Professional Development Coordinator Competencies and Sample Indicators for Adult Educators Project

This publication outlines skills, competencies, and knowledge bases that are critical for professional development coordinators. 

Renee Sherman
Dionne Dobbins
John Tibbets
Judith Crocker
Michael Dlott
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation
PRO-NET 2000
American Institutes for Research
U.S. Department of Education
Publication Year
Resource Type
Number of Pages

Coordinators of professional development as well as staff and administrators can use these competencies to evaluate the effectiveness of a professional development system. The professional development competencies are a companion piece to two PRO-NET 2000 publications, Instructor Competencies and Performance Indicators for the Improvement of Adult Education Programs and Management Competencies and Performance Indicators for the Improvement of Adult Education Programs. These companion pieces may be found at:

The process for developing the core set of competencies for professional development staff are described in the publication. The competencies were developed through literature reviews, expert interviews, and three feedback-and-revision cycles for the draft competencies. The competencies and sample indicators are outlined in the appendix.

The competencies include:

  • Knowledge of adult education
  • Professional development leadership
  • Design and delivery of professional development
  • Monitoring and reporting of professional development activities
  • Community collaborations
Required Training


What the experts say

The authors-developers of the competencies and indicators provide a useful tool for the field of adult education. The competencies and indicators are clearly written and easy to follow. The authors describe a number of potential uses for these competencies which include self-assessment for new and experienced professional development coordinators, identification of areas for improvement of skills and competencies, and development of professional development plans. It is also a useful tool for supervisors to use in evaluating their professional development staff and for facilitating professional development planning. The authors suggest using the tool as a “beginning set of quality standards for the professional development field.”

The authors model the systems thinking that they hope to encourage with the competencies. However, the authors mix the idea of individual coordinator competencies with state and national professional development quality standards. The two are not synonymous, but complementary. Coordinator competencies are used primarily at the individual level, with professional developers and their supervisors, to hone individual skills and to look across their organization for strengths and gaps with these skills. State and national professional development quality standards may include competencies as one part of the system, but the system itself is larger than the skill sets of professional development coordinators. I recommend using this resource primarily for the professional development coordinator rather than systems planners in planning professional development systems.

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