Torrance, E(llis) Paul 1915-2003

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TORRANCE, E(llis) Paul 1915-2003


See index for CA sketch: Born October 6, 1915, in Milledgeville, GA; died of complications from pneumonia July 12, 2003, in Athens, GA. Psychologist, educator, and author. Torrance was a psychology professor who became famous for developing the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking. His teaching career began even before he was out of college, when he taught for a year at the Midway Vocational High School in his hometown from 1936 to 1937. His interest in student creativity began at Georgia Military College, where he was a teacher, counselor, and principal from 1937 to 1944. At Georgia Military he noticed that some teenagers who were not academically successful were actually very creatively intelligent; he consequently developed his first creativity test in 1943 to measure this correlation. The next year he earned a master's degree from the University of Minnesota. While working on his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan, he worked as a counselor at Kansas State University, becoming director of its Counseling Bureau from 1949 to 1951. After completing his doctorate in 1951, he was director of the U.S. Air Force's Survival Research Field Unit for six years, and it was while there that Torrance further developed his creativity test. Some have criticized the test because it de-emphasizes knowledge in favor of creativity, while others have even blamed the test for lowering students' SAT scores. However, many educators consider it a useful tool, especially when used in conjunction with other intelligence-measuring tests. Torrance became a professor of educational psychology at the University of Minnesota in 1958, then joined the faculty at the University of Georgia, where he eventually retired in 1984. In addition to his creativity test, he developed the Future-Problem-Solving program in 1974; this program organizes some 300,000 students from around the world in performing tasks involving creative problem-solving. As an author, Torrance published dozens of books, including Guiding Creative Talent (1962), Creative Learning and Teaching (1970), Search for Creativity (1979), Mentor Relationships (1984), and The Manifesto: A Guide to Developing a Creative Career (2002). He was honored in 1984 when the University of Georgia named the Torrance Center for Creative Studies after him; among his many other honors, he was also named to the Hall of Fame of the National Association for Creative Children and Adults.



Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 16, 2003, p. B6.

Los Angeles Times, July 18, 2003, p. B13.

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Torrance, E(llis) Paul 1915-2003

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