Michael J. Leahy

Michael J.   Leahy
  • University Distinguished Professor
  • Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Special Education


Michael Leahy is a University Distinguished Professor of rehabilitation counseling and director of the Office of Rehabilitation and Disability studies. His continuing research interests include professional competency development and education, professionalization, regulation of practice, vocational assessment, disability and rehabilitation policy, case management practices, outcomes and evidence-based practices in rehabilitation counseling.

In his more than 30-year career at MSU, he co-founded and currently co-directs the RAIND Institute (Research in Autism, Intellectual and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities), a cross-college, interdisciplinary research program. The institute works to make an important, meaningful and sustainable impact both in disability prevention and in improving the quality of life of individuals with disabilities and their families.

Additionally, he was one of the key individuals in conceptualizing and creating the DOCTRID Institute (Daughters of Charity Technology and Research for Intellectual Disability). This international, interdisciplinary institute—comprised of MSU and 19 universities in Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the U.K.—collaborate to provide evidence-based research efforts for those with intellectual disabilities and autism across the globe.

Leahy is also a former president of the Alliance for Rehabilitation Counseling, former president of the American Rehabilitation Counseling Association (ARCA), and former president of the National Council on Rehabilitation Education.

He has published more than 175 refereed journal articles, books, book chapters and research monographs, and has presented his research to a variety of rehabilitation and business audiences. He has also acted as the principal investigator and managed nearly 30 large-scale research, training, and service delivery grant projects at the state, national and international levels, and has been the recipient of more than 25 national research, teaching and service awards.