Catherine Jordan, PhD, LP

Professor, Department of Pediatrics

Catherine Jordan

Contact Info

Office Address:
1954 Buford Ave
LES 325
St. Paul, MN 55108

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Pediatric Clinical Neuroscience, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN

PhD, Clinical Psychology, Neuropsychology, Research Methods, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI


Dr. Cathy Jordan, pediatric neuropsychologist by training, is a Professor of Pediatrics as well as the Institute on the Environment’s (IonE) Associate Director for Leadership and Education. Within Pediatrics, Cathy serves on the training committee of the Division of General Pediatrics interdisciplinary leadership training fellowship. At IonE, Cathy leads a team that cultivates sustainability awareness in students and supports sustainability-savvy leaders with the skills that make them more effective change agents.

As a pediatric neuropsychologist, Cathy has had a long-standing interest in the influence of environments on children’s health and development. Early in her career she focused on the influence of environmental risks, such as lead overburden, on children’s cognitive and behavioral development. She later turned her attention to the positive impact of nature contact – through nature play, nature-based learning, and therapeutic uses of nature – on children’s physical and mental health and educational outcomes and development of a stewardship ethic. Cathy believes that the establishment of a strong connection to the natural world is critical to both child development and the development of concern for our planet, and it is important to establish that connection in childhood.

Cathy also serves as the consulting Director of Research for the Children & Nature Network, a national nonprofit leading a global movement to increase equitable access to nature so that children – and natural places – can thrive. In this role, Cathy leads efforts to make the burgeoning body of research evidence on nature’s benefits accessible to diverse audiences and to network researchers and practitioners across the country in efforts to advance research on nature-based learning and the translation of that research to formal and nonformal educational practice.

Cathy has worked extensively in efforts to build capacity for participatory partnerships between academic institutions and communities, and to support the community-engaged scholars that do this work. Cathy co-developed and co-taught for six years a course on community-based participatory research for a mixed audience of graduate students and community leaders. She has also developed several resources for faculty seeking promotion or tenure as community-engaged scholars and for Promotion & Tenure Committee members seeking to enhance their capacity to fairly evaluate community-engaged scholars for career advancement. She offers several professional development workshops to faculty, staff, students, and Promotion & Tenure Committee members at University of Minnesota. She offers similar workshops for, and intensive consultation to, other campuses interested in supporting community-engaged scholars in their career advancement. In recognition of her contributions to community-engaged scholarship, she is an inaugural inductee of the Academy of Community Engagement Scholarship.

Cathy earned her B.A. with high honors in psychology from Oberlin College and her PhD in clinical psychology from Wayne State University and completed post-doctoral training in pediatric neuropsychology at the University of Minnesota. 

Awards & Recognition

  • Excellence in Child Health Advocacy, Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota (2018)
  • UMN President's Community-Engaged Scholar Award - Medical School recipient (2018)
  • UMN Department of Pediatrics Child Health Advocacy Award (2018)
  • Inaugural Fellow, Academy of Community Engagement Scholarship (2014)
  • UMN President’s Outstanding Community Service Award (2012)
  • Meritorious Service Award, Minnesota Recreation and Parks Association for Development of the Minnesota Children and Nature Connection (2011)
  • “Outstanding Partner Engagement” Award, UMN Community-Campus Coordinators Alliance (2008)

Professional Associations

  • Director of Research, Children & Nature Network, 2014 - present
  • Executive Director, University of Minnesota Extension's Children, Youth, and Family Consortium, 2004-2014


Research Summary/Interests

Community-based Participatory Research; Community-engaged Scholarship; Nature-based educationl; Developmental impact of outdoor experiences on youth


  • Jordan, C. & Chawla, L. A coordinated agenda for nature-based learning. Frontiers in Psychology, (2019). doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00766
  • Kuo, M., Barnes, M. & Jordan, C. (2019). Do Experiences With Nature Promote Learning? Converging Evidence of a Cause-and-Effect Relationship. Frontiers in Psychology, (2019). 10:305. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00305 
  • Jordan, C., Charles, C., Cleary, A. Enhancing the impact of research: Experimenting with network leadership strategies to grow a vibrant nature-based learning research network. Interdisc J of Partnership Studies, 4(3). (2017). Special issue on partnership and environment: Available at:
  • Linnemanstons, K. & Jordan, C. Learning through place: Evaluation of a professional development program for understanding the impact of place-based education and teacher continuing education needs. The Journal of Sustainability Education (February, 2017). Available at
  • Jordan, C. M. The Community-engaged Scholars Program: Designing a professional development program to enhance individual capacity, community benefit and institutional support. Journal of Community Engagement and Higher Education, 8(3), (2016), 6-15.
  • Martin, L., Fan, Y., Duke, N. N., Hearst, M. O., Jordan, C. M. The Scholars Program learning circle: An example of capacity building in the academy for engaged team science. Journal of Community Engagement and Higher Education, 8(3), (2016), 16-24.
  • Jordan, C., Chazdon, S., Alviz, K. Evaluating beyond the ivory tower: Lessons learned from the Scholars Program. Journal of Community Engagement and Higher Education, 8(3), (2016), 66-84.
  • Gelmon, S., Jordan, C., Seifer, S. Rethinking peer review: Expanding the boundaries for community-engaged scholarship. International Journal of Research on Service Learning and Community Engagement, 1(1), (2013), 1-10 
  • Hadjiyanni, T., Hirani, A., Jordan, C. Toward culturally sensitive housing – Eliminating health disparities by accounting for health. Housing and Society, 39(2), (2012), 149-164.
  • Seifer, S., McGinley, P., Blanchard, LW. Jordan, C., Gelmon, S. Faculty for the Engaged Campus: Advancing community-engaged careers in the academy. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 16(1), (2012), 1-20.
  • Jordan, C.M., Gelmon, S.B., Ryan, K., Seifer, S.D. A web-based mechanism for disseminating peer-reviewed products of community-engaged scholarship: Reflections on year one. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 16(1), (2012), 47-64.
  • Jordan, C.M., Doherty, W., Jones-Webb, R., Cook, N., Dubrow, G., Mendenhall, T. Competency-based faculty development in community-engaged scholarship: A diffusion of innovation approach. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 16(1), (2012), 65-96.
  • Jordan, C., Seifer, S.D., Gelmon, S.B., Ryan, K., McGinley, P. An Online Tool for Peer Reviewed Publication and Dissemination of Diverse Products of Community-Engaged Scholarship. Progress in Community Health Partnerships, 5(2), (2011), 189-199.
  • Jordan, C., Seifer, S., Sandmann, L., Gelmon, S. Development of a peer-reviewed mechanism for dissemination of innovative products of health-related community-engaged scholarship. International Journal of Prevention Practice and Research. 1(1), (2009), 21-28.
  • Jordan, C.M., Wong, K.A., Jungnickel, P.W. Joosten, Y.A. Leugers, R.C. Shields, S.L. The Community Engaged Scholarship Review Promotion and Tenure Package: A guide for faculty and committee members. Metropolitan Universities Journal, 20(2), (2009), 66-86.
  • Jordan, C., Johnson, A., Hughes, S., Shapiro, E. The development of a new measure of declarative memory for 18 to 36 month old toddlers. Child Neuropsychology, 14(1), (2008), 21-41.
  • Potegal, M., Robison, S., Anderson, F., Jordan, C., Shapiro, E. Sequence and priming in 15 month olds' reactions to brief arm restraint: Evidence for a hierarchy of anger responses. Aggressive Behavior, 33, (2007), 1-11.
  • Jordan, C.M., Lee, P.A., Olkon, R., Pirie, P.L. Messages from moms: Barriers to and facilitators of behavior change in a lead poisoning preventive education project. Journal of Health Communications, 12, (2007), 771–786.
  • Gust, S. Jordan, C. The community impact statement: A prenuptual agreement for community-campus partnerships. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 11(2), (2006), 155-169.
  • Jordan, C., Gust, S., Scheman, N. The trustworthiness of research: The paradigm of community-based research. Metropolitan Universities Journal 16(1). (2005), 39-57.
  • Conceptualized paper, defined intellectual content, co-wrote the manuscript and edited final manuscript. Co-authors from UMN and community partner.
  • Calleson, D.C. Jordan, C., Seifer, S.D. Community-engaged scholarship: Is faculty work in communities a true academic enterprise? Academic Medicine, 80(4). (2005), 317-321.
  • Jordan, C., Lee, P., Hampton, R., Pirie, P. Recommendations from lead poisoning prevention program participants: Best practices. Health Promotion Practice, 5(4), (2004), 429-437.
  • Jordan, C., Yust, B., Robison, L., Hannan, P., Deinard, A. A randomized trial of education to prevent lead burden in high risk children: Efficacy as measured by blood lead monitoring. Environmental Health Perspectives, 111(16), (2003), 1947-1951.
  • Jordan, C., Lee, P., Shapiro, E. Measuring developmental outcomes of lead in an urban neighborhood: the challenges of community-based research. Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology, 10, (2000), 1-11.