HCBE Faculty Articles

Cyberbullying and the faculty victim experience: Perceptions and outcomes


Katelynn M. Sell0009-0001-5841-9854

Document Type


Publication Title

International Journal of Bullying Prevention



Publication Date



Cyberbullying affects US youth, adolescents, and adults and can occur in various settings. Among the academic literature exploring cyberbullying, most discuss cyberbullying of youth and adolescents within the K-12 academic setting. While some studies address cyberbullying targeting adults, a limited amount of research has been conducted on the topic of cyberbullying among adults within the higher education context. Of the studies that explore cyberbullying in higher education, a considerable proportion focus on cyberbullying incidents between college students. Less discussed, however, are the experiences of university faculty who have been cyberbullied by either their students, fellow faculty, or administrators. Few, if any, studies address cyberbullying of faculty as the phenomenon relates to the COVID-19 pandemic. The following qualitative study aims to fill this gap through examining the lived experiences of faculty victims of cyberbullying. Utilizing the theoretical lens of disempowerment theory, researchers recruited a diverse population of twenty-five university faculty from across the USA who self-reported being victims of cyberbullying. The study analyzes participants’ interview responses to determine common experiences of faculty and overarching themes concerning cyberbullying in the academic workplace, particularly within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The research team applied disempowerment theory to support thematic analysis. In addition, the present article offers potential solutions for supporting faculty as they navigate virtual learning environments. The study’s findings hold practical implications for faculty, administrators, and stakeholders in institutions of higher education who seek to implement research-driven policies to address cyberbullying on their campuses.




Data Availability

The data that supports the findings of this study is available from the corresponding auther, JRWY, upon reasonable request.

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