Dorothy Espelage, one of the world’s leading academic experts on school safety and student well-being issues, is the William C. Friday Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
During a 25-year career, Espelage has established herself as a leading researcher and commentator on student safety, bullying and youth violence topics.
In addition to conducting research, Espelage orients much of her work toward helping the public and policymakers understand academic research findings so that effective prevention and intervention programs can be created and supported. She regularly advises members of Congress and has led webinars for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Justice. She authored a 2011 White House brief on bullying among LGBTQ youth.
Espelage has served as a consultant for the stopbullying.gov website, the Department of Health and Human Services’ national anti-bullying campaign, and NIH’s Pathways to Prevention initiative to address bullying and youth suicide. She regularly appears on television news and talk shows and is frequently sought after by national news media for her perspective on student well-being issues.
Espelage has written close to 200 peer-reviewed scholarly articles, edited six books and 73 chapters on bullying, sexual and gender-based harassment, dating violence, and gang violence. She served as an associate editor of the Journal of Counseling Psychology. She is one of the most-cited scholars worldwide in her areas of research.
She is the recipient of the American Psychological Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award in Prevention Science and the 2016 APA Award for Distinguished Contributions to Research in Public Policy.
She was elected to the National Academy of Education in 2018, the highest honor for researchers in the educational sciences. She is also a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, the American Psychological Association and the American Educational Research Association.
Areas of Expertise (12)
Sexual Harassment and Discrimination in the Schools, Workplace, and Military
Gun Violence Prevention
School Safety Interventions
Bullying and School-Age Children
Sexual Harassment / Bullying
Lifetime Achievement Award in Prevention Science (professional)
American Psychological Association
American Psychological Association Division 15 (Educational Psychology)
Elected Member (professional)
National Academy of Education
American Psychological Science
American Psychological Association Division 17 (Society of Counseling Psychology)
Indiana University: Ph.D., Counseling Psychology 1997
Radford University: M.S., Clinical Psychology 1993
Virginia Commonwealth University: B.S., Psychology 1991
Media Appearances (3)
Virginia Study Finds Increased School Bullying in Areas That Voted for Trump
National Public Radio radio
After the 2016 presidential election, teachers across the country reported they were seeing increased name-calling and bullying in their classrooms. Now, research shows that those stories — at least in one state — are confirmed by student surveys.
Research findings could lend credence to the anecdotal reports from teachers around the country after the election, says Dorothy Espelage.
"Anybody that's in the schools is picking up on this," she says. "You don't have to be a psychologist or a sociologist to understand that if these conversations are happening on the TV and at the dinner table that these kids will take this perspective and they're going to play out in the schools."
Gabby Giffords asks supporters to 'fight, fight, fight' for gun research funding at Orlando rally
Orlando Sentinel print
Former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt in 2011, urged a crowd of dozens at the Orlando Museum of Art on Saturday to “fight, fight, fight” for research funding to study gun violence.
Funding would make it possible for researchers who study school violence to collect data on gun safety and the psychological impacts of active shooter drills, said Dr. Dorothy Espelage.
Quoting a 2018 survey, Espelage said 75 percent of people 15 to 21 years old stated that their biggest source of fear and stress on a daily basis was “fear of mass shootings at my school,” she said.
Dr. Dorothy Espelage on Bullying with Anderson Cooper
Dorothy Espelage talks with CNN's Anderson Cooper about how parents can help end bullying.