E. Paul Torrance

Photo-of-Dr.-Torrance

The following is an excerpt from The College of Education Online News from the University of Georgia:

“E. Paul Torrance dedicated his life’s energies toward enhancing the recognition, acceptance, and development of the creative personality in both education and the workplace. Aside from his indefatigable effort being missed with his passing, the void of his personal warmth, authenticity, and devotion to humanity – particularly toward children and youth – makes the world a far more barren place. Already I miss his presence, and I know that the thousands whose lives he touched directly and indirectly must feel the same sense of emptiness,” said Richard Olenchak, professor, psychologist, director of the University of Houston’s Urban Talent Research Institute, and president-elect of the National Association for Gifted Children.

In addition to developing the most widely used tests of creativity, Torrance also created the Future Problem Solving Program, and developed the Incubation Model of Teaching. 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.

He remained prolific after his retirement, writing several new books on creativity.   Some of his best known books are Guiding Creative Talent, Rewarding Creative Behavior, The Search for Satori and Creativity, The Incubation Model of Teaching, Mentor Relationships and Why Fly?  His most recent books are such co-authored works as Gifted and Talented Children in the Regular Classroom, Multicultural Mentoring of the Gifted and Talented, Making the Creative Leap Beyond, and Spiritual Intelligence: Developing Higher Consciousness.

Torrance’s 2001 book, Manifesto: A Guide to Developing a Creative Career, includes the results of his 40-year longitudinal study of creativity – the only one of its kind.

A film,  Manifesto for Children, documenting Torrance’s life and work was broadcast on Georgia Public TV in the fall of 2000. The documentary focused on the longitudinal study which followed 215 young adults who attended two elementary schools in Minnesota from 1958 to 1964.

The students were given creativity tests each year and were followed up with a questionnaire in 1980. On the basis of their responses, the Manifesto was developed to describe their ongoing struggle to maintain their creativity and use their strengths to create their careers and provide guidance to children.

In 1998, the participants were followed up to get a picture of their creative achievements and to validate the Manifesto. Some of the 101 respondents had attained eminence, while others had attained only mediocre careers.

“I suppose creativity is a part of intellect, but there are many abilities involved in intellect,” said Torrance in a March 2001 Georgia Magazine story. “For the full development of creativity in children and adults, I am convinced they have a better chance in life if their best abilities are identified and encouraged.

“Originally, people thought a test could not be created. One issue was creating a test anyone could respond to – regardless of previous experiences. We did that and now the test has been translated into over 50 languages.”

Heightened awareness of the importance of creativity led to the development of gifted programs all over the world. In Georgia, a student’s success on the Torrance Tests is key to admission into gifted programs – which exist because every school system is charged with targeting students’ learning levels.