
Program Completion Requirements
  1. Successfully complete TCHL 560 (Course grade of C or higher)
  2. Give acceptable presentation of action research in an approved venue
  3. Achieve a minimum 3.0 GPA in coursework
  4. Complete the gifted education practicum demonstrating the knowledge and skills to teach children with gifts and talents

Admission Requirements
In addition to the WKU Graduate School requirements, a copy of the applicant’s teaching certificate or statement of eligibility must be submitted with the application for admission to the Advanced Certification for Teacher Leaders concentration. To apply for admission, visit www.wku.edu/apply.

Graduate of WKU teacher preparation programs
Applicants who are alumni of WKU teacher preparation programs must submit a current, valid teaching certificate or Statement of Eligibility for IECE Birth to Primary; Elementary Education, P-5; Middle Grades Education, 5-9; Secondary Education, 8-12, 5-12, or P-12; or Special Education, P-12.
 
Graduate of a Kentucky university other than WKU
Applicants with undergraduate degrees from Kentucky higher education accredited universities must have a 2.75 GPA for all previous undergraduate coursework and a 3.0 GPA for previous graduate coursework or qualifying GRE scores (i.e., GAP Score 550 or higher)
(GAP = [GRE-V Score + GRE-Q] + [GPA x 100]), and must have or be eligible for a teaching certificate for IECE Birth to Primary; Elementary Education, P-5; Middle Grades Education, 5-9; Secondary Education, 8-12, 5-12, or P-12; or Special Education, P-12.
GAP Score Example: If an applicant has a GRE-V Score of 150 and a GRE-Q score of 150 and a GPA of 3.5, the GAP Score would be calculated as (150 + 150) + (3.5 X 100) = 650 GAP Score.
 

Graduate of a university outside Kentucky
Applicants with undergraduate degrees from all other higher education accredited universities must have a 2.75 GPA for all previous undergraduate coursework and a 3.0 GPA for previous graduate coursework or qualifying GAP scores (i.e., 550 or higher), and must have or be eligible for a teaching certificate for IECE Birth to Primary; Elementary Education, P-5; Middle Grades Education, 5-9; Secondary Education, 8-12, 5-12, or P-12; or Special Education, P-12.
Kentucky applicants whose certificates have expired may be admitted, but they may enroll for only six hours before which they must apply to the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board for a reissued certificate. After completion of six hours, a student admitted with an expired certificate must submit a copy of the reissued certificate before being allowed to register for any additional courses. Applicants from out of state with expired certificates must complete the requirements for their respective states to renew their certificates and submit a copy of the reissued certificate.

 

Research Pathway

The 30 credit-hour Advanced Research Focus will prepare students for a variety of careers in higher education, government policy work, or other organizations and could lead to a Rank I or Specialist degree.

Course # Course Name Hours
PSY 432G Psychology of the Gifted and Creative 3
GTE 536 Nature and Needs of Gifted, Creative, and Talented Students 3
GTE 537 Curriculum, Strategies, and Materials for Gifted Students 3
GTE 539 Assessment and Identification of Gifted and Talented Students

3

GTE 540 Developing Creativity and Leadership in Gifted Youth 3
EDFN 500 Research Methods (or equivalent approved by advisory committee) 3
GTE 636 Issues in Gifted and Talented Education 3
GTE 637 Seminar in Gifted and Talented Education 3
EDU 599 Thesis Research and Writing 6

 

Program Completion Requirements
  1. Complete the coursework in gifted education and talent development and research
  2. Successfully complete and defend a thesis
  3. Achieve a minimum 3.0 GPA in coursework
  4. Demonstrate mastery of the program outcomes in the coursework

Admission Requirements
  1. Submit application to the Graduate School and meet all Graduate School requirements
  2. Have a 3.0 on all graduate school coursework
  3. Submit copies of all transcripts
  4. If pursuing a Rank I, have earned a Master's degree from an accredited institution

 
The EdS in Gifted Education and Talent Development

The Specialist Degree in Gifted Education and Talent Development is planned for individuals who have earned a master’s degree and want to specialize in gifted education as they pursue further graduate work. Those who complete this degree program will be eligible for a recommendation for Rank I and may earn eligibility for the Gifted and Talented Education Endorsement through the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board (KE37) if the practicum is built into the program. The program prepares candidates for teaching in elementary, middle, or high school settings; teaching in postsecondary settings; continuing graduate work toward a doctorate in gifted education and talent development; and/or other careers that involve a strong background in gifted education and talent development.

Admission: Admission requirements are having a master’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education or an equivalent international institution of higher education. The applicant must have a 3.0 grade-point-average in the master’s program.

Completion: The graduate student must successfully defend a specialist project and maintain a 3.0 grade-point-average in the required courses

Required Courses

Course # Course Name Hours
PSY 432G Psychology of the Gifted and Creative 3
GTE 536 Nature and Needs of Gifted, Creative, and Talented Students 3
GTE 537 Curriculum, Strategies, and Materials for Gifted Students 3
GTE 539 Assessment and Identification of Gifted and Talented Students 3
GTE 540 Developing Creativity and Leadership in Gifted Youth 3
EDFN 500 Research Methods (or equivalent approved by advisory board) 3
GTE 636 Issues in Gifted and Talented Education 3
GTE 637 Seminar in Gifted and Talented Education 3
EDU 699 Specialist Project 6

If the graduate student has already completed the twelve hours required for the Gifted Endorsement (GTE 536, GTE 537, PSY 432G, and GTE 540) and the courses have already been counted on a prior degree, he/she must substitute other hours with advisor approval.

 

The EdD in Educational Leadership with a Teacher Leader Concentration in Gifted Education and Talent Development

The College of Education offers the Educational Leadership Doctoral Program with a concentration on teacher leadership with a focus on gifted education and talent development. For more information, go to WKU's Educational Leadership Doctorate Program or The Graduate School.


Benefits of Graduate Courses in Gifted Education at WKU

Unique Opportunities

WKU offers more coursework in gifted education than most other universities in the region.

  • WKU offers the entire sequence of four required graduate courses for the gifted endorsement as a one-year program.
  • With the exception of the practicum, all coursework is offered online.
  • WKU offers both the Master of Arts in Education (MAE) degree in Gifted Education and Talent Development and the Educational Specialist (EdS) degree in Gifted Education and Talent Development.
  • The coursework from the MAE and the EdS makes a concentration in teacher leadership with a focus on gifted education available for students in the Educational Leadership Doctoral (EdD) Program.
  • WKU is home to The Center for Gifted Studies and The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky and is the host for the headquarters of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children.

 

Amazing Instructors

The professors in WKU's Gifted Education program are award winners, authors, and trailblazers. Dr. Julia Roberts, Dr. Janet Tassell, and Dr. Antonia Szymanski are all committed to guiding the next generation of gifted educators. Hear what their students have to say:

SheffieldJennifer Sheffield (Endorsement, EdS) is the gifted and talented coordinator for Simpson County Schools: “The professors are fantastic. They really know their subject matter and are all prominent figures in the field of gifted education. I thoroughly enjoyed the in-depth discussion and thought-provoking reading assignments. Dr. Szymanski was invaluable in helping me better understand research design and how to work with statistics. Dr. Tassell was always very positive and encouraging; she helped me hone in on the specific areas of gifted research that I was most interested in. Dr. Roberts’ goal was for us to take what we were learning to the next level — to really push our thinking with our research and produce high-quality academic work.”

Bari DouglasBari Douglas ( EdS, MAE) is the Gifted and Talented Resource Teacher at Deep Springs Elementary and Mary Todd Elementary in Lexington: “Learning from the experts in the state and world renowned gifted educators was amazing. I was challenged and inspired throughout my courses and the professors were extremely supportive to complete the degree.”

 

Exceptional Educational Value

No matter their teaching backgrounds or professional goals, our graduate students find immeasurable value in the gifted education program. 

Kari Corsi (Endorsement) is a fifth grade teacher at Wheeler Elementary in Louisville: “This program allowed me to take new concepts and apply them to the learning experiences I created for my students. My teacher tool belt has been filled with lots of ideas and ways that I can better meet the needs of all of my students, even the ones who are gifted enough to teach me

Vanessa HutchinsonVanessa Hutchison (Endorsement) is an English teacher at Central High School in Louisville: “This program has been an excellent opportunity to improve my craft as a teacher. It has better prepared me to teach students of all ability levels, regardless of how they are grouped within the school building, and will help me to be an advocate for those high-ability learners in my building.”

 

 

A Needed Field

Too often, gifted students do not get the education they need and deserve. The gifted studies program gives its graduates the tools to help gifted students at many levels in many ways.

Andrea HemmingAndrea Heming (Endorsement, EdS) is the the Curriculum Coordinator at Rich Pond Elementary in Bowling Green: “Having classes in gifted studies should be essential for all teachers. When teachers earn a degree in gifted studies, they become better teachers. Instruction that is good for gifted students is beneficial for all students. Teachers often do not have the knowledge in the area of giftedness without a degree program in gifted studies.”

WeatherholtJennay Weatherholt (MAE) teaches third grade at Potter Grey Elementary in Warren County: “In terms of legislation, gifted education is definitely a field that needs advocates. I wanted to go into a program for a population that often gets underserved or pushed under the rug. Some people don't see the need for gifted education.”

 

One-of-a-kind Practicum Experience

Since 1984, graduate students in gifted education at WKU have been able to complete their practicum by teaching at The Center for Gifted Studies’ Summer Camp for Academically Talented Middle School Students (SCATS), a two-week enrichment experience for academically talented students who have finished grades 6-8 that year. The practicum provides the opportunity for graduate students to demonstrate what they have learned in their coursework. They select their own course topics — from Bridge Building or The Art of Chihuly to Communication and Leadership Fundamentals — and teach two sections each weekday for two weeks, with class sizes capped at 16.

Felicia MoreschiFelicia Moreschi (Endorsement) is a fifth grade teacher at Medora Elementary in Louisville: “The practicum gave me the opportunity to witness countless examples of gifted behaviors and thought processes, which were so valuable to my synthesis of all I have learned throughout the program. Now that I have completed the practicum experience, I believe that I am armed with the tools I need to make a difference for gifted students.”

MurphyRebekah Murphy (Endorsement) is the gifted and talented resource teacher for grades K-12 for Eminence Independent Schools: “It was amazing to be with these students who were passionate about learning and who were intrigued, curious, and intrinsically motivated. It was a really good way to start my career as a gifted and talented resource teacher. SCATS helped me realize the need for differentiation even among gifted students because I had to address their individual needs even though they were all high-performing students. I felt a lot more prepared this school year having those skills added to my tool box.

                                                              


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 Last Modified 9/14/20