Professional Development Center

Spring 2020 Courses

The Professional Development Center (PDC) is the inservice agent of the School of Education and Human Development (SEHD) of the University of Southern Maine. Its mission is to provide sustained, high-quality professional development that enables K-12 educators and human resource professionals to continue learning throughout their careers.

Spring shrubs

Most of the courses below are offered as part of our cohort plans (although usually open to any interested students as space allows). Contact us today to design a cohort for your district and:

  • work alongside your district / school colleagues toward a certificate or higher degree
  • take courses by USM instructors at your own school sites
  • tailor your USM experience to what the students in YOUR district need


*PDS 525 Introduction to Green Care

Want to learn more about combining nature, gardening, and animals with education, health, and wellness?

This course will provide an introduction to Green Care interventions within a wide range of counseling, educational and healthcare contexts, with an emphasis on social therapeutic horticulture/horticultural therapy, nature and wilderness therapy, ecotherapy, animal assisted therapy, and care farming. The focus of the course will be on Nature Based interventions. The goal of the course is for students to gain a basic understanding of green care, the use of nature and farms for social, psychological, emotional, developmental, and/or physical benefits.

ONLINE; Clare Thomas-Pino, instructor

*This course is offered as a 3-credit graduate course, but it is also available in a modified format for Continuing Educaiton Units (CEUs). This is a more cost-effective option for tight budgets - $600 for 3.5 CEUs. See the documents below for more information. Contact the PDC at or 207-780-5400 with questions or to register.

Course flyer (PDF)

Registration form - for graduate credit (PDF)

Registration form - for CEUs (PDF)

Information about CEUs - see the top of the linked page

Cohort Courses

EDU 621 Literacy Problems: Assessment and Instruction

This course conceptualizes reading assessment as a process of becoming informed about learners. The course focuses on the development of diagnostic insights and corrective strategies for struggling readers of all ages. Current trends from research and practice are explored. Case studies and in-class practice help teachers implement effective procedures in the classroom.

Class notes: Class is meeting in Oxford Hills (email the PDC for permission to attend)

EDU 670 Introduction to Educational Leadership

This course is designed to be the first course taken in the educational leadership program which may lead to certification as a principal, special education director, or curriculum coordinator. The course has two major foci: the characteristics of good leadership and the skills of effective educational leadership. Since many students who enroll in this course are exploring a career transition into administration, a goal of the course is to give participants a clear understanding of the decisions faced by educational leaders, the skills and knowledge necessary to perform effectively, and to give participants an opportunity to explore strategies for balancing the demands of the job, personal commitments, and responsibilities.

Class notes: Class is for Leaders for Tomorrow's Schools cohort students and meets in Scarborough (email the PDC for permission to attend)

EDU 679 Evaluation and Supervision of Teaching

This is an introductory course focused on evaluating and supervising teaching performance. As the teaching students may supervise ranges from preschool through adult education in a variety of subject areas, this course offers a framework of supervisory concepts and asks students to apply these concepts to the settings and clientele they would likely encounter. The major product of this course is a platform for articulating one's beliefs and espoused practices for evaluating and supervising teaching in a setting specified by the student.

Class notes: Class is meeting at Noble Middle School (email the PDC for permission to attend)

PDS 555 Special Education Mentorship

PDS 555 is a semester-long online course taken in conjunction with a supervised school- or agency-based mentorship for conditionally certified teachers participating in the Maine Alternative Certification and Mentoring program (MACM). Topics and activities for the course are determined by the MACM program.

Class notes: This course is open to teachers in the Maine Alternative Certification and Mentoring (MACM) program ONLY. It is not for transitionally certified OR new conditionally certified teachers who are also enrolled in a pre-service or certificate program and are enrolled in an internship/student teaching semester. FMI, please contact Valerie Smith at or visit the MACM site: