The Professional Development Initiatives for Educators (PDI) program at Saint Mary’s University believes that professional development programs should have a results-driven approach, where teachers and their students demonstrate the outcomes of professional development initiatives. Guided by best practice, responsiveness, and relevancy, the Professional Development Initiatives for Educators program provides graduate-level professional development courses and programs for K-12 educators.
The PDI program designs, delivers, and supports professional development courses and programs through the Graduate Professional Development for Educators (GPDE) program each semester. Courses in the GPDE program are offered for practicing educators and master’s level degree-seeking students. The PDI program also collaborates with schools and/or districts in developing frameworks for transformative professional development. Such programs should stimulate and support site-based and teacher-generated professional learning meant to improve and transform practice. The PDI program collaborates with affiliate programs for the delivery of relevant professional development courses to support practicing teachers.
Professional programs that are grounded in knowledge about teaching and learning and demonstrate respect for teachers as professionals and adult learners are central to the Professional Development Initiatives program at Saint Mary’s University. Above all, Saint Mary’s University believes teachers need to embed their learning in their teaching and become teachers as inquirers, collaborators, and leaders.
Aligning with the mission of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, the Professional Development Initiatives program provides relevant and rigorous academic experiences for adult learners through an integration of practical, professional, and ethical education offered in dynamic and caring environments as part of the Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs. Such initiatives promote individual growth and organizational development.
Congruent with what research on professional development reports, the Professional Development Initiatives for K-12 Educators program has identified the following outcomes for professional development learning opportunities it supports. The Professional Development Initiatives program invites and challenges teachers to do the following:
- Engage in collegial learning that reflects the values of a professional learning community where they learn from and with one another.
- Follow an inquiry-based model that connects their professional development needs to their classrooms.
- Participate in inquiry that deepens their understanding of teaching and learning in a meaningful, complex, and sustainable manner.
- Engage in ongoing reflection and dialogue to develop and demonstrate understanding about their practice.
- Connect their learning to their curriculum by deepening their understanding of their subject matter.
- Connect professional practice to educational research and standards for learning and content areas (as appropriate to the focus of the professional development).
- Apply their learning to their teaching, site-based, and district initiatives.
- Engage in assessment of learning prior to, throughout, and after the professional learning experience.
- Document evidence of their understanding in an ongoing way.
- Document the impact their learning has on their students’ achievement.
- Share their learning with other educators.
Graduate Professional Development Courses
The Graduate Professional Development for Educators (GPDE) program at Saint Mary’s University offers professional development courses each semester for educators who are seeking to advance their understanding of best practices and research. The GPDE program structures its courses so that educators directly apply their learning to their teaching and focus their understanding on student achievement in K-12 classrooms.
The GPDE program provides general elective courses for the Master of Education in Teaching and Learning program at Saint Mary’s University. Participants in other master degree programs need to consult with their program director as to the transferability of the GPDE courses. The GPDE courses are also open to educators seeking license renewal credits and/or the knowledge and skills to enhance their teaching.
School Based Initiatives
The GPDI program serves the professional development needs of teachers and schools as schools move toward more school/district initiated professional learning. The GPDI program collaborates with schools and districts to support the professional development needs of teachers and schools by aligning graduate credit for site-based initiatives, customizing credit options to support district initiatives, and/or tailoring Saint Mary’s University courses and/or programs to meet the needs of educators within their own school settings.
MN Teacher License Renewal Seminars
The PDI Program offers seminars once each semester which fulfill the state-required areas of study for Minnesota Teacher Relicensure, including Reading Preparation; Key Signs of Mental Illness with Suicide Prevention; Accommodation, Modification & Adaptation of Curriculum; and Positive Behavior Intervention Strategies. PDI also aligns graduate credit options for further investigation and implementation of any seminar for those who may require additional professional development for relicensure.
Courses in the PDI programs are open to practicing K-12 educators and those who are master’s degree-seeking students at Saint Mary’s University. Those students not enrolled in a graduate program will be admitted as non-degree-seeking students. Visit gpde.smumn.edu or pdi.smumn.edu to learn more about registration and admission processes.