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             - About the Professor Garfield Foundation -

Who We Are

The Professor Garfield Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) educational collaboration between Paws, Inc., the global headquarters for Garfield the Cat, and Ball State University, a nationally recognized leader in teacher training and digital education.

The Literacy Problem in the US

    Literacy is the foundation for all learning, yet nearly 40% of all fourth graders in the United States read below the basic level.

Our Mission

Our mission, therefore, is to be a world leader in the direct, free delivery of innovative and motivational digital learning content with a primary emphasis on children's literacy and creative expression.

Initially, we will accomplish this by creating fun and educationally sound interactive activities and games where kids like to play -- on the Internet -- supplemented with standards-based resources for teachers, parents and mentors.

Within ten years, we believe our edutainment site will be regarded as the leading free resource and authority in literacy as demonstrated by visitors, measurable outcomes, and global impact.

Foundation History and Current Status

To blend humor with the power of the Internet as an educational tool, Jim Davis came upon the idea of the Professor Garfield learning portal. Jim knew that three key ingredients were necessary to establish a solid foundation for the effort:

  1. Creative, humorous elements to engage the attention of learners.
  2. A nationally prominent educational institution to provide expertise in educational content, delivery, and assessment.
  3. Technological expertise.

For the first element, Jim knew that he could draw upon the resources of the creative powerhouse of Paws, Incorporated, the company he formed to own, manage, and direct the worldwide "Garfield" entertainment property, boasting the most widely syndicated comic strip in the world, and a licensing operation that reaches over 100 countries with more than 400 license agreements.

For the second and third elements, he needed to look no further than his alma mater, Ball State University. Ball State has both the capability and the commitment to guide the content development process and to enrich the product through its expertise in educational technology. The combined technology capacity of Paws and Ball State University bring to this product an unparalleled level of excellence.

The partnership between PGF, Paws, and Ball State guarantees that academic legitimacy is achieved in an entertaining format. The foundation has been set for a revolutionary educational experience for children of all ages. Paws provides exclusive licensing rights for use of the "Garfield" characters by this independent not-for-profit corporation, together with creative support, the intent and purpose of which is the establishment of the premier Internet portal with a free and enjoyable pathway to learning for children, parents, mentors, and educators. Ball State University will be primarily responsible for the selection and development of the educational content and assessment methodologies.

Our Educational Content Partners

Ball State University

With 950 full-time faculty and 20,600 graduate and undergraduate students, Ball State is a Carnegie Research Level I Intensive University with areas of excellence in teacher education, computer science, telecommunications, and digital media.

The University's expertise and long tradition in teacher education will ensure that ProfessorGarfield.com delivers an effective curriculum that is pedagogically sound. The University will provide the academic guidance and pedagogy to make sure that the content of the Professor Garfield website represents the very best academic curricula in the digital context along with appropriate assessment criteria. In addition to enrolling their staff and state-of-the-art technology, they will involve both graduate and undergraduate students in the development of Professor Garfield.

In addition, Ball State University is an international leader in digital technologies for education, as evidenced, for example, by its Center for Media Design (funded by two $20 million grants from Lilly Endowment), Teachers College (home of "the electronic field trip" sponsored by Best Buy), and "Digital Middletown" (a demonstration project testing exceptionally powerful broadband access connecting schools and homes in neighborhoods).

Paws Incorporated

Paws, Incorporated is the creative force behind the worldwide "Garfield" entertainment property. Being the most widely syndicated comic strip in the world, Garfield is the perfect character to assist with interactive and off-line engaging educational content. Jim Davis, the creator of Garfield, has long held the belief that the comics are not only a way to a child's heart and funny bone, but also a student's brain. He has received literally thousands of letters expressing surprise and gratitude for the ability of Garfield and his humor to "hook" kids on reading and help struggling students.

Teacher Gaming Network

After 15 years of developing interactive games for the K-12 classroom, the FTC Family of Companies has launched the Teacher Gaming Network. The Teacher Gaming Network (TGN) is an online resource where teachers can create and share interactive games, utilizing their curriculum content. Professor Garfield and TGN have partnered to offer Professor Garfield educators a customized online platform for creating their own games, and will even provide an opportunity for educators to add their own content to some of the most popular game activities from the Professor Garfield site.


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