Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Impact of nature on children's health and learning

1990 …2023

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

Dr. Cathy Jordan, pediatric neuropsychologist by training, is the Institute on the Environment's Associate Director for Leadership & Education and Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota and consulting Research Director for the Children & Nature Network, a national nonprofit. She is a current member, and former chair, of the Minnesota Children and Nature Connection. Her work focuses on promoting research endeavors to understand child health, learning and development through play in nature and nature-based education. She was the PI of a National Science Foundation grant titled “The Science of Nature-Based Learning Collaborative Research Network.” The Network convened two dozen members – academic researchers, educational practitioners, designers, teacher educators, philanthropists, and science communicators – in an intentional network to develop a research agenda and conduct collaborative research to advance the pace and quality of research aimed at understanding how, under what circumstances, in what settings, and for whom, nature contact influences children’s learning and educational outcomes.

Cathy also has a background in environmental health-related community-based participatory research and has worked for several decades on building the capacity of faculty, staff and students as well as community members to engage in respectful, power-sharing partnerships. She works with institutions around the country to help faculty succeed in promotion and tenure as community-engaged scholars and institutions to effectively recognize and reward community-engaged scholarship in career advancement policies and practices. In recognition of her work, she was inducted in 2014 as an inaugural member of the national Academy of Community Engagement Scholarship. She is the 2008 recipient of the Outstanding Partner in Engagement Award, the 2012 recipient of the President’s Outstanding Community Service Award, the 2018 recipient of the Department of Pediatrics Excellence in Child Health Award, and the 2018 Medical School recipient of the President's Outstanding Community-Engaged Scholar Award at the University of Minnesota. She currently serves on the boards of the Academy of Community Engagement Scholarship and the Mississippi Park Connection, and is the former chair of the board of Friends School of Minnesota.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Wayne State University

Award Date: Sep 4 1991

External Positions

Consulting Director of Research, CHILDREN AND NATURE NETWORK

Jan 1 2014 → …

Research Interest Keywords

  • Community-engaged scholarship, community-engaged research, community-based participatory research, nature-based learning
  • nature-based learning
  • climate change


The Fingerprint is created by mining the titles and abstracts of the person's research outputs and projects/funding awards to create an index of weighted terms from discipline-specific thesauri.
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