Date of this Version
Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council 19.2 (Fall/Winter 2018) ISBN 978-1-945001-01-7 ISSN 1559-0151
I was tangentially aware of gifted education while I was in elementary and middle school, but my first real awareness of the concept came through my work in the University Honors Program at Texas A&M. In truth, I was not yet working for the University Honors Program; I was a graduate assistant for then-Associate Director, Finnie Coleman, who tasked me with helping host a group of Davidson Young Scholars visiting campus for a lecture from Stephen Hawking to mark the opening of the Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy in 2003. I was hired into a full-time role in the honors program not long after, and Coleman asked how we might build a special program that would attract outstanding students like the nine- to fourteenyear- old Young Scholars, who had impressed our physics faculty with their insightful questions on that visit. His question led to my focus on the experience of early entrance to college in my dissertation and my involvement with NCHC’s Education of the Gifted Special Interest Group.
My experience explains why my mental schema for gifted and honors education overlap. Not everyone sees the connections that I do, though. As noted in Guzy’s lead essay for this volume, I have been an advocate for helping honors practitioners realize how their programs might serve gifted students since 2004. I have also had the opportunity to discuss the overlap with advising practitioners at the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) conference in 2010, focusing on the language of giftedness during the formation of the NACADA Commission on High-Achieving Students.
A special experience for me has been working alongside Nicholas Colangelo, whose lead essay points out shared values between NCHC and NAGC and advocates for working together to address our common concerns. Colangelo’s work with Susan G. Assouline and Miraca U. M. Gross in A Nation Deceived to synthesize decades of research on academic acceleration provided foundational understanding of the issues surrounding early entrance to college for my own work and, I think, uniquely positions him to provide guidance on bridging the gap between secondary and post-secondary education. I am also pleased to be working again with Annmarie Guzy on the topic of gifted education since working with her on this topic was an early source of my connectedness to NCHC. I want to argue here for adopting an understanding of giftedness as psychological difference to help realize Colangelo’s vision for future collaboration, using this concept to address Guzy’s concerns about the fit between honors programs and gifted learners by suggesting a policy and practice that is friendly to gifted learners and other students who may not fit the traditional profile of an honors student.