Concordia University Wisconsin is on a mission to bolster its student well-being and mental health support resources through a new partnership with The Jed Foundation.

This fall, Concordia began a four-year journey as a JED Campus, a nationwide initiative of The Jed Foundation designed to help schools evaluate and strengthen their mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention programs and systems to ensure that schools have the strongest possible safety nets in place.

Concordia is one of six institutions of higher education in Wisconsin to become a JED Campus.

By joining JED Campus, Concordia builds upon its commitment to the emotional well-being of its students. JED Campuses embark on a multi-year strategic collaboration that not only assesses and enhances the work that is already being done, but helps create positive, lasting, systemic changes in the campus community. The program will provide Concordia with a framework to support student mental health, as well as assessment tools, feedback reports, a strategic plan, and ongoing support from the JED Campus team.

Mental Health Matters—What’s Driving Concordia

The ultimate goal is to arrive at a safer, healthier, and better-informed campus community. According to a study from the American College Health Association, more than 30 percent of undergraduates nationwide experience overwhelming anxiety, and suicide is the second leading cause of death in college students. A cross-disciplinary team of Concordia faculty and staff formed two years ago, in the wake of two student tragedies, to explore ways to prevent any more unnecessary deaths from occurring.

“We want our students and their family members to know that we take their mental health and well-being seriously,” said Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice Beth DeJongh, PharmD, BCPS, BCPP, who is co-lead of the JED Campus effort on behalf of Concordia. “I am hopeful that through this effort we will greatly expand mental health awareness and suicide prevention resources on our campus. I want our students to have multiple places where they can turn when they are struggling and to be acutely aware of how to access help.”

Concordia’s participation in JED Campus is made possible largely through a grant from The Charles E. Kubly Foundation. The Kubly Foundation also generously supported the creation of Concordia’s SMART Lab, the first of its kind in Wisconsin. Named Evelyn’s Place, after beloved retired Concordia employee Evelyn Hutchins, the SMART Lab is designed to provide high-quality stress management services for undergraduate students.


Cross-Departmental Support

Concordia’s membership in JED Campus began with the establishment of an interdisciplinary, campus-wide team to assess, support, and implement program, policy, and system improvements. Later this semester, the team will also oversee the distribution of a confidential, self-assessment survey on its mental health promotion, substance abuse, and suicide prevention efforts. Upon completion of the assessment, JED Campus advisors will provide Concordia with a comprehensive feedback report identifying successes and opportunities for enhancements. Over the course of four years, Concordia will collaborate with JED to help implement enhancements.

Concordia JED Campus Committee Members include:

Dr. Beth DeJongh, Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice (Co-lead)

Dr. Steve Gerner, Dean of Students (Co-lead)

Dr. Anne Spahr, Staff Psychologist (Co-lead)

Dr. Jordan Beck, Associate Professor of Physical Chemistry

Rev. Doug Bender, Campus Ministry Assistant

Dr. Mike Brown, Interim Dean of Pharmacy

Dawn Cataldo, Student Success Advisor

Jan Chapman, Director of the Academic Resource Center

Dr. Tammy Ferry, Executive Director of Institutional Effectiveness

Dr. Charnetta Gadling-Cole, Chair/Associate Professor of Social Work

Jackie Glynn, Business Operations Manager

Gunner Gonzalez, CUW student

Renee Gosselin, Health Services Manager/Nurse Practitioner

Kathleen Grady, Support Services Coordinator

Dr. Pollyanna Kabara, Director of Physician’s Assistant Studies

Beckie Kruse, Director of Resident Life

Devan Lenz-Fisher, Academic/Career Advisor

Lisa McInnes, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy

Quinn Roekle, Student Success Advisor

Natalie Ross, Assistant Professor of Graduate Nursing

Ryley Schetter, Resident Director

Jeremy Schumacher, Athletic Counselor

Kevin Sheridan, Director of Financial Aid

Mike Stolte, Assistant Director of Campus Safety

Laurie Strommen, Manager of Housekeeping

Kali Thiel, Director of University Communications

Tracy Tuffey, Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology

Dr. Michael Uden, Vice Provost of Student Enrollment and Engagement

Sophia Voeltz, CUW student

Dr. Cindy Witte, Associate Professor and Coordinator of Clinical Nursing

— This story is written by Kali Thiel, director of university communications for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. She may be reached at or 262-243-2149.

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