Campus News

College of Education welcomes Mark Runco as new professor

College of Education welcomes Mark Runco as new E. Paul Torrance Professor

Athens, Ga. – Nationally recognized creativity researcher Mark A. Runco will be welcomed as the new E. PaulTorrance Professor of Creative Studies and Gifted Education at a reception hosted by the University of Georgia College of Education on Monday, March 16 at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center and Hotel. The reception is scheduled for 7 p.m., following the annual E. Paul Torrance Lecture from 5-6:30 p.m. in Masters Hall.

Runco will serve as senior scholar for UGA’s Gifted and Creative Education Program and executive director of the Torrance Center for Creativity and Talent Development, based in the College of Education’s department of educational psychology and instructional technology, which has a global reputation in the field.

“We are pleased to have Dr. Runco join us. He is a senior scholar with an international reputation in creativity, talent identification and development research, with an ability to disseminate research findings, secure extramural funding and provide leadership in integrating creativity and innovation research across disciplines at UGA,” said Dean Andy Horne.

Runco had been a faculty member in the department of child and adolescent studies at California State University-Fullerton since 1987. He has been editor of the Creativity Research Journal since 1988. The National Association for Gifted Children honored him with the E. Paul Torrance Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000 and the Early Scholar Award in 1993.

In 1997, Runco served as president of the American Psychological Association’s Division 10 and was named a fellow of the division in 1995. He received a Spencer Foundation research grant during 1988-89 and was awarded the Creative Education Foundation Research Award in 1988.

Runco earned his M.A. in 1981 and his Ph.D. in 1984 in psychology from the Claremont Graduate School.

The Torrance Center was established after Torrance’s retirement in 1984 to continue his scholarly inquiry into the study, development and evaluation of gifted and creative abilities in individuals from diverse age groups, cultures and economic backgrounds.

Torrance was known around the world as the “Father of Creativity” for his nearly 60 years of research that became the framework for the field of gifted education. The late UGA professor emeritus of educational psychology invented the benchmark method for quantifying creativity and created the platform for all research on the subject since. The Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking helped shatter the theory that IQ tests alone were sufficient to gauge real intelligence.

He authored dozens of books and more than 2,000 published articles on creativity during the course of his career, making him one of the most published faculty members in UGA’s history.

Torrance served as chair of the department of educational psychology at UGA from 1966-78. He developed the Future Problem Solving Program in 1974 as an academic activity for gifted students at Clarke Central High School in Athens. By 1977, the activities had grown into a year-long program with interscholastic competitions. Today, an estimated 300,000 students in grades K-12 in 41 states and several foreign countries are involved in the future studies and creative problem-solving activities.

The Torrance Center presents the annual E. Paul Torrance Spring Lecture Series and offers opportunities through the Challenge, Summer Challenge, and Visiting Scholars Programs. Through a contract with Duke University, the center also offers Scholar Weekends for academically gifted students in grades 8-11 who have participated in the Duke Seventh Grade Talent Search. In the spring of 2009, the center will begin offering “Academic Adventures” on Saturdays to students from around the state who have participated in the Duke Fourth/Fifth Grade Talent Search.

For more information on the Torrance Center, see