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USM gifted ed program ranked nationally

Photo courtesy of TeleSouth Communications Inc.

The University of Southern Mississippi was recently selected as having one of the Best Master’s in Gifted and Talented Education Programs for 2019 by, a non-profit company designed to provide information about online degree programs nationwide.

In addition to being ranked 13th in the nation by the company, it was also named the Most Military Friendly online program in gifted and talented education.

Gifted Education is one of four emphasis areas in the USM School of Education’s special education master’s, specialist, and doctoral programs. The University’s Frances A. Karnes Center for Gifted Studies plays an integral part in the curriculum for the graduate degree offerings in gifted education, as its Summer Gifted Studies Program hosts graduate students for their practicum experiences.

Dr. Heather Houston, director of the Center since 2017, said she is particularly proud of the military distinction because of her family’s ties to the U.S. Air Force.

“I know how hard it is for military families to access the educational opportunities they’re seeking, and am truly grateful Southern Miss values service members and their spouses in such a meaningful way,” said Houston.

The Karnes Center is the first of its kind in Mississippi and will be celebrating its 40thanniversary later this year.

Many of the courses offered in the Center’s summer programs will focus on the spirit of pioneering in honor of its namesake, Dr. Frances A. Karnes, a longtime and staunch advocate for gifted education in the state of Mississippi for decades. Dr. Karnes was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association for Gifted Children in 2015.

“The Center has shown a dramatic increase in return clients over the past two years,” indicated Dr. Houston, “I’m confident that is indicative of our potential to celebrate many more years to come.”

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