The Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development is dedicated to serving the needs of the gifted community at local, national, and international levels. It offers programs for preservice and inservice educators, including the State of Iowa Talented and Gifted Endorsement. Its online and on-campus courses about the nature and needs of gifted learners, as well as about ways to facilitate talent development, support the professional development of educators worldwide.
The center is home to the Assessment and Counseling Clinic and the Acceleration Institute. The center also administers the College of Education's Honors Opportunity Program, through which qualified undergraduate students in education work toward graduation with collegiate honors.
Precollege Program Offerings
The Belin-Blank Center offers a wide variety of programs for precollege students.
Belin-Blank Exceptional Student Talent Search (BESTS)
BESTS (grades 4-9) helps determine talented students' academic abilities and needs.
Blast (grades 2-6) is a nonresidential summer program for Belin-Blank Exceptional Student Talent Search members that offers two weeks of half-day classes in Iowa City.
Bucksbaum Early Entrance Academy
The Bucksbaum Early Entrance Academy (grade 10 or 11) gives high-achieving students the opportunity to enroll at the University of Iowa before they finish high school. The Academy provides top students with a high-level curriculum and research opportunities while supporting them through the transition from high school to university. To enter the program, students must have completed grade 10 or the equivalent. The program is open to high-ability students worldwide.
As one of the state’s original science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs, Invent Iowa is a comprehensive statewide program developed to support educators in promoting the invention process as part of their kindergarten through high school curriculum. Invent Iowa was initiated in 1987 through the support of state political, business, and educational leaders in response to rapidly expanding technology. Since 1999, the Invent Iowa program has been a part of the Belin-Blank Center. The center promotes the use of Invent Iowa curriculum in programming for whole classes, specific groups, or individuals.
Junior Science and Humanities Symposium
The Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (grades 9-12) engages students in original research and experimentation in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math). Students present the results of their research to a panel of judges and an audience of their peers at the Iowa Regional Junior Science and Humanities Symposium. The top two presenters are invited to present at the national symposium.
Scholastic Art & Writing Awards
The Belin-Blank Center is proud to serve as the Iowa and Midwest region at-large affiliate for the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards (grades 7-12), which recognizes achievement in the literary and visual arts. The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards program is the nation’s longest-running, largest, and most prestigious recognition program for creative teens. Over the past 90 years, the Awards have recognized and encouraged artists and writers such as Sylvia Plath, Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Robert Redford, Tom Otterness, Zac Posen, among countless others.
Weekend Institute for Gifted Students
The Weekend Institute for Gifted Students (grades 2-8) offers three-hour Saturday classes in Iowa City for high-ability students.
The Belin-Blank Center also offers the following residential programs, which are held on the University of Iowa campus during summer. Students in each program participate in cultural and recreational activities and have access to the University's libraries, computer facilities, and study areas. Housing and meals are provided at the University's residence halls.
Blank Summer Institute
The Blank Summer Institute for the Arts & Sciences (BSI) is a one-week program that provides an intensive, advanced educational experience designed to enhance exceptionally talented students' intellectual and social growth. The BSI study plan complements the regular school curriculum. Students are nominated for one of eight courses that explore advanced science, math problem solving, social sciences, creative writing, invention and innovation, visual arts, performing arts, and global and cultural studies.
To be eligible for BSI, students must be Iowa residents, must be completing grade 7 or 8, and must be nominated by their schools. Students selected for BSI receive a scholarship to cover part of the institute's cost.
Junior Scholars Institute
The Junior Scholars Institute (JSI) is a one-week program in which students take a single advanced course for the entire week. Students choose from courses on subjects ranging from creative writing to engineering to the arts.
JSI is open to students from around the world. To be eligible, students must be completing grade 6, 7, or 8. They may nominate themselves and must submit a nomination packet. Students selected for JSI receive a scholarship to cover part of the institute's cost.
Perry Research Scholars Institute
Students completing grade 8, 9, or 10 may apply for the Perry Research Scholars Institute (PRSI), a two-week residential summer academic program. PRSI students experience first-hand the wide variety of research that takes place at a research intensive university.
Summer Residency in Art or Writing
The Summer Residency in Art or Writing offers a three-week residential program for students completing grade 9, 10, or 11. The two programs immerse students in the creative environments of the University of Iowa’s world-class faculty in art or writing. Out of class opportunities include evening tours, lectures, and events that are designed to stretch the developing artist or writer.
Secondary Student Training Program
Students completing grade 10 or 11 may apply for the Secondary Student Training Program (SSTP), a five and one-half-week residential summer research program. SSTP students conduct research in university research groups under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Students earn 3 s.h. of academic credit. Visit the SSTP website to learn more about the program, including eligibility and application.
For more information about the center and its programs, contact the Belin-Blank Center or visit its website.
Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education Courses
BBC:1000 Bucksbaum Academy Second-Year Seminar1 s.h.
Unites self-efficacy skills attained in first-year seminar experience with exploration of how to foster more fulfilling and productive lives; understanding and development of high potential; for Bucksbaum Academy second-year students and early-entrance program supported by the Belin-Blank Center.
BBC:1001 Summer Art Residency2 s.h.
Partnership between Belin-Blank Center and the UI School of Art and Art History; designed for talented high school artists from across the country; taught by faculty, staff, and graduate students from the School of Art and Art History and special visiting artists.
BBC:1002 Summer Writing Residency2 s.h.
Partnership between Belin-Blank Center and the UI undergraduate creative writing program; designed for talented high school writers from across the country; taught by faculty, staff, and graduate students from the English department, Iowa Writers' Workshop, and special visiting authors.