July 7, 1936 –
American Educational Psychologist


  • Student of:
  • Influenced by:
  • Students:
  • Influenced:
  • Time Period: Current Efforts


  • Glassboro State College, B.A., 1958
  • Rutgers University, M.Ed. in Ed. Psych., 1962
  • Univ. of Virginia, Ed.D. in Ed. Psych., 1966


  • 1958-1963, Teacher, Ocean Township, New Jersey
  • 1966-1996, Professor of Educational Psychology, The University of Connecticut
  • 1996-, Raymond and Lynn Neag Professor of Gifted Education, The University of Connecticut,

Major Contributions

Three-ring model of giftedness promoted a broadened conception of giftedness. Schoolwide Enrichment Model has become one of the most popular programs for developing children’s talents.

Ideas and Interests

Influenced by Dewey, Whitehead, Phenix, and others, Prof. Renzulli’s broadened conception of giftedness, with its emphasis on above average ability, creativity, and task commitment, has been instrumental in changing educators’ views of intellectual talent. Using his educational models (e.g., the Schoolwide Enrichment Model), thousands of teachers have applied Dr. Renzulli’s theoretical work to the classroom, where it has become very popular and influential.

Renzulli’s conception and models are significant because they encouraged people to move away from Spearman’s view of a psychometric, unitary intelligence to a more malleable conception that allowed for diverse forms of assessment information.


  • Renzulli, J.S. (1978). What Makes Giftedness? Reexamining a Definition. Phi Delta Kappan, 60(3), 180-184, 261.
  • Renzulli, J.S. (1994). Schools for talent development: A practical plan for total school improvement. Mansfield Center, CT: Creative Learning Press.
  • Renzulli, J.S., & Reis, S.M. (1985). The schoolwide enrichment model: A comprehensive plan for educational excellence. Mansfield Center, CT: Creative Learning Press.


Picture courtesy of Joseph S. Renzulli.

Personal Communication, April 29, 1998.