The Professional Development Center (PDC) is the outreach agent of the School of Education and Human Development (SEHD) of the University of Southern Maine. Our mission is to provide innovative and sustained professional development that enables PK-12 educators and school communities to serve the needs of their students.

Course Registration

To start the registration process for any of our Summer 2022 courses, please complete the form at the following link:

PDC Summer 2022 Course Registration form (Google form)

Note: Some PDC courses are offered for undergraduate credit. 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.

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 teacher 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.

Dates: June 27 – July 15, 2022

Class meetings (via Zoom): Monday, June 27 through Friday, July 1 8:00 am – 12:00 pm with solo mindfulness work expected in the afternoons; plus 2 weeks of homework (final paper due July 15)

Location/Format: Online synchronous

Instructor: Nancy Hathaway

Credit: 3 graduate credits (PDS 513) OR 3 undergraduate credits (SBS 420)

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.

Dates: August 1 – August 19, 2022

Class meetings (via Zoom): Monday, August 1 through Friday, August 5 8:00 am – 12:00 pm with solo mindfulness work expected in the afternoons; plus 2 weeks of homework (final paper due August 19)

Location/Format: Online synchronous

Instructor: Nancy Hathaway

Credit: 3 graduate credits (PDS 514) OR 3 undergraduate credits (PDS 414)

PREREQUISITE: PDS 513/SBS 420, PDS 515/415 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 521 Effective Writing Instruction

This course will introduce teachers to practical strategies, activities, and ideas to help motivate their students to become more experienced and proficient writers. Topics to be studied and discussed include daily writing, purpose and audience, choice, teacher modeling, mentor texts, assessment and grading of writing, and using technology to enhance writing instruction. Assignments will be differentiated for teachers depending on their interest and grade level. 

Dates: June 20 – August 5, 2022

Class meetings: No scheduled class meetings. There will be individual Zoom checkins scheduled at the convenience of the student and instructor partway through the course.

Location/Format: Online asynchronous (no “live” class meetings)

Instructor: Paula Boyce

Credit: 3 graduate credits 

Audience: K-12 teachers

PDS 530 Engaging Disengaged Learners – NEW!

This course introduces Alternative Education teachers to an overview of strategies and tools to re-engage disengaged learners guided by the National Alternative Education Association (NAEA) exemplary practices. The course will explore how best practices, such as trauma informed instruction, responsive classroom, service learning, and integrated project-based learning align with the common core principles of the NAEA to encourage quality programming in the 6-12 Alternative Education setting. Learners in the course will also examine the “whys” of disengagement and the “hows” to leverage community resources to increase student engagement.

Dates: July 14 – August 4, 2022

Class meetings: In person Thursdays 8:00 am-2:00 pm 7/14, 7/28, 8/4; Zoom meeting 7/21 2:00-4:30 pm and individual Zoom meetings 8/2

Location/Format: In person; USM Lewiston Campus, room 224

Instructors: TBA

Credit: 3 graduate credits

Audience: Alternative Education educators, and other educators grades 6-12 interested in best practices from the field of alternative education

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.

Dates: July 21 – July 27, 2022

Class meetings: Thu-Fri 7/21-7/22, Mon-Wed 7/25-7/27 8:00 am – 4:00 pm

Location/Format: In-person; USM Portland Campus, Payson-Smith 42

Instructor: Margaret (Peg) Dawson

Credit: 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.

PDS 545 Trauma-Responsive Schooling  – NEW!

In this course participants: 1) consider recent theory and research on childhood adversity, stress, and trauma, including how to promote resilience and healing; and 2) develop knowledge and skills to translate theory and research into practice and systems change to create trauma-responsive classrooms, schools, and districts. The course will also focus on the central role that relationships, equity, and student voice play in trauma-responsive schooling.  Students will engage in a variety of learning activities, including individual reading and reflection, group discussion, critical analysis, and action research. Each student will complete a final project focusing on developing trauma-responsive practices in their respective professional settings.

Dates: July 5 – August 1, 2022

Class meetings (via Zoom): Thursdays 4:00-5:30 pm 7/7, 7/14, 7/21, 7/28

Location/Format: Online synchronous

Instructor: Mark Tappan

Credit: 3 graduate credits

Audience: Practicing educators, all levels


Contact the PDC at or call 207-780-5400.