Academics, Campus wide, College of Christian Studies

CSU’s Dewey Center for Chaplaincy partners with ICISF

By Jenna Johnson | February 9, 2024
Luke Blackmon, CSU vice president for business affairs, the Rev. Rob Dewey, and Dr. Ron Harvell sign the agreement with ICISF. Photo by Ty Cornett

The Dewey Center for Chaplaincy at Charleston Southern University recently entered into a strategic partnership with the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, Inc., of Ellicott City, Maryland. 

Dr. Ron Harvell, director of the Dewey Center, said, “Together, we will provide accessible training for those serving, or preparing to serve, in environments where crisis intervention skills are deeply needed, to promote one another’s missions, and disseminate information.”

The Dewey Center for Chaplaincy’s mission is to increase chaplaincy ministry skills using education and training to provide the world with more confident, courageous, and compassionate servant leaders.  Through CSU’s College of Christian Studies, CSU provides the only accredited Bachelor of Arts degree in chaplaincy ministry in the United States. Students may major or minor in chaplaincy ministry or take classes as electives. These courses include Introduction to Crisis Ministry, Foundations in Chaplaincy Ministry, Christian Counseling, and Internships.

The Center’s training programs have awarded training certificates to over 800 students in the past four years.  Current training programs include Mental Health First Aid, Suicide Prevention, Human Flourishing, Pastoral Care Intervention, and PTSD training for Global Leaders. 

The Center was launched in 2020 after Rev. Rob Dewey and his wife, Kathy, committed $2 million to establish the Center through annual gifts and listing CSU as a beneficiary of their estate. Dewey said this strategic partnership is monumental, considering the fact that ICISF trains upwards of 40,000 first responders, nurses, and pastors each year. He added, “I came in contact with the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, Inc. in 1996 as a consumer. I went to one of their in-person conferences and said, ‘Man, this is what I have been trying to do on the streets of Charleston, North Charleston, Goose Creek, but I didn’t have a formula to go with it.’”

Richard Barton, ICISF chief executive officer, said, “Our strategic partnership with the Dewey Center for Chaplaincy is a wonderful addition. I believe that we will be able to carry out some very meaningful work to support each other. We look forward to working with their organization in the future.”  In addition to cross promotional opportunities, the two organizations will explore curriculum and course content development as well as looking into the ICISF-approved Instructor Candidate Program. 

The first event in collaboration with the Dewey Center and ICISF partnership will be the Spiritual Care in Crises Conference at Charleston Southern University April 2-6.  Some of the lead trainers include: 

  • Dr. George Everly:  ICISF; Johns Hopkins – disaster mental health, resilience, crisis intervention, terrorism, psychological first aid
  • Dr. Victor Welzant: ICISF; Crisis Intervention, Critical Incident Stress Management, Suicide, Disaster Behavioral Health and the impact and treatment of trauma
  • Dr. Tyler Vanderweele: Harvard; integrating empirical social sciences and humanities on topics central to human flourishing such as purpose, virtue, marriage and family, religion, work, etc. 
  • Rev Rob Dewey: Director of Low Country Chaplaincy, Co-author of Pastoral Care Intervention courses; Critical Incidents in Places of Worship- Providing Effective Crisis Support 

Courses offered:

  • Assisting Individuals in Crisis and Group Crisis Intervention
  • Emotional and Spiritual Care in Disasters
  • Global PTSD Training for Ministry Leaders
  • Human Spirit and Faith Tactics in CISM
  • Pastoral Crisis Intervention
  • Pastoral Crisis Intervention Approved Instructor Candidate Program
  • Spiritual and Psychological First Aid

To register for this event, go to

The ICISF offers these and a variety of education and training programs, both in person and virtually. Primary courses for someone new to Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) are their Core Courses (Assisting Individuals in Crisis & Group Crisis Intervention) which provide the foundation for crisis intervention. From there, individuals can participate in Advanced Core Courses to further their crisis intervention skills; profession specific courses, such as CISM in the College and University Setting, Grief Following Trauma and Spiritual and Psychological First Aid; CISM Refreshers, which offer practice scenarios; and Learning with Leaders, which are short presentations where subject matter experts share their expertise.In addition to providing training opportunities, ICISF also provides CISM certification, CISM support and many more resources, such as the Crisis Journal, Crisis Resource Library, CISM Bookstore, CISM Live Series, CISM News (monthly blog), and the ICISF Podcast Series. Learn more about ICISF’s strategic partnerships, offerings, and resources at

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