This quarter, the Morgridge College of Education welcomed Dr. Diana Howard as the new Interim Director for the Ricks Center for Gifted Children. Dr. Howard is a nationally recognized leader in the field of gifted education and brings a wealth of experience to this new position.

Diana Howard photo

The Ricks Center is a pre-eminent program that provides gifted education to about 250 advanced learners ranging from three years of age to eighth grade and serves as a model demonstration site for graduate students. Its mission is, “to provide a dynamic and challenging educational environment that anticipates and responds to the individual, intellectual, social, emotional, physical, aesthetic, and cognitive needs of gifted children.” Dr. Howard’s commitment to gifted education and strategic vision will move the school forward in furthering this mission throughout the remainder of the academic year.

As a University of Denver alum, Dr. Howard graduated with a Ph.D. in Gifted Education and Administration in 1994. Her 24 year career includes studying in Ghana as a Fulbright scholar, a Peace Corps volunteer in Uruguay, and serving as a librarian and facilitator for advanced learners in both private and public schools thought Denver. She has also aided in opening and/or leading schools such as Challenge K-8 in Cherry Creek, Douglass Elementary in Boulder, Polaris at Ebert in Denver and Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy K-12 in Denver. In addition, Dr. Howard has been honored as outstanding Elementary Principal for the State of Colorado with the Wright Way Award in 2004, Colorado Art Education Association’s Award for Distinguished Leadership in the Arts in 2009 and the Gully Stanford Award for Arts Leadership in 2011.

In addition to her current position, Dr. Howard teaches college courses in Arts in Education, Young Gifted Children, Girls and Mathematics, Children’s Literature and Curriculum Integration. Her community involvement includes serving on the boards of VSA/Access Gallery, which serves youth with disabilities, and The Globeville Community Center, which provides education to people in need in the local community. She has also worked with the Denver Art Museum’s Creativity Resource website for teachers, and assisted with launching El Sistema Colorado at Garden Place Academy, which transforms the lives of children living in poverty through music.

This month, the University of Denver will launch a national search for a permanent director for the Ricks Center, with the goal of instating the new director by June 1, 2014.

Nestled in Katherine A. Ruffatto Hall, the Counseling and Educational Services Clinic is the home to in-house clinical training and research for students in the Counseling Psychology and Child, Family and School Psychology programs. For 17 years, the clinic has been providing counseling, assessments and consultations to members of the community on a sliding scale basis, giving the opportunity for a variety of counseling and educational support services to underprivileged individuals and families who may not be able to afford them otherwise. Counseling services offered at the clinic range from depression to anxiety, parenting to career counseling and are given in a variety of settings: individual, group, couples, and family counseling. Educational services offered at the clinic range from learning disabilities to behavioral issues to gifted learning.

Learning InContext

For every hour in class, a Morgridge student spends 4 hours a week in the clinic. With state-of-the-art live observation rooms, MCE students are learning InContext with a real client, supervisor and student team. The students have the benefit of getting team feedback during their client’s session, giving them the opportunity to make immediate adjustments in their practice. The clients of the in-house training clinic have the benefit of the collective intelligence of 4-6 people working on their case at the same time. This type of live supervision and feedback is unique to Morgridge College of Education’s School and Counseling Psychology Department.
The Counseling branch of the clinic at Morgridge College of Education is the largest provider of treatment services for problem gambling in the state of Colorado. Director of the Problem Gambling Treatment and Research Center and MCE adjunct professor, Michael Faragher, is one of only two psychologists certified to treat problem gambling in Colorado. Faragher’s work has provided a unique opportunity in behavioral psychology specialization for MCE students and to the Denver community, as well as leading research that continues to develop and change the field of Addiction Counseling.

The clinic’s other supervisors and their students are continuing research on treatment preference and treatment effectiveness. The research on treatment preference involves the client in the process of selecting treatment methods, resulting in a more invested client and more desirable treatment outcomes. The clinic’s research helps maintain an active role in giving presentations and publishing work contributing to the advancement of counseling services. Within the clinic, there are also several other research opportunities that support dissertations of CP and CFSP doctoral students.

CP InContext

 The Educational Services branch of the clinic serves children and young adults, up to age 21, with achievement, learning and behavioral disabilities. Through state-of-the art, research-based services, MCE students and licensed clinic supervisors provide psycho-educational assessments, consultations and recommendations for the youth, their families and their school.

New to the clinic is a Parenting Group that unifies the clinic’s two focuses – Counseling Psychology and School Psychology. By offering a Parenting Group, the clinic is able to provide support, skills and techniques for parents who have children with learning disabilities.

The clinic is expanding by adding more operating hours each year. Contact 303-871-2528 for questions or to schedule an appointment, or come by the clinic at:

University of Denver
Morgridge College of Education
Katherine A. Ruffatto Hall, First Floor
1999 East Evans Avenue
Denver, CO 80208-1700


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