Madonna G. Constantine is an African American female counseling psychologist who has been described by many as an inspired researcher, prolific author, respected mentor, and leader in the exploration of multicultural and social justice issues in psychology. Her extensive record of research has blazed new trails in the exploration of multicultural counseling competence and the impact of racism on psychological practice. Moreover, as a collaborator and mentor, Constantine embodies the best of the scientist-practitioner model, conveying her dedication to research and its relevance for practice to the hundreds of students and colleagues from all over the United States that she has mentored both formally and informally.
Constantine was born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana, the third of five children in her family. With a lifelong natural curiosity about people, she realized at an early age that she wanted to become a psychologist. Constantine completed her undergraduate studies at Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she graduated cum laude in 1984 with a major in psychology and a minor in English. She received an M.A. in business, industry, and social agencies counseling from Xavier in 1986 and a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Memphis University in 1991, where she matriculated as the first student of color in the program’s history.
Upon completing her predoctoral internship at the University of Notre Dame’s Counseling Center, Constantine began her professional career as a practitioner, accepting a staff position at the University of Texas’s Counseling and Mental Health Center in Austin. After 5 years there, Constantine sought a new career direction that would allow her to develop her research interests more fully, and in 1995 she joined the counseling psychology faculty at Temple University in Philadelphia. Three years later, in 1998, she was recruited by Teachers College, Columbia University, to their Counseling Psychology Program, where she works as a full professor as of this writing.
National Leadership and Service
Throughout her career, Constantine has served her field as both participant and leader in a number of professional organizations and national service activities. She is a member of Divisions 17 (Society of Counseling Psychology), 35 (Psychology of Women), and 45 (Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues) of the American Psychological Association (APA), and is a lifetime member of the Association of Black Psychologists. She is also a member of the American Counseling Association (ACA), the Association of Multicultural Counseling and Development, the National Career Development Association, and the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision. In particular, she has been a leader within Division 17 since the early 1990s, when she became the chair of the division’s Ethnic and Racial Diversity Committee (which subsequently became the division’s Section on Ethnic and Racial Diversity); she served as past chair from 1997 to 1999. On behalf of Division 17, Constantine also has served as Program Committee chair (1999-2000), Awards Committee cochair (2001-2002) and chair (2002-2003), Fellowship Committee chair (2005-present), and liaison to the
APA’s Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee (1996-2003). She was the Program Committee cochair for the 2001 National Counseling Psychology Conference in Houston, Texas, and also has served as member-at-large for Division 45. In addition, Constantine has served as a grants review panel member for both the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2000) and the National Institute of Mental Health (2001), and she has served as a member of the Committee for the Examination for the Professional Practice of Psychology Licensing Exam (since 2002) and a member of numerous committees and task groups within APA.
Constantine’s editorial experience is extensive and comprises service to some of the most important journals in the field of psychology. She is currently a consulting editor of the Journal of the Professoriate (since 2005) and associate editor of Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology (since 2004) and the Journal of Counseling Psychology (since 2007). She also served previously as associate editor of the Journal of Black Psychology (2002-2006) and senior and associate editor of the Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development (1999-2003). Constantine has received appointments to the editorial boards of the Journal of Counseling Psychology (2000-2006), Career Development Quarterly (2005-2008), Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology (2000-2003), the Journal of Career Assessment (2001-2003), Professional Psychology: Research and Practice (2000-2003), The Counseling Psychologist (1999-2002), the Journal of Psychotherapy in Independent Practice (1997-2001), and the Journal of Counseling & Development (1996-1999).
Awards and Honors
Constantine’s professional accomplishments have garnered numerous national accolades, beginning with two awards that recognized the promise of her early scholarship. In 1999, she was honored by Division 45 of the APA with the Early Career Contributions to Ethnic Minority Psychology Award, and the following year she received the Fritz and Linn Kuder Early Career Scientist-Practitioner Award from Division 17 of the APA. Constantine also has been honored with Fellow status in each of these divisions, having been named a Fellow of Division 17 in 2002 and of Division 45 in 2003. She also is the recipient of five Outstanding Teaching Awards from Teachers College, Columbia University. In 2001, Constantine received the ACA Award for Outstanding Research, and in 2005 she received the Samuel H. Johnson Award for Exemplary Service and Scholarship from the Association of Multicultural Counseling and Development as well as the Exemplary Scholarship Award from the Association of Black Psychologists. More recently, Constantine was honored with the Distinguished Scholar Award from the American Educational Research Association’s Committee on Scholars of Color in Education (2006) and the Distinguished Research Award from its Division of Counseling and Human Development (2006).
The proof of Constantine’s commitment to psychological research lies in her astonishing productivity and the scholarly significance of her contributions. In mid-career at the time of this writing, she has authored or coauthored at least 110 journal articles and more than 40 book chapters, and she has edited or coedited four books—all in the 13 years since her first journal article in 1995. Her scholarship coheres around four interrelated themes: (1) the education, training, and supervision of counselors and psychologists; (2) vocational and psychological issues of underserved populations; (3) multicultural counseling competence; and (4) racism in psychology and education.
With regard to the education and training of psychologists, Constantine’s work has illuminated everything from the internship selection process to the complexities of the clinical supervisory relationship, especially where multicultural issues are concerned. Her studies of underserved populations and corresponding vocational and psychological issues have included explorations of racial identity, Africentric cultural values and coping styles, contextual and cultural factors in vocational development and career decisions, and the cultural adjustment experiences of international students. Constantine’s body of work on multicultural counseling competence is among the strongest to be found within the field of psychology. It comprises studies that systematically examine the components and effects of multicultural competence from the vantage points of clients, counselors, and supervisors, considering both self-reported and observed ratings of multicultural competence; it also includes a significant focus on the multicultural competence of school counselors.
Finally, Constantine’s research on racism in psychology and education represents a major contribution to our understanding of the dynamics of oppression within these fields as well as in society as a whole. This important social justice theme bookends Constantine’s work to date: Her first publication in 1995 documented the racist attitudes and behavior encountered by psychologists of color in Division 17, and her recent (2007) work on racial microaggressions has further developed this theme along several dimensions. As defined by Constantine and her colleague and collaborator Derald Wing Sue, racial microaggressions are the commonplace indignities and demeaning messages that are conveyed to people of color on a daily basis, often by perpetrators who are unaware of the racist connotations of their speech or behavior. Constantine’s research has identified the various types of racial microaggressions experienced by Black clients, graduate students, and faculty members as perpetrated by their White counselors, supervisors, and colleagues. Utilizing primarily qualitative methodologies that allowed participants’ own voices to emerge, Constantine’s contributions are momentous for psychologists interested in multicultural competence and social justice. In revealing the extent to which unaware racism still pervades the field of psychology, undermines psychological practice, and produces damaging results for people of color, this research should serve to spur the field to deepen its examination of all oppression-related biases and its commitment to multicultural competence.
Achievement in a Relational Context
In her 1994 book Teaching to Transgress, bell hooks described a liberatory, feminist, multicultural context for teaching and learning as “a radical space of possibility.” The ability to create such spaces epitomizes Madonna Constantine as a professional and as a person. Her collaborative and feminist spirit, her reticence to showcase herself as an individual, and her avid support and mentorship of students and colleagues alike are legendary.
- Constantine, M. G. (2001). Predictors of observer ratings of multicultural counseling competence in Black, Latino, and White American trainees. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 48, 456-462.
- Constantine, M. G. (2002). Predictors of satisfaction with counseling: Racial and ethnic minority clients’ attitudes toward counseling and ratings of their counselors’ general and multicultural counseling competence. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 49, 255-263.
- Constantine, M. G. (2007). Racial microaggressions against African American clients in cross-racial counseling relationships. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 54, 1-16.
- Constantine, M. G., Anderson, G. M., Berkel, L. A., Caldwell, L. D., & Utsey, S. O. (2005). Examining the cultural adjustment experiences of African international college students: A qualitative analysis. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 52, 57-66.
- Constantine, M. G., & Sue, D. W. (Eds.). (2005). Strategies for building multicultural competence in mental health and educational settings. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
- Constantine, M. G., & Sue, D. W. (Eds.). (2006). Addressing racism: Facilitating cultural competence in mental health and educational settings. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
- Constantine, M. G., & Sue, D. W. (2007). Perceptions of racial microaggressions among Black supervisees in cross-racial dyads. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 54, 142-153.
- Constantine, M. G., Warren, A. K., & Miville, M. L. (2005). White racial identity dyadic interactions in supervision: Implications for supervisees’ multicultural counseling competence. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 52, 490-496.
- Miville, M. L., Constantine, M. G., Baysden, M. F., & So-Lloyd, G. (2005). Chameleon changes: An exploration of racial identity themes of multiracial people. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 52, 507-516.
- Perez, R. M., Constantine, M. G., & Gerard, P. A. (2000). Individual and institutional productivity or racial and ethnic minority research in the Journal of Counseling Psychology. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 47, 223-228.
- Smith, T. B., Constantine, M. G., Dunn, T. W., Dinehart, J. M., & Montoya, J. A. (2006). Multicultural education in the mental health professions: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 53, 132-145.