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Institute for the Development of Gifted Education


The research work of the Institute is centered around three significant conceptual areas: understanding the constructs of giftedness, considering the needs of this gifted population, and how to best train those working in the field.  Toward that end, multiple research projects are currently in process with several more in conceptual development.

Training and Programming

  • Project E-RiDGE (Evaluation and Replicability in Doctoral Gifted Environments) was designed to measure the impact of doctoral students (Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Gifted Education) at the student-service level. Researchers are designing a constructivist approach in which doctoral students identify complex problems of practice and develop impact projects to address these issues. This Bradley Foundation-funded program evaluation project is aligned with and supported by the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED).

Pre-Service Teacher Training
  • Few pre-service teacher training programs offer content specifically related to the news of gifted learners.  In the Morgridge College of Education, all pre-service teachers participate to a full course dedicated to gifted learners.  This project examines the impact of this training, both short and long-term.

Ricks History Project
  • The Ricks Center for Gifted Children on the University of Denver campus serves over 250 three year olds through eighth graders and focuses on providing a dynamic and challenging educational environment that anticipates and responds to the individual intellectual, social, emotional, physical, aesthetic, and cognitive needs of gifted children. This year, Ricks is celebrating its 30th year anniversary, and to celebrate this historic accomplishment, researchers are conducting interviews with a variety of people involved with the Ricks Center to detail its storied history, challenges, and triumphs.

 Educating gifted learners

Curriculum Utilization
  • The Thematic Integrated Units (TIUs) developed and published through the Ricks Center for Gifted Children and the Institute are utilized by educators across the globe. Multiple schools and districts have adopted the units for use. This project examines utilization of the units, perceptions and effectiveness. Institute units include: Discovering DA VINCI'S Complexities, Differentiation for Gifted Readers Using Newbery Books series, Maya, and Passion Pursuits.

Project S2EED
  • Project S2EED (Science and Sustainability for Environmental Education Development) was formed on a partnership between the University of Denver's Institute for the Development of Gifted Education (IDGE) and the Cloud Forest School (CFS) in Monteverde, Costa Rica. The purpose of this project is to develop an environmental sustainability curriculum utilizing education-to-action-projects for elementary students based on leading expertise of CFS. This project was developed in response to a growing need for K-12 students to develop strong backgrounds in environmental sustainability in our increasingly delicate and complex global environment.

Constructs of giftedness

Overexcitability within Family Systems and across Generations
  • Gifted children often display characteristics of intensity, sensitivity, and perfectionism. How are these characteristics manifested within family systems and/or across generations? This project examines overexcitability utilizing multiple measures of Overexcitability Questionnaire including the OEQII and the open-ended questionnaire. Patterns within families and within various generations are explored.

Gifted Elders
  • How are the characteristics of giftedness manifested in adults, specifically seniors? Do gifted characteristics mask other needs? This project examines the literature related to gifted seniors and is developing measures to better understand implications for this population.