Staff Development Committee


The University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Staff Development Committee (SDC) is a representative group that assesses the educational and professional development needs of Extension employees and works to ensure those needs are addressed.


The mission of the Staff Development Committee shall be to foster a workplace culture that supports staff to work effectively and efficiently by initiating and expanding professional development and providing training opportunities.


That every Extension employee has all of the resources they need to do their job to the very best of their ability, and that they are continually learning more about their field and feel supported in their efforts to seek out and take advantage of professional development opportunities. Learning opportunities are promoted across the organization, and employees are aware of and encouraged to participate.


  • We are representative of the organization and consider the needs of all departments, programs, units, employee groups, and counties.
  • We strive to understand and accommodate the needs of ALL individual employees.
  • We all have different needs, levels of understanding, and ways we prefer to learn.
  • Professional development helps both the employee and the organization as a whole.
  • We understand that professional learning needs change over time, and will ensure that there are opportunities for employees in all stages of their careers.


Our goals align with and strive toward the Extension goal of: Make[ing] Extension a sustainable, equitable, purposeful, and enjoyable place to work.

2024 goals include conducting a needs assessment, developing a promotional plan, and developing a year-end report of activities.


The SDC acts as an umbrella advisory group to many professional development opportunities offered to all Extension employees throughout the year which include but are not limited to:

  • All Organization Conference
  • Extension Exchange
  • Brightspace courses and micro-credentials
  • New Employee onboarding sessions
  • General employee training
  • Additional / “Pop-up PD” / Requested opportunities

An activity that would meet the definition of a staff development offering is one that:

  • benefits the total organization; or an employee group (professional, support staff, community education assistants, classified or faculty);
  • is affordable;
  • addresses a need within the organization;
  • does not duplicate other efforts; and
  • crosses program areas, is not specific to one program area.

Employees are encouraged to suggest professional development topics or opportunities for the Staff Development Committee to consider by emailing the Assistant Director of Employee Engagement, Beth Hawkyard (

Committee Members

  • Jason Lilley, Assistant Extension Professor, Maine Sustainable Agriculture and Maple Industry Educator
  • Robson Machado, Associate Extension Professor and Food Science Specialist
  • Mari Glatter, Instructional Designer
  • Tayla Mann, Administrative Specialist
  • Beth Hawkyard, Assistant Director of Employee Engagement
  • Emily Bofia, Administrative Specialist, Staff Coordinator Support
  • Alex Bosse, Nutrition Education, EFNEP Youth Curriculum Coordinator
  • Emily Mott, EFNEP Administrative Specialist
  • Ryan LeShane, 4-H Blueberry Cove Camp Director
  • Kristy Ouellette, Extension Professor, 4-H Youth Development Specialist
  • Laura Wilson, Director of Non-Academic Learning Initiatives

Former Committee Members

  • Fran Sulinski, Assistant Director
  • Sheila Vaillancourt, Administrative Specialist
  • Leslie Forstadt, Extension Professor, Human Development Specialist
  • Alicyn Smart, Associate Extension Professor, Director of the Plant Disease Diagnostic Laboratory
  • Mike Eckhardt, Extension Research Faculty Associate

Related Resources


For more information, please contact Beth Hawkyard, Assistant Director of Employee Engagement ( or submit an idea for a professional development opportunity.

Submit Professional Development Ideas