Melinda Leonard, PhD

Dr. Melinda LeonardAssociate Professor (Term)

International Service Learning & Research Program Faculty Director


Life Sciences Building, 301-E

(502) 852-3018


  • 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 teaching classes and conducting research/service learning, Dr. Leonard currently serves as the Faculty Advisor for Psi Chi: International Honor Society in Psychology.  She was awarded the Southeast Regional Psi Chi Chapter Advisor Award in 2018-2019 as well as in 2012-2013.  She has led the UofL Chapter to the Model Chapter Award annually since 2008-2009.  She received the Psi Chi Faculty Advisor 10-Year Service Award in 2018.. She has been 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 Taught

  • PSYC 201: Introductory Psychology (Honors and On-line)
  • PSYC 302: Experimental Psychology
  • PSYC 306: Honors Life Span Developmental Psychology (Honors, Regular, and On-line)
  • PSYC 307: Cognitive Processes (On-line)
  • PSYC 321: Conditioning, Learning, & Behavior (On-line)
  • PSYC 404: Intergroup Contact & Conflict Resolution
  • 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
  • PSYC 490: Independent Study
  • PSYC 495/496: Honors Research & Thesis Project