The Center for Gifted Studies and Our Educators
- Tyler Clark
- Monday, October 5th, 2020
The Center for Gifted Studies at WKU has a rich 40 year history of graduate educational opportunities and other professional learning experiences in gifted education and talent development. Further, The Center is committed to investing in state educators and has created various local and global initiatives to ensure gifted education advancement is available to those who seek it.
To ensure teachers are knowledgeable in gifted education throughout Jefferson County Public Schools, The Center, the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, and JCPS recently renewed a partnership to provide a cohort of up to 50 JCPS teachers to obtain their endorsement in gifted education. Dr. Julia Roberts, Executive Director of The Center for Gifted Studies, oversees the initiative, while Dr. Tracy Inman, Dr. Mary Evans, Dr. Lynette Breedlove, and Dr. Antonia Szymanski serve as faculty members who teach the coursework.
“Educational collaborations between our districts and The Center for Gifted Studies are imperative to fostering student and educator success,” Dr. Corinne M. Murphy, Dean of the WKU College of Education and Behavioral Sciences said. “Educators need specialized training to develop individualized instructional plans and experiences which serve to enhance the rate of learning as well as access to complex and abstract processes. These enriched learning environments match the capabilities of our young people. We are thrilled to provide this opportunity to our JCPS educators. With this endorsement, educators will have the resources they need to support the continual progression of our advanced K-12 learners.”
Through graduate programs and other professional learning opportunities, The Center also provides opportunities for educators in all 50 states, as well as more than 15 countries across six continents. Educators from across the globe, including India, Jordan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, South Africa, and Turkey have visited The Center for Gifted Studies to observe programming and learn best practices for serving gifted students. “Gifted children constitute a category of exceptional children in Kentucky. All educators need to know the truth rather than myths about gifted children, and WKU is the place to learn about their social-emotional and cognitive needs as well as strategies to help them thrive,” Dr. Julia Link Roberts, Executive Director of The Center for Gifted Studies and Mahurin Professor of Gifted Studies said.
Additionally, The Center offers educational workshops for parents and teachers who are interested in learning more about gifted education. Most recently, Dr. Matthew Fugate of the University of Houston presented a two-day virtual workshop on the needs of twice-exceptional learners who are students that are both gifted and have a disability. The Berta Seminar on Social/Emotional Needs of the Gifted is a free workshop that will be hosted virtually on October 16. For more information and to register, visit https://www.wku.edu/gifted/educators/berta/.
The Center proudly offers more coursework in gifted education and talent development than any other institution in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. There are many exciting developments in the works including welcoming a cohort of educators focused on leading diverse learners within the Educational Leadership Doctoral Program (EdD) in June of 2021. For more information about graduate programs and other professional learning opportunities in gifted education and talent development please visit wku.edu/gifted or contact Tyler Clark at Thomas.firstname.lastname@example.org.
“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.” – Jennifer Sheffield (Endorsement, ‘11 EdS, ’18, Gifted and Talented Coordinator at Simpson County Schools)