Mary M. Frasier, an internationally recognized scholar and researcher in gifted education and founder of the Torrance Center for Creativity and Talent Development in the College of Education, died on Feb. 3.
For three decades, Frasier, a professor of educational psychology, brought national and international recognition to the college with her pioneering and highly influential work in identifying and teaching students who are underrepresented in gifted education programs.
As a researcher, scholar and advocate, she had a profound effect on changing the way children are assessed for gifted services. She designed the Frasier Talent Assessment Profile, a comprehensive assessment system with multiple indicators that is much more effective in assessing the gifts and talents of low-income and minority children than the single-indicator tests previously used. She worked with school districts throughout the nation to implement this assessment.
The state of Georgia changed its criteria in large part because of Frasier’s work with the Georgia Department of Education Task Force on the Revision of Rules and Regulations for the Identification of Gifted Students.
Within the college, Frasier played many vital roles. In 1984, she founded the Torrance Center for Creative Studies-named for the late E. Paul Torrance, a Distinguished Professor of Education at UGA and a pioneer in gifted education-and served as its director for its first decade, then again from 1995 to 1997.
The Torrance Center has served many local children, schools and families over the past two decades with a variety of programs, including the Georgia Future Problem Solving Program and the Challenge programs. It has been host for many international and national visiting scholars.
Frasier also served as coordinator of the gifted and creative education program in the College from 1996 to 2000. She was associate director and primary investigator for the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, a consortium of four universities that received $7.5 million in external funding from 1990 to 1995.
May 17, 1938 marks the birth of Mary M. Frasier, an internationally recognized scholar, and researcher in gifted and talented education. She was from Orangeburg (a segregated town), in Orangeburg County, South Carolina. Her high level of intelligence led her to skip two grades, and enroll in college in her junior year. 1984: She founded the Torrance Center for Creative Studies (Named for the late UGA Distinguish professor E. Paul Torrance Distinguished Professor of Education at UGA, and the early pioneer in gifted education).
The Torrance Center has been of service to many local children, schools and families for the past twenty years, through various programs, such as Georgia Future Problem Solving Program and the Challenge programs.
As a researcher, scholar, and advocate, Frasier had insightful influence in altering the way children are addressed for gifted and talented services. She designed the Frasier Talent Assessment Profile (F-TAP), which is an all-inclusive assessment system with several indicators that is more functional in assessing gifted and talented minority and low-income children than those single-indicator tests that were used before. She was of the belief that gifted and talented were not separated, but instead a gifted persons were ones who articulated their talents in diverse areas. She defined gifted individuals as people who have prospective to go to the ultimate in any specific area that best fits their talents or a mixture of talents. Her application of this assessment spanned across school districts in the nation.
Frasier was also influential in having the state of Georgia change its criteria for assessment, through her work with the Georgia department of Education Task Force, on the Revision of Rules and Regulations for the Identification of Gifted Students. She admitted that her mission in life was to find a way to pull data together. As such she became involved in the Jahvist legislation and directed a project at the University of Georgia. There she had the opportunity to gain insight into how they could better identify the gifted LE- limited English students and gifted children with disadvantaged family backgrounds.
The focus of the project was to look at all factors, such as, behaviors and self-perception ability. This, along with her work in core attributes of giftedness, conveyed the success in supporting the state of Georgia into utilizing the multiple criteria. She expressed that in order to make this happen she had to bring in critical research, but also had to convince individuals that this was the way forward.