The Institute

Building on the success of Ricks Center curriculum, The Institute for the Development of Gifted Education was established in conjunction with Ricks Center in 1997.  Its focus is to share curricula with a broader audience and to distribute professional research and articles related to the field of gifted education as educators seek more content knowledge.

Today, The Institute is one of only four institutions in the field that combines research, curriculum development, and outreach in gifted education in partnership with graduate education through the Morgridge College of Education.

Curriculum Development

Building on 25 years of extensive experience in curriculum development at Ricks Center, The Institute has produced a variety of curriculum units that utilize an integrated thematic approach carefully matched to the learning characteristics and dispositions of gifted children.  At the heart of integrated thematic curriculum for gifted learners is engagement of the learner in discovering, understanding deeply, and using information and concepts to answer their own questions.  This approach fulfills their strong desire to know, perform, and produce.  In conjunction with the production of curriculum units, The Institute sponsors periodic curriculum seminars for school practitioners, graduate students, and university professors interested in learning about development and adaptation of curriculum to be utilized especially with gifted learners. 

Research and Research Publication

Research at The Institute expands the theoretical and conceptual knowledge-base in gifted education and provides an expanded basis for practical applications in educating gifted children.  Findings and reports are presented in journals and at meetings of major national and world organizations.  Past research projects include perspective-taking, motor development, and information processing styles of young gifted children; current research includes an extensive analysis of the relationships among parent perception and teacher perception and levels of intelligence in gifted children.  Future research includes focus on developmental issues among gifted children through early adolescence.

Bringing together the research and thinking of experts in the field of gifted education, The Institute's monograph series, Perspectives in Gifted Education, provides focused information relating to current topics and issues in the education and development of gifted children.  New volumes in the series are produced approximately every two years.  Five have been published to date, and currently one is in production and several more are planned.

Professional Development

The Institute contracts with a variety of educational organizations to provide professional development for teachers, administrators, and gifted education specialists.  Contracted programs are tailored to the needs of the organizations and may include workshops, topical seminars, and graduate course work.  For example, students in the Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver can pursue a Master of Arts or Doctorate in Curriculum Instruction or Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Gifted Education.  Likewise, professional teachers, school administrators, and gifted education specialists may pursue a Graduate Certificate in Gifted Education based on professional performance standards established by the Colorado Department of Education and recommended by major national professional organizations involved in gifted education. 

Outreach

In addition to its other activities, The Institute purposefully engages in leadership, service, consultation, and partnership roles in the local, national, and international communities. Outreach efforts have included

  • Participating at the local, state, and national levels in leadership and policy development in gifted education;
  • Consulting with state departments of education;
  • Working with urban-core school districts to increase participation of low-income and culturally disadvantaged children in gifted education programs;
  • Hosting fun-filled creativity days for children ages three to eight and their caregivers (open to the general public);
  • Engaging parents in events and lectures on a variety of topics relating to parenting and education (open to the general public); and
  • Providing useful and timely information for those interested in gifted education through print and web-based media.

Impact

The Institute - in following its mission to impact the field of gifted education through research, publication, and outreach--works to help educators, policy makers, and parents have a deeper understanding of intellectual giftedness.     

The work of The Institute is not bound by geography; in fact, it is specifically geared to transcend the reach of Ricks Center and have a global impact.

Institute-sponsored research projects in gifted education provide cutting edge information for practitioners and other researchers, building the theoretical basis for further application.

The Institute's curriculum units are in use by teachers throughout the U.S. and in countries spanning the globe, including China, South Africa, Netherlands, Ukraine, England, and Australia, exposing thousands of students to the integrated thematic approach that has been carefully matched to the learning characteristics and dispositions of gifted children.

In conjunction with the production of curriculum units, The Institute sponsors periodic curriculum conferences for school practitioners, graduate students, and university professors interested in learning about the development and adaptation of curriculum to be utilized specifically with gifted learners.  These conferences, most recently held in October 2009, host participants from across the country.

The Institute's monograph series has also reached worldwide, sharing focused information relating to current topics and issues in the education and development of gifted children.

Additionally, The Institute's professional development and outreach programs also have a measurable impact on gifted education, as they also work to expose educators, parents, and policy makers to support of gifted education.