The University of Connecticut is home to the Neag Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development. Studies focusing on meeting the needs of gifted and talented youth have received national and international attention for over 40 years. The earliest research emphasized studies related to creativity, assessment, identification, programming, and evaluation. Several studies conducted by our research team are considered seminal research that guides the design and development of programs and services to meet the needs of gifted and talented students. The research team includes Dr. Joseph S. Renzulli, Dr. Sally M. Reis, Dr. Del Siegle, Dr. E. Jean Gubbins, Dr. M. Katherine Gavin, Dr. Catherine Little, Dr. D. Betsy McCoach, and Dr. Tutita Casa. The team poses questions such as the following that are theory-based and practice relevant.

  • Who are the gifted and talented students?
  • How do you screen and identify potentially gifted and talented students?
  • What are examples of defensible programs and services?
  • How can gifted education programs and practices enrich studentsí learning opportunities?
  • What are the most effective approaches to reading and mathematics instruction for gifted and potentially gifted youngsters?
  • How can parents and educators effectively collaborate in support of gifted students?
Historical leadership in advocating a broadened conception of giftedness, and a focus on the development of potentials in groups not ordinarily included in special programs for the gifted and talented are hallmarks of the Neag Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development. These hallmarks affect all programs and services, including campus-based graduate programs leading to the Master of Arts degree, Sixth Year Certificate, and Doctor of Philosophy degree, as well as online programs designed for students throughout the world resulting in Master's degrees and Sixth Year Certificates. Graduates hold key leadership and research roles throughout the nation and the world.

Research and teaching are further enhanced by grant-based initiatives. The only federally funded research organization, known as The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented (NRC/GT), has existed since 1990 with various university partnerships. As of 2006, the University of Connecticut partnership is with the University of Virginia. The current research studies for the NRC/GT are an integrated approach to identifying, serving, and evaluating academic outcomes. In addition, two federally funded model projects continue their acclaimed work in reading (Schoolwide Enrichment Model-Reading) and mathematics (Project M3: Mentoring Mathematical Minds).

The Schoolwide Enrichment Model and its predecessor, The Enrichment Triad Model, have led to the development of an exciting new technology-based learning system. The Renzulli Learning System is an on-line program matching students' interests and learning styles to enrich and challenge their learning opportunities.

The Neag Center earned recognition for its summer professional learning experiences associated with Confratute (conference & institute). As of 2007, Confratute celebrates the 30th anniversary of this dynamic approach to high-end learning experiences for educators and parents. The learning experiences mirror the theoretical and practical approaches advocated for gifted and talented students.

Rounding out the research and education programs is Mentor Connection, an inquiry-based research program for talented teens. Rising juniors and seniors from across the country are selected to participate in ongoing research projects by faculty and doctoral students. Young people experience all phases of research during their 3-week residential experience. As junior professionals, they summarize their learning through a research symposium at the conclusion of their mentorship experience.

The Neag Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development comprises many unique teaching, research, and service components, some of which are highlighted above. Details of these components and others are found on the pages listed on the left panel.