Giving to the College

Message from the Dean

September 2021

Dear Friend,

I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself as our academic year commences and we begin, what I hope will be, a strong partnership in supporting our students in the College of Education and Human Development and all pK-12 education professionals across Maine. On July 1, I proudly became the dean of UMaine’s College of Education and Human Development. I look forward to talking with you, hearing about your experiences, and listening to the needs and opportunities that you see in society and the workforce.

What I bring to the table.

As a ninth generation Vermonter, I am new to Maine but not to New England winters! My husband and I raised our two sons in a small town in northern Vermont. Now that the children have flown the nest, we are proud to call Maine our new home. We’re excited to explore all that this remarkable state has to offer.

I began my career as a middle school teacher, where early on I became passionate about the power of education as a lever for societal improvement. I spent twenty great years at the University of Vermont in the College of Education and Social Services. During that time, I served in many capacities, including as Associate Dean for Faculty Development, Founding Director of the Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education, Professor of Education, and Director of Middle Grades Teacher Education. My research, focusing on responsive learning environments for young adolescents, has received more than $13 million in external funding to advance education for this age group. Relatedly, I have co-authored seven books on educational reform. I am excited to bring these experiences and perspectives to bear on the many opportunities that exist here at UMaine.

Your place is at the table.

The professionals prepared in our college play fundamental roles in the health and wellbeing of society. Together we can identify and overcome the challenges that face our educators, human development professionals, and leaders in kinesiology. We can provide the leadership that is needed to strengthen these professions, particularly during these uncertain times.

We need you involved if we are to be successful. Wide-ranging perspectives from education, kinesiology, human development, the arts, and business are essential to addressing the challenges that lie ahead. You have a unique perspective on these challenges, and ideas for solutions that we want to hear. You are our eyes and ears and are an important part of the feedback loop that will keep this college nimble, strong, and forward-thinking.  If you’re open to sharing your ideas, please contact me and my team at coehd@maine.edu. Let’s get to work!

Many of you are also donors and give what you can to help support our students.  Thank you. Your gifts help change the trajectory of our students’ lives and in turn, those of the people they help.  I understand that many of you heeded the call for emergency scholarship support last winter to prevent some of our hardworking students from having to end their academic careers before they could even make it to the classrooms or clinical settings. It warms my heart to know that I am entering a community that cares so deeply.

Please stay tuned.

This is a special place. I am honored to be selected as dean of the College of Education and Human Development, particularly at a time of such innovation and growth at UMaine. Throughout the search process, I was impressed by the deep dedication to student success that was conveyed by everyone involved. I hope you’ll join me as we build on this commitment and tackle some of the biggest societal challenges that lie ahead. Together we will amplify UMaine’s impact in the state, nationally, and beyond.

My team and I are digging in, welcoming an impressive class of students to the college, and doing the important work of assessment and strategic planning. Please be sure that you are on our email lists and social media accounts so that we can share progress and hear from you. Send your email to coehd@maine.edu, and follow us on Facebook at @UMaineCOEHD, Twitter at @UMaine_COEHD, or Instagram at @umainecoehd.

Thank you for the ways that you have helped build the College of Education and Human Development and how you continue to make us proud through your work, volunteerism in your community, and embodiment of our tenet of lifelong learning.  I look forward to meeting you.

Warm regards,
Penny Bishop, Ed.D.
Dean of College of Education and Human Development

Black Bear Pride



Your support

The College of Education and Human Development’s long-standing commitment to excellence in teaching, research, and community service is demonstrated in the success of our students and alumni. We are proud of the achievements our graduates produce locally, nationally, and beyond, and work diligently to continue to grow this important legacy. Your support will help ensure that the College continues to recruit the best faculty and provide the best conditions to prepare our students to become future educators and leaders in their field.

Gifts to the College are welcome and critical to our scholarship awards, program delivery, faculty development, research, and so much more.

The Alumni Association is home to more than 95,000 UMaine alumni worldwide, and supports the University of Maine in a variety of ways through it’s many events, programs and services.