Frederick T. L. Leong is a first-generation Asian American of Chinese descent, who was born and educated in Malaysia. He came to the United States in 1975 on an international student scholarship to study for a B.A. in psychology at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. He graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1979 with high honors in psychology. His undergraduate honors thesis, “Males’ Responses to Female Competence,” was published in Sex Roles in 1983. He was also the founder and first president of the International Student Club at Bates College. After graduating from Bates, he spent some time working as a psychiatric aid at the Institute of Living in Hartford, Connecticut.
Leong went to the University of Maryland, where he completed graduate studies with a double specialty in counseling and industrial/organizational psychology in 1988. His dissertation was titled “Cross-Cultural Epidemiology of Psychological Disorders: A Comparison of Asian-Americans and White Clients in Hawaii’s Mental Health System.” During his graduate studies he was also selected as a Minority Fellow of the Minority Fellowship Program, American Psychological Association, from 1984 to 1986. As part of the doctoral program, he completed a 2-year internship at Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, New Hampshire, where he focused on psychodynamic psychotherapy. Leong’s academic appointments include the following: (a) instructor and then assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Southern Illinois University; (b) associate professor, full professor, and director of training in the Department of Psychology at Ohio State University; (c) full professor and director of the counseling psychology program in the Department of Psychology at the University of Tennessee; and (d) full professor in the Department of Psychology at Michigan State University, where he was hired to lead the Multicultural Initiative and is serving as director of the Center for Multicultural Psychology Research.
Leong has authored or coauthored more than 110 articles and 60 book chapters in psychology. He has coedited 10 books, including The Psychology Research Handbook: A Guide for Graduate Students and Research Assistants (1996; second edition 2005, Sage), Handbook of Racial and Ethnic Minority Psychology (2003, Sage), Handbook of Asian American Psychology (1999; second edition 2006, Sage), and Suicide Among Racial and Ethnic Groups: Theory, Research, and Practice (in press, Routledge). He has delivered over 100 presentations at professional meetings and has been invited to lecture, present, or be part of an expert panel at more than 50 events. Leong’s other professional contributions and roles include serving on the editorial boards of numerous psychology journals (e.g., Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice & Training; Journal of Counseling Psychology; Journal of Career Assessment; Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology; Journal of Career Development; Asian Journal of Social Psychology; Asian American & Pacific Islander Journal of Health; The Counseling Psychologist; and Psychological Assessment) and being guest editor of numerous special issues of journals on topics that have focused on ethnic, racial, minority, or international issues (e.g., Career Development Quarterly, Journal of Vocational Behavior, Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice & Training, and Death Studies). Other editorial positions have included the following: (a) associate editor for International and Cross-Cultural entries in Alan Kazdin’s Encyclopedia of Psychology, (ii) counseling section editor for Charles Spielberger’s Encyclopedia of Applied Psychology, and (c) editor for a book series focused on racial and ethnic minority psychology.
Leong is a member of various associations and has been appointed Fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA; Divisions 1, 2, 12, 17, 45, and 52), the Association for Psychological Science, the Asian American Psychological Association, and the International Academy for Intercultural Research. He has also held various offices in professional associations (e.g., chair of the APA Student Affiliate Group of Division 17, treasurer of the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development, member of the board of directors for the Asian American Psychological Association, president of the Ohio Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development, president of the Asian American Psychological Association, president (and founder) of the Division of Counseling Psychology (Division 16) for the International Association of Applied Psychology, president of the APA Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues).
As president of the Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA; 2003-2005), Leong continued to improve the structure and functioning of the association by incorporating the following: (a) Several bylaws were changed, and a new membership category of Fellows was established. This recognized the outstanding and distinguished contributors to the AAPA, some of whom have been recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Distinguished Contributions Award and those who were past presidents of the Association. The second major bylaw change that was passed involved the formation of the Council of Past Presidents (COPP) that would serve as a consultant and support system for the functioning of the Association. The third bylaw change involved the procedures for the formation of new divisions. Since then, new divisions such as the Division of Students (DoS) and the Division of South Asian Americans (DoSAA) have been formed. (b) Additional initiatives have included the formalization of the Association’s Policies and Procedures Manual to ensure continuity between administrations. (c) In addition, the Handbook of Asian American Psychology was launched, with several members of the AAPA Executive Committee serving as coeditors (Arpana G. Inman, Angela Ebreo, Lawrence Hsin Yang, Lisa M. Kinoshita, and Michi Fu) and with many members as authors of chapters for the Handbook. The editorial team decided to donate the royalties from all future proceeds from the Handbook to the Association. (d) Leong also initiated the production and distribution of the association’s Digital History Project in an effort to prevent the loss of the association’s important documents and historical archives. The Digital History Project involved digitizing all of the documents from the Association’s historical archives onto CDs for distribution.
Leong has served on many APA committees (e.g., Committee on Employment and Human Resources, Committee on International Relations in Psychology; Committee on Psychological Test and Assessment; the Implementation Task Force for the Commission on Ethnic Minority Recruitment, Retention, and Training; and the Advisory Committee of the Minority Fellowship Program). In the summer of 2006 he was elected to the Executive Council of the International Test Commission. Leong also serves on the APA Board of Scientific Affairs.
Leong’s service and dedication to the field of psychology has also extended to the international arena. He has participated actively in international congresses of psychology and has been invited to organize numerous symposia at these congresses. Examples of these include the Pacific Science Congress in Beijing (1996), the International Congress of Applied Psychology in Singapore (2002), the International Congress of Psychology in Beijing (2004), and the International Congress of Applied Psychology in Athens (2006). He is also working on organizing a symposium on the intersection between personnel psychology and vocational psychology for the International Congress of Psychology in Berlin in 2008.
Leong has consistently supported the development and advancement of psychology in Asia and on Asian issues. On many occasions he has been invited to serve as a discussant at conferences featuring Asian issues. He has served as an external examiner on doctoral dissertations in Pakistan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangladesh, and the United Arab Emirates. He has invested time in teaching and researching in the Asia-Pacific region by undertaking visiting professor appointments at the University of Hawai’i, Chinese University of Hong Kong, and National University of Singapore. Other efforts in this area include the development of journals in Asia. For example, he served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Psychology in Chinese Societies, Asian Journal of Social Psychology, and The Asian Psychologist. He has been involved in several grant-funded projects with Fanny Cheung at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, which has involved regular trips to Asia. While at the Ohio State University, the University of Tennessee, and Michigan State University, Leong has recruited, mentored, and taught numerous international students from Asia and Asian American doctoral students.
Leong has also received numerous awards and nominations. For example, he received the Ralph F. Berdie Memorial Research Award from the American Association for Counseling and Development in 1986.
In 1987 he received the Young Investigator Award at the International Congress on Schizophrenia Research held in Clearwater, Florida; the APA Minority Fellowship Program’s Achievement Award for Teaching and Training in 1992; the Distinguished Contributions Award from the Asian American Psychological Association in 1998; and the John Holland Award from the APA Division of Counseling Psychology in 1999. Most recently, he received the APA Award for Distinguished Contributions to the International Advancement of Psychology at the 2007 APA convention in San Francisco for all his international work.
Leong’s major research interests center on issues of cross-cultural psychotherapy and mental health, especially with Asians and Asian Americans. His organizational psychology interests involve cultural and personality factors related to career choice, work adjustment, and occupational stress. For the past decade Leong has devoted much time and effort toward internationalizing counseling and clinical psychology through his research, scholarly writing, and professional activities. For instance, Leong has served as the coeditor of the International Forum, a section devoted to advancing international perspectives within The Counseling Psychologist, where he has authored some of the pioneering papers recommending the internationalization of the field of psychology. He also served as a member of the APA Committee on International Relations in Psychology.
- Leong, F. T. L. (Ed.). (2006). Handbook of Asian American psychology (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
- Leong, F. T. L., & Austin, J. T. (Eds.). (2006). The psychology research handbook: A guide for graduate students and research assistants. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
- Leong, F. T. L., & Leach, M. M. (in press). Suicide among racial and ethnic groups: Theory, research, and practice. London: Routledge.