Professional Development Center

Summer 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 PK-12 educators and human resource professionals to continue learning throughout their careers.

Student with laptop in grass


Course Registration

To start the registration process for any of our Summer 2021 courses, please complete the form at the following link:

PDC Summer 2021 Course Registration form (Google form)


Some PDC courses are being offered for undergraduate credit starting in Summer 2021. Most educational professionals (including teachers) will likely still choose to take courses for graduate credit for recertification and development purposes through their school district. Undergraduate credit is offered as an option for non-professionals or anyone else for whom graduate credit is not as important.

PDC Summer 2021 Course Flyer


Course Descriptions


PDS 513 / SBS 420 Integrating Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction & Social Emotional Intelligence in the Classroom

This course provides training in Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction for teachers, counselors, and psychologists in school settings. Students learn Mindfulness techniques for themselves and for their students as well as for their relationships with colleagues. Through Mindfulness exercises and practice, group and dyad discussions, presentations, readings, and talks by the instructor, students will develop Mindfulness skills to integrate into the school setting for themselves as teachers and for students. The emphasis is on integrating Mindfulness into the classroom through modeling and seamlessly bringing Mindfulness to help students develop emotional and social skills. These skills help children thrive and as well give them a solid foundation for their academic studies.

June 28-July 2, 2021; Nancy Hathaway, instructor; online-live (synchronous); 8:30am-12:30pm Zoom sessions each day*; 3 graduate credits (PDS 513) OR 3 undergraduate credits (SBS 420)

*As well as solo work/practice expected in the afternoons

Audience: Practicing educators, all levels (including non-teaching personnel like educational technicians)


PDS 514 / 414 Integrating Mindfulness-based Compassionate Communication into Education

Mindfulness serves as the foundation for learning Mindfulness-based Compassionate Communication. Having a foundation in mindfulness knowledge, study, practice, and skills, the student will have the essential beginnings to study and practice this language which has as its core empathy for oneself and others and one's experience rather than from evaluation, blame, advice, judgments. This language is conducive to use in all aspects of education as it gives language to respect, non-judgment, compassion for self and others whether students, colleagues, school staff, and parents. This is a language of connection built upon equality rather than a language of power-over, with the intention of meeting the needs of all people, including the needs of those in conflict, going from disconnection to connection between self, other, and groups.

August 16-20, 2021; Nancy Hathaway, instructor; online-live (synchronous); 8:30am-12:30pm Zoom sessions each day*; 3 graduate credits (PDS 514) OR 3 undergraduate credits (PDS 414)

*As well as solo work/practice expected in the afternoons

Prerequisites: PDS 513 or other 3-credit or week-long Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction course (UMA/USM/UM) or Instructor permission.

Audience: Practicing educators, all levels (including non-teaching personnel like educational technicians)


PDS 522 Empowering Confident Writers through Writer's Workshop [** NEW! **]

The purpose of this course is to immerse teachers in a writing workshop in order to cultivate and sharpen their writing skills and gain confidence in their writing and presenting skills in order to empower their students into becoming self-assured writers and presenters both in the classroom and online. Participants will be introduced to the philosophy of the writer's workshop, engaging in praxis of a writer's workshop. They will work independently and collaboratively experimenting with different genres, peer editing strategies, and mentoring styles. Realistic methods of studying literacy and language learning in classroom contexts will be emphasized. Each teacher will be responsible for designing and publishing an online writer's portfolio with mixed writing genres. In addition, teachers will design a writer's workshop curriculum that matches their student demographics. The class will function as a community of writers and peer editors; a substantial portion of class time will be spent writing and presenting.

July 6-August 20, 2021; Jane Fullerton, instructor; online (mix of synchronous and asynchronous with Zoom class meetings Tuesdays July 6, July 20, August 3, August 17 from 8-10:30 am); 3 graduate credits

Audience: Teachers, grades 5-12


PDS 540 / 440 Executive Skills: Practical Strategies for Assessment and Intervention

Executive skills are a set of brain-based skills that underlie virtually everything we ask students to do in school. This course will provide an introduction to executive skills, beginning with what the skills are, how they develop across childhood, and how they impact school performance in profound ways. From there, the discussion will move to how executive skills can be assessed in meaningful ways, and what kinds of strategies teachers and other educational or mental health professionals can use to promote executive skill development in struggling learners. Course participants will have the opportunity to practice intervention design incorporating an array of methods and techniques, including how to modify environments for students with weak executive skills, how to teach executive skills directly, and how to identify motivators that encourage students to engage in practice to improve executive skills. The course will also introduce participants to a coaching model that holds particular promise for enhancing executive skills.

July 29 - August 4, 2021 (Thu 7/29, Fri 7/30, Mon 8/2, Tue 8/3, Wed 8/4); 8:00am - 4:00pm; IN PERSON; USM Portland Campus, Payson-Smith #1

Margaret (Peg) Dawson, instructor; 3 graduate credits (PDS 540) OR 3 undergraduate credits (PDS 440)*

Audience: Practicing educators, all levels (including non-teaching personnel like educational technicians) 

*This course is offered as a 3-credit graduate/undergraduate course, but it is also available in a modified format for CEUs. This is a more cost-effective option for tight budgets or for out-of-state students - $600 for 3.5 CEUs.


Contact the PDC at or call 207-780-5400 to leave a voicemail.