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The Center for Gifted Education Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Founded by Joyce VanTassel-Baska in 1988

 The Center for Gifted Education at The College of William and Mary held its 18th annual National Curriculum Network Conference on March 21–22, 2013 at the School of Education. The conference included many events to celebrate the Center's 25th anniversary year, including an alumni reception, an anniversary reception, and the inaugural Joyce VanTassel-Baska Alumni Lecture. The conference offered 40 sessions on in-depth topics related to gifted education, many of which were presented by Center alumni and members of the Center's National Advisory Board (NAB). Strands included curriculum and instruction, underserved populations, twice-exceptional, trends and issues, and social-emotional needs.

Catherine Little '94, M.Ed. '97, Ph.D. '01, Associate Professor in Educational Psychology at the University of Connecticut, presented the Joyce VanTassel-Baska Alumni Lecture entitled "The Journey and the Destination: Striving for Rigor in Curriculum, Instruction, and Professional Practice." Featured sessions included ones by Dr. Jim Gallagher, Kenan Professor Emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who spoke on "Our Educational Disarmament," and Dr. Carol Tieso, Associate Professor of Gifted Education at The College of William and Mary, and Dr. Patricia F. Wood, Associate Professor and Program Director of Gifted Education at Samford University, who presented "Using Creative Thinking to Address Social and Emotional Needs." Dr. Joyce VanTassel-Baska, the Center for Gifted Education's founder, gave the keynote presentation, "From Research to Practice: The Road Not Taken" as well as a session entitled "Change for Tomorrow: Developing Leadership in the Gifted." Dr. VanTassel-Baska also moderated a panel discussion on current issues in gifted education. Panel members included Dr. Shelagh Gallagher, independent consultant and curriculum developer; Dr. Lannie Kanevsky, Associate Professor at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Kimberley Chandler '84, M.Ed. '92, Ph.D. '04 and Joyce VanTassel-BaskaColumbia; Dr. Paula Olszewski-Kubilius, Professor and Director of the Center for Talented Development, Northwestern University; and Dr. Julie Dingle Swanson, Professor at the College of Charleston.

In addition, a number of awards and special tributes were presented this year. At the alumni reception, the CFGE Award for Leadership in Program Development and Support for Gifted Learners was given to Jeanne Struck, Ph.D. '02, Supervisor for Gifted Education and Home Instruction for Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools. The Center's Executive Director, Dr. Tracy L. Cross, unveiled a portrait of the Center's founder, Dr. Joyce VanTassel-Baska, which will be featured prominently in the Center as a tribute to her vision and legacy. At the dinner for the NAB members on Thursday evening, Dr. Cross presented the Outstanding Contributions to Gifted Education award to Dr. Jim Gallagher to honor his contributions and long-standing service to the field of gifted education. In the future, it will be named the James J. Gallagher Award for Outstanding Contributions to Gifted Education. At the anniversary reception, Dr. Tracy L. Cross was given a desktop clock engraved with the words "advocacy, vision, leadership" to honor his Center for Gifted Education 25th anniversary celebrationcommitment to the Center and the field of gifted education.