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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 17, 2007

Belin-Blank Center staff receive distinguished service award

The entire staff of the Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development received the Distinguished Service Award from the Iowa Talented and Gifted Association (ITAG) Monday, Oct. 8, during the ITAG State Conference.

ITAG has recognized individuals for their distinguished service in gifted education to the state of Iowa since 1979. However, this is the first year that the Distinguished Service Award was given to an entire organization.

The Belin-Blank Center, which includes 50 faculty, staff and students, was nominated for this award by staff with the Iowa Talented and Gifted Association in recognition of the center's exemplary service and contributions and commitment to Iowa's talented and gifted students.

"Our students are served in many programs throughout the summer and school year because of this awardee.  Many of you have your Talented and Gifted endorsement because of the work of this awardee," said Chris Schultz, ITAG president, in remarks to the group of teachers attending the ITAG conference. "Iowa's students are served in many programs, and many Iowa teachers have Talented and Gifted endorsements because of the center's work and effort. ITAG is proud to have the Belin-Blank Center as our Distinguished Service Awardee for 2007."

Belin-Blank Center staff members said they were honored to receive this distinction from ITAG.

"We are proud to have the efforts of all of the staff-administrative, clerical and student -- recognized," said Susan Assouline, associate director at the Belin-Blank Center. "We are a team, and we work extremely well as a team in fulfilling our mission. Although our work is international in scope, our hearts and minds remain firmly lodged in Iowa."

"It was an honor to be a part of the Belin-Blank Center staff that was recognized by ITAG this year," said Laurie Croft, administrator for professional development at the Belin-Blank Center. "We feel so lucky to have such an active state organization with which we can partner in trying to meet the needs of gifted students."

ITAG is an association of interested parents, educators and concerned citizens dedicated to meeting the needs of talented and gifted children and youth. For more information, visit

The Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development is part of the UI College of Education. For more information on the Belin-Blank Center, visit

Founded in 1872, the University of Iowa College of Education was the nation's first permanent college-level department of education. Since then, the college has gained an international reputation of excellence in programs as diverse as Rehabilitation Counseling, Testing and Measurement, Counseling Psychology, Elementary and Secondary Teacher Education and Higher Education Administration. The College of Education is also home to the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills and the Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Susan Assouline, Belin-Blank Center, 319-335-6130,; Chris Schutz, Iowa Talented and Gifted Association, 712-328-6481,; Lois Gray, University News Services, 319-384-0077,; Writer: Jennifer Ferm