PDI Program FAQ

The following questions and answers should provide information about the PDI program. Please let us know what other questions you may have.

What does the Professional Development Initiatives (PDI) program do?
The PDI program collaborates with schools and districts to help bring quality, professional development opportunities to the school site or regional location. Through that collaborative process, PDI partners may align graduate credit for the professional development activities already provided for staff. Or, we can work with your school to develop what you need.

Who are the instructors for the collaborative partnerships?
Many of the PDI instructors are K-12 classroom teachers, pupil services personnel, or administrators. As part of the Collaborative Partnership, school personnel become approved instructors for Saint Mary's University School of Graduate and Professional Programs and deliver courses in their districts. Approved instructors are experienced educators, maintain a current professional license, and hold a Master's degree. In some cases, a Saint Mary's University adjunct instructor would facilitate the course.

How does someone become an approved instructor for the PDI program?
To become an approved instructor, interested educators are asked to submit a current vita, send a copy of transcripts, submit a copy of professional licensure, and complete SMU Employee Papers. The PDI program staff will then review the material and contact the individual. In some cases, a brief phone interview will be conducted.

What courses are offered through the PDI program?
The courses that are developed and supported through PDI collaborative partnerships are too numerous to list here. Go to the “LEARN MORE” link to view a list of the schools, districts, and agencies that offer courses. Courses are customized to meet the needs of each individual partner. The PDI program has supported courses and training in technology integration, classroom management, curriculum and assessment, instructional strategies, as well as content specific courses to name a few.

Do courses have to have a minimum number of participants registered in order to conduct the course?
No. PDI courses do not need a minimum number of participants registered in order to conduct the course. In many cases, there are a number of educators who are interested in the course content, but do not need graduate credits. For those that are interested in graduate credit, they are invited to register through the PDI program and complete the course expectations.

What is the tuition for a PDI graduate credit?
Currently, the cost of a graduate credit through the GPDE program is $275.00. However, in the collaborative partnerships, the PDI program offers reduced tuition options of $210.00 and $150.00. These options are determined by the school or agency offering the course and are dependent upon the instructor and site facilitation fees. Credits used towards an SMU degree will be charged at the tuition rate set by your degree program.

What is a professional book study?
Professional book studies engage educators in critical reading, intentional dialogue, and job-embedded learning with the purpose of enhancing teaching and students' learning. It is another opportunity for educators to gain new knowledge and reflect on their practice in a flexible format around a selected book title. For more detailed information, click on the Professional Book Study link to the right.

How do I start a PDI course or a professional book study in my school?
The first step is to contact the PDI program office (see the contact information below). After discussing options, you will complete the Course Request Form. Once you have submitted the Course Request Form, the PDI office will build the course and begin the instructor approval process. The PDI Program staff will be in communication throughout the entire course.

How can I reach the PDI Program Office?
The PDI Program Office can be reached toll-free at 877-218-4755. Our mailing address is 700 Terrace Heights #74, Winona, MN 55987. We can be reached via email at pdi@smumn.edu.