Professional Development Center

Spring 2021 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.

USM sign - Gorham campus

Some 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 513 Integrating Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction & Social Emotional Intelligence in the Classroom

Students will develop Mindfulness skills to integrate into the school setting for themselves and for their students. The emphasis is on integrating Mindfulness into the classroom through modeling to help develop emotional and social skills.

Class # 69948; Nancy Hathaway, instructor; 3 graduate credits; online synchronous via Zoom
Tuesdays 4:30-7:30 pm: Feb 2, 9, 23, Mar 2, 9, 23, 30, Apr 6, 2021 (plus Sat Mar 27 8 am-1 pm); some asynchronous work expected

Registration form (PDF)


*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.

Class # 69949; Clare Thomas-Pino, instructor; 3 graduate credits*; online asynchronous
January 25 - April 30, 2021

*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 634 Seminar in Literacy Research

The course provides a cultural-historical lens to literacy and reviews current research trends in literacy theory and practice. Students will review and analyze contemporary research. This course is intended to be the last class in the literacy education master's sequence (except EDU 639); CAS students may request permission to enroll. Prerequisites: By program permission. Cr 3.

Class notes: Class is primarily for students in the Oxford Hills Master's in Literacy cohort. Email the PDC for permission to register.


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. 3 cr.

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: