Dr VanTassel-Baska is the Jody and Layton Smith Professor Emerita of Education and founding director of the Center for Gifted Education at The College of William and Mary in Virginia where she developed a graduate program and a research and development center in gifted education. She also initiated and directed the Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University. Prior to her work in higher education, Dr VanTassel-Baska 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, National Association of Secondary School Principals, and American Association of School Administrators. She has consulted internationally in Australia, New Zealand, Hungary, Jordan, Singapore, Korea, Hong Kong, China, England, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates. She is past president of The Association for the Gifted of the Council for Exceptional Children, and the Northwestern University Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa, and the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC). During her tenure as NAGC president she oversaw the adoption of the new teacher standards for gifted education, and organized and chaired the National Leadership Conference on Promising and Low-Income Learners, including a major emphasis on early childhood interventions.
Dr VanTassel-Baska has published widely including 28 books and over 550 refereed journal articles, book chapters, and scholarly reports. Recent books include: Content-based Curriculum for Gifted Learners (2011) (with Catherine Little) Patterns and Profiles of Low Income Learners (2010), Social and Emotional Curriculum for Gifted and Talented Students (with Tracy Cross and Rick Olenchak) (2009),Alternative Assessment With Gifted Students (2008), Serving Gifted Learners Beyond the Traditional Classroom (2007), Comprehensive Curriculum for Gifted Education (3rd Edition) (2006) (with Tamra Stambaugh), Designing and Utilizing Evaluation for Gifted Program Improvement (2004) (with Annie Feng), and Curriculum Planning and Instructional Design for Gifted Learners (2003). She also served as the editor of Gifted and Talented International, a research journal of the World Council on Gifted and Talented, for seven years from 1998-2005.
Dr Van Tassel-Baska has received numerous awards for her work, including the National Association for Gifted Children’s Early Leader Award in 1986, the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award in 1993, the Phi Beta Kappa faculty award in 1995, the National Association for Gifted Children Distinguished Scholar Award in 1997, the President’s Award, World Council on Gifted and Talented Education in 2005, the Distinguished Service Award, CEC-TAG, in 2007 and was inducted as an American Educational Research Association (AERA) Fellow in 2010 along with receiving the Distinguished Service Award from NAGC in the same year. In 2011, she received the MENSA Award for Lifetime Achievement in research and service to gifted education. She also has received awards from five states – Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, South Carolina, and Illinois – for her contribution to the field of gifted education in those states. 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 on the talent development process and effective curricular interventions with the gifted. She has served as principal investigator on 62 grants and contracts totalling over $15 million, including eight from the United States Department of Education (USDOE). She holds B.A., M.A., M.Ed., and Ed.D. degrees from the University of Toledo where she also received a Distinguished Achievement Alumna Award in 2002.