Bookmark and Share
Faculty & Staff Focus, General Information, Honors & Awards, Lectures & Seminars

LSU Education Professor Invited to Speak at Oxford on Talent Development in Olympic Athletes

06/12/2012 09:50 AM

BATON ROUGE – LSU College of Education professor Rita Culross has been invited to speak at the Oxford Roundtable at Harris Manchester College in the University of Oxford in Oxford, England this summer.


The Oxford Roundtable will hold a session devoted to sports and culture July 22-26. Culross will present her paper on the topic “Talent Development and Talent Enhancement of the Olympic Athlete,” just prior to the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, which will be held in London.


Culross will be discussing the talent development of Olympic athletes from the psychological side while drawing on the work of psychologist Jane Piirto, whose research focuses on how top performers in their field develop.


“Piirto talks about talent development as having distinct characteristics within certain domains, like athletics, and so it really got me thinking about how these individuals develop their skill,” Culross said. “A lot of people think, ‘Well they just have a talent. They’re just super-talented in a particular area,’ but it’s a lot more than that in terms of what it takes to become an Olympic athlete.”


Culross will also explore influences like home, school and other factors that make up the core psychological components of the development of athletes.
The roundtable works to promote education, art, science, religion and charity by means of academic conferences and publication of scholarly papers. It is a not-for-profit educational and charitable organization chartered under the laws of England and Wales. The Oxford Roundtable seeks to provide an interdisciplinary forum for the discussion of contemporary issues that affect the public good in all its various forms and ramifications.


As a faculty member of the College of Education since 1990, Culross said her training as a psychologist led to her fascination with gifted individuals and ultimately to her research in the area of exceptional athletes.


“I’m very interested in the social, emotional and psychological side of the athlete,” she said.


According to Culross, her teaching role within the college helps her to prepare her materials for the presentation, and she views the conference as a dual opportunity not only for herself, but for LSU as a whole.


“I was hired specifically in the gifted and talented area to teach a development course on social and emotional development of gifted people, so the preparation for those courses has allowed me to do a lot of research in this area,” said Culross. “The research I do as a faculty member is a huge part of the preparation for things like this. I want the research to be high quality so that it reflects well upon this institution.”


Culross is the Jo Ellen Levy Yates Endowed Professor of Gifted Education in the Department of Educational Theory, Policy & Practice at LSU, where she teaches courses in creative behavior, social and emotional needs of the gifted, developing curriculum for the gifted and the gifted practicum. She also teaches in the women’s and gender studies, or WGS, program at LSU, where she has taught women, gender and leadership, as well as other special topics in WGS. She is a licensed psychologist and nationally certified school psychologist with more than 35 years of experience in higher education.


She has served as the chair of the American Educational Research Association Special Interest Group on Giftedness and Talent, as a member of the American Psychological Association Continuing Education Committee, and for 20 years as a member of various Dean’s Advisory Councils at Purdue University. She currently serves on the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists.


Effective July 1, LSU’s new College of Human Sciences and Education will consist of six schools:  the School of Education, the School of Human Resource Education and Workforce Development, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Library and Information Science, the School of Social Work and the University Laboratory School.


For more information about the LSU College of Education, visit


For more information about the Department of Educational Theory, Policy & Practice, visit

LSU Media Relations