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Historic gift to launch Woodcock Institute for Advancement of Neurocognitive Research and Applied Practice



Texas Woman’s University gains author of standardized cognitive
and achievement assessment tests used by schools, clinics

DENTON/DALLAS/HOUSTON— A gift of nearly $10 million from a foundation created by world-renowned psychologist and psychometrician Richard W. Woodcock will put Texas Woman’s University at the center of interdisciplinary research into cognitive and achievement assessments and advancing effective clinical practice for two-year-olds to octogenarians.

The gift from the Woodcock-Muñoz Foundation in Nashville, Tenn. is the largest single donation in TWU history.

“Improving the tools by which cognitive abilities are measured has been my life’s work,” Woodcock said. “Texas Woman’s University, with its multidisciplinary approach to education, research and clinical practice, is ideally suited to continue advancing this field and making a profound difference in the lives of others.”

Woodcock, the senior author of the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities and Achievement, is dissolving the Tennessee-based foundation to create an endowment that will fund the new Woodcock Institute for the Advancement of Neurocognitive Research and Applied Practice at TWU. Annual interest generated from this endowment fund, along with about $1 million in annual royalties from his newly updated tests measuring cognitive ability, oral language skills and achievement, will support the growth of this new institute on TWU’s Denton campus.

The Woodcock-Johnson assessments are one of the leading cognitive and achievement evaluations instruments for preschoolers, children, adolescents and adults. They are used by schools and clinics to assist in diagnosing and supporting children with special needs.

Millions of children across the United States have taken the Woodcock-Johnson assessments, which are becoming globally popular as well, from Canada and Spanish-speaking countries, to Jordan, following their translation into Farsi.

“The Woodcock-Johnson suite of assessments has had an extraordinary impact on the educational landscape and serves a valuable function for educators and researchers around the world. They remain the leading individually administered achievement assessment program in the United States,” said Tracey Barrett, vice president for product management and assessments at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. “Dr. Woodcock’s work in the area of intellectual assessments speaks for itself, and the new Woodcock Institute will continue his profound legacy in this field.”

TWU Chancellor and President Carine M. Feyten credited the renowned psychologist’s decision to locate the institute at the university to Daniel C. Miller, professor emeritus and former chair of the university’s psychology and philosophy department.

“Dr. Miller has been an extraordinary TWU faculty member,” Feyten said. “In fact, many call him the ‘Father of Texas School Psychology.’ He has collaborated with Dr. Woodcock for decades on books and research projects, and now our faculty, students, alumni and citizens across Texas and beyond will benefit from their combined expertise, research and continued collaborations here at TWU.”

She said Miller will lead the creation and growth of the institute beginning Sept. 1, and Woodcock will join TWU as a research professor, conducting guest lectures and collaborating with professors and others across the university, Texas communities and beyond.

Miller added, “Dick’s contribution to the field of psychology has been second to none. Many children and families have benefited from his work, and we want to make sure that work continues.”

Miller’s goals for the institute include creation of a clinic on TWU’s Denton campus that will leverage the university’s interdisciplinary resources in psychology, nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, special education, family sciences and more to assess the educational and psychological needs of area children. The university’s psychology department will be the first to participate in the clinic when it opens in Spring 2016, with other academic departments to follow.

The institute also will host a biennial conference where recipients of its foundation grants will present their research findings. The inaugural conference will take place at TWU in Fall 2016.


Media Contact:

Amanda Simpson
Director of Media Relations

page updated 5/9/2016 4:57 PM

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