Melinda Leonard, PhD

Dr. Melinda LeonardAssociate Professor (Term)

Psi Chi: The International Honor Society in Psychology Faculty Director

International Service Learning & Research Program Faculty Director



  • Ph.D. – University of Kentucky – Experimental Psychology (Cognitive Developmental Studies)
  • Graduate Certificate in College Teaching & Learning, University of Kentucky Graduate School
  • M.S. – University of Kentucky – Experimental Psychology (Cognitive Developmental Studies)
  • B.S. – University of Tennessee, Chattanooga – Psychology

Research Interests

Dr. Leonard’s research and service learning interest focuses on the social/cognitive development of children and adults from communities transitioning from political/sectarian violence. She is interested in combining multicultural peace studies and social/cognitive research to enhance personal, family, and community relations. She is specifically interested in how cross-community engagement influences the psychosocial elements of “peace building” (i.e., in-group identification, intergroup forgiveness and trust, and mental health and well-being). Dr. Leonard has developed and is Faculty Director of the International Service Learning & Research Program (a College of Arts & Sciences Short-Term Study Abroad Program) in which pedagogy and research/service learning are combined to provide an off-campus cultural immersion and culminating undergraduate experience for UofL students. The ISL&RP along with her course titled “Intergroup Contact and Conflict Resolution” are part of the UofL Certificate in Peace, Justice & Conflict Transformation within the College of Arts & Sciences.

Along with the two classes listed above, Dr. Leonard regularly teaches Honors Introductory Psychology, Lifespan Developmental Psychology, Psychology of Learning, and Experimental Psychology. She currently serves as Faculty Advisor for Psi Chi: International Honor Society in Psychology and was awarded the Southeast Regional Psi Chi Chapter Advisor Award for 2012-2013. She is an active member of the University of Louisville Peace, Justice, & Conflict Transformation Program (PJ&CT), Peace & Justice Studies Association (PJSA), Kentucky Psychological Association (KPA), Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA), Association for Psychological Science (APS), and Society for the Teaching Psychology (STP).

Select Publications

* Denotes student author.

  • Leonard, M. A., *Damjanovic, B., Šimić, G., & Aldikacti Marshall, G. (2016). Peace building in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Effects of ingroup identification, outgroup trust and intergroup forgiveness on intergroup contact. Peace and Conflict Studies, 23(1), Article 4.
  • Leonard, M. A., *Yung, S. A., & Cairns, E. (2015). Predicting intergroup forgiveness from ingroup identification and collective guilt in adolescent and adult affiliates of a Northern Irish cross-community organization.  Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 21(2), 155-167.
  • Leonard, M. A., Milich, R., & Lorch, E. P. (2011). The role of pragmatic language use in mediating the relation between ADHD risk factors and social skills problems. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 54, 567-579.
  • Leonard, M. A., Lorch, E. P., Milich, R., & Hagans, N. (2009). Parent-child joint picture-book reading among children with ADHD. Journal of Attention Disorders, 12(4), 361-371.
  • Leonard, M. A. (2004). Predicting completion vs. defection in a community-based reintegration program. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 40 (1/2), 133-146.

Courses Often Taught

  • PSYC 201: Honors Introductory Psychology
  • PSYC 363: Honors Life Span Developmental Psychology
  • PSYC 302: Experimental Psychology
  • PSYC 321: Introduction to the Psychology of Learning
  • PSYC 404: Intergroup Contact & Conflict Resolution
  • PSYC 405/406: Honors Research
  • PSYC 408: International Service Learning & Research Program: Northern Ireland and/or Bosnia and Herzegovina (A&S Short-Term Study Abroad Program)
  • PSYC 430: Psychology of Peacebuilding & Ethnic Relations