Loyola University Maryland


Leo Mickey Fenzel, Ph.D.

Leo Mickey Fenzel, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus


Ph.D. Developmental Psychology, Cornell University
M.A. Clinical Psychology, Loyola College in Maryland
M.B.A. General Business, Cornell University B. S. Operations Research, Cornell University


Dr. Leo “Mickey” Fenzel served 31 years at Loyola in several faculty and leadership positions, including Chair of the Pastoral Counseling Department, Associate Dean and Interim Dean of the School of Education, Chair of Teacher Education, and Assistant Vice President for Student Development. Dr. Fenzel arrived at Loyola in 1989 as an assistant professor in the Psychology Department and Associate Director of the Center for Social and Community Research. A licensed psychologist, he operated a private practice in Towson from 1989 until 2009 and currently sees clients with Safe Harbor Behavioral Care. He is also a certified Mindfulness Meditation Teacher and a member of the International Mindfulness Teachers Association. Dr. Fenzel received his doctorate in developmental psychology from Cornell University and served as an Assistant Professor of Teacher Education at San Diego State University before coming to Loyola, where he had received his MA in clinical psychology in 1985.

Much of Dr. Fenzel’s research has focused on the middle school as a context for young adolescent development. His early work used a stress-and-coping framework to examine the effects of the transition from elementary to middle school. More recently, he has examined the factors that contribute to the success of NativityMiguel Schools, alternative urban middle schools for students placed at risk that also caters to their social, emotional, and spiritual development. His book, Improving Urban Middle Schools: Lessons from the Nativity Schools, won an Alpha Sigma Nu book award in 2010. His second book, co-edited with Melodie Wyttenbach, PhD, Responding to the Call for Educational Justice: Transformative Catholic-Led Initiatives in Urban Education also received an Alpha Sigma Nu book award in 2019. Dr. Fenzel has also examined the effects of participation in service-learning on changes in college students’ attitudes related to social justice and racism and the predictors of and effects of substance abuse. He developed the Spiritual Involvement Scale, which assesses the extent to which people integrate spiritual practices in their daily lives and demonstrate a commitment to social justice pursuits. In 2010, Dr. Fenzel received the Loyola Faculty Award for Excellence in Service-Learning and Engaged Scholarship. He also has served as a moderator of Loyola service immersion programs in Mexico, El Salvador, and Jamaica and served six years on the Board of the Sisters Academy of Baltimore, a middle school for girls from underserved urban communities.



  • Fenzel, L. M., & Wyttenbach, M. (Eds.) (2019). Responding to the Call for Educational Justice: Transformative Catholic-Led Initiatives in Urban Education. Charlotte, NC: Information Age.
  • Fenzel, L. M. (2009). Improving urban middle schools: Lessons from the Nativity schools. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.


  • Fenzel, L.M., Richardson, K.D. The Stress Process Among Emerging Adults: Spirituality, Mindfulness, Resilience, and Self-compassion as Predictors of Life Satisfaction and Depressive Symptoms. J Adult Dev (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10804-021-09384-2
  • Selected Articles: Fenzel, L. M., & Richardson, K. D. (2019). Supporting continued academic success, resilience, and agency of boys in urban Catholic alternative middle schools, Journal of Catholic Education, 22(1), 1-23. http://dx.doi.org/10.15365/joce.2201012019
  • Fenzel, L. M., & Richardson, K. D. (2018). Use of out-of-school time with urban young adolescents: A critical component of successful NativityMiguel schools, Educational Planning, 25(2), 25-32.
  • Fenzel, L. M., Dean, R. J., & Darden, G. (2014). Effective learning environments and the use of teaching fellows in alternative urban middle schools. Journal of Education for Students Placed At Risk, 19, 20-35. doi: 0.1080/10824669.2014.924320
  • Fenzel, L. M., & Dean, R. J. (2011). Changes in students’ social justice and racial attitudes in an undergraduate child psychology service-learning course. Journal of Research on Service-Learning and Teacher Education, 1(2), 20-30.
  • Fenzel, L. M., & Domingues, J. (2009). Educating urban African American children placed at risk: A comparison of two types of parochial middle schools, Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry and Practice, 13, 30-52.
  • Fenzel, L. M. (2009). Effective alternative urban middle schools: Findings from research on NativityMiguel schools. Middle Grades Research Journal, 4(3), 1-18.
  • Fenzel, L. M., & Monteith, R. H. (2008). Successful alternative middle schools for urban minority children: A study of Nativity schools. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 13, 381-401.
  • Fenzel, L. M., & Peyrot, M. (2005). Comparing college community service participation and future service behaviors and attitudes. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 12, 23-31.
  • Fenzel. L. M. (2005). Multivariate analyses of predictors of heavy episodic drinking and drinking-related problems among college students. Journal of College Student Development, 46, 126-140.
  • Fenzel, L. M. (2000). Prospective study of changes in global self-worth and strain during the transition to middle school. Journal of Early Adolescence, 20, 93-116.

Selected Book Chapters

  • Fenzel, L. M., & Wyttenbach, M. (2013). Preparing NativityMiguel teachers to work with children of color from high poverty environments. In J. Landsman, S. Grineski, & R. Simmons (Eds.). Conversations about race: Going deeper with students and teachers. Sterling, VA: Stylus. 
  • Fenzel, L. M. (2013). Achievement in faith-based schools. In J. Hattie, & E. M. Anderman (Eds.), International guide to student achievement. New York: Routledge.
  • Fenzel, L. M. (2010). Effective alternative urban middle schools: Findings from research on NativityMiguel schools. In D. Hough (Ed.), Research supporting middle grades practice. Information Age.