Joyce VanTassel-Baska, 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award winner

Joyce VanTassel-Baska, Ed.D., received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Mensa Foundation for her vast contributions to the field of education. The award was presented in a ceremony preceding the National Association of Gifted Children Convention in New Orleans.

Dr. VanTassel-Baska is the founding Director of the Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University; the center, which has been in operation for more than 30 years, has produced research and development in the field of talent development, along with 50 doctorates in gifted education. She has served as the state director of gifted programs for Illinois; as a regional director of a gifted service center in the Chicago area; as coordinator of gifted programs for the Toledo, Ohio Public school system; and as a teacher of gifted high school students in English and Latin. She has worked as a consultant on gifted education in all 50 states and for key national groups, including the U.S. Department of Education and the American Association of School Administrators. Her efforts extend across the globe, as she has worked as a consultant in Australia, New Zealand, Hungary, Jordan, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.

Dr. VanTassel-Baska is credited with a number of publications, including 20 books and more than 345 refereed journal articles, book chapters and scholarly reports. Recent books include Comprehensive Curriculum for Gifted Education (3rd Edition) (2006) (with Tamra Stambaugh), Curriculum for Gifted Students (2004), and Curriculum Planning and Instructional Design for Gifted Learners (2003). She also served as the editor of Gifted and Talented International, a publication of the World Council on Gifted and Talented, from 1998–2005.

Dr. VanTassel-Baska retired as the Jody and Layton Smith Professor of Education and Executive Director of the Center for Gifted Education at the College of William and Mary. She is past president of The Association for the Gifted (a division of the Council for Exceptional Children), the Northwestern University Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa and the National Association for Gifted Children.

In addition to this lifetime achievement award, Dr. VanTassel-Baska has received numerous honors for her work, including the National Association of Gifted Children Distinguished Scholar Award in 1997, the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award in 1993, and the Phi Beta Kappa faculty award in 1995. She was selected as a Fulbright Scholar to New Zealand in 2000 and a visiting scholar to Cambridge University in England in 1993. Her major research interests are in the talent development process and effective curricular interventions with the gifted. She holds B.A., M.A., M. Ed., and Ed.D. degrees from the University of Toledo.

The Mensa Lifetime Achievement Award was created in 1999 to honor an individual’s lifetime of contributions to the field of intelligence, giftedness or creativity. To win this award, an individual must have published an exceptional body of work in research, theory or other scholarly areas over a period of not less than 15 years. Winners may be educators and/or practitioners in the fields of giftedness, brain function, human intelligence, creativity or intelligence testing. Winners receive $1,000 and a crystal award.