Norma Lu Hafenstein, Ph.D.


Dr. Hafenstein is the Ricks Endowed Chair of Gifted Education and Director of the Institute for the Development of Gifted Education at the Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver. In 1998, she established the Institute for the Development of Gifted Education through a gift from The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. The Institute conducts and publishes research, publishes curriculum units and educational monographs, and organizes outreach programs to augment resources available for educating gifted children. As Clinical Professor in the Curriculum, Studies and Teaching Department, Norma is Lead Faculty for the Gifted Education program, advising master’s- and doctoral-degree students in education of the gifted, and teaching graduate courses—including Nature and Needs of Gifted Children, Creativity: Theory and Practice, Psychological Aspects of the Gifted, Curriculum for the Gifted, Program Development, Leadership and Communication in Gifted Education, and Practicum Supervision in Gifted Education. Dr. Hafenstein worked collaboratively with the Colorado Department of Education in developing an Education Doctorate that is delivered online to graduate students across the state of Colorado. She also serves as a member of the Colorado Department of Education’s Gifted and Talented Endorsement Standards Committee. In 1984, Dr. Hafenstein founded the Ricks Center for Gifted Children at the University of Denver and was Director for 29 years. Her research interests include young gifted children, information-processing styles, social and emotional development, mathematical ability, individualized educational planning, program effectiveness and adult and generational giftedness. Dr. Hafenstein was the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from Emporia State University in 2012. She received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented in 2006. In 2005, Norma was presented with the Founder’s Day Distinguished Service to the University Award. Dr. Hafenstein loves music, is a classically trained pianist, currently performs in a women’s choir, directs a community choir and is an avid reader. She and her husband have two grown gifted children.

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