Bill Flack

Professor of Psychology

Coordinator, Social Justice Minor

Department Co-Chair

Educational Background

  • B.A., Psychology, University of Maine, Orono ME, 1982
  • M.A., Psychology, Wesleyan University, Middletown CT, 1987
  • Ph.D., Psychology (Clinical Training Program), Clark University, Worcester MA, 1993
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship in Clinical Research, Behavioral Science Division, National Center for PTSD, Boston Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 1997

Scholarly Interests

I trained as a clinical psychologist and have focused increasingly on critical and community psychologies. My research is aimed at understanding and eliminating sources of psychological trauma, especially campus sexual assault and other forms of gender-based violence. My teaching and research are aimed at helping students to understand the shortcomings of current psychological knowledge in order to improve it toward more socially just ends. 

Theoretically, my work is grounded in:

  • Critical psychologies (e.g., Smail, 1987/2015)
  • Critical social justice theory (e.g., Sensoy & DiAngelo, 2017)
  • Feminism (e.g., Herman, 1992; Magnusson & Marecek, 2012)
  • Pragmatism (e.g., Dewey, 1916; Rorty, 1989)

Courses Taught

Most of my courses entail community engagement and are writing-intensive.

  • PSYC 100 General Psychology
  • PSYC 230 Community Psychologies
  • PSYC 285 Research Methods in Community Psychology
  • PSYC 303 Critical Psychologies
  • PSYC 306 Trauma Psychology
  • RESC 098 Questioning for the Common Good (Foundation Seminar, Social Justice Residential College)


I used to do laboratory-based research on emotional expression and experience, some of which I applied to psychiatric disorders. More recently, I have done applied research on sexual violence, focusing on gender-based violence among Bucknell students.

Students work with me as research trainees and collaborators. We conduct annual web-based surveys on sexual assault among Bucknell students, focusing primarily on social factors related to assault victimization and perpetration. Students gain experience doing research on an important public health issue, and some do summer research and/or write honors theses based on this work during their senior year. Our results are often presented at annual meetings of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies(ISTSS) and occasionally published in peer-reviewed journals. Some of our findings have also been used in the University's prevention education programming, in a report from the President's Task Force on Campus Climate (2011), and in an application to the Violence Against Women Campus Grant Program, US Department of Justice (2012).

I am a member of the Administrator-Researcher Campus Climate Consortium (ARC3), a group of academic deans, Title IX coordinators, and campus sexual assault researchers that developed a survey on sexual assault and related factors for general use by U.S. colleges and universities (2014-). I was a U.S.-U.K. Fulbright Scholar at Ulster University in Northern Ireland during the fall 2015, and one of the results of that scholarship was the RESPECT Network, a new All-Ireland/North-South research group on sexual assault among Irish university students. I am also a Visiting Professor (honorary) in the Faculty of Life & Health Sciences, School of Psychology, at Ulster University in Coleraine, Northern Ireland.


One way of doing critical psychology is to engage in activism informed by research in the service of social justice. Among such activities, I have arranged screenings and panel discussions of films such as Doctors of the Dark Side (Davis, 2011) and The Hunting Ground (Dick, 2014) and co-organized the conference Sexual Assault in Higher Education: The Role of Faculty as Researchers, Teachers, Policymakers and Advocates at Cornell University (2015). I also co-founded and served until recently on the leadership team of Faculty Against Rape (FAR), a national organization designed to help support survivors and faculty who experience negative consequences for doing research on campus sexual assault and/or supporting survivors. I also give regular, open lectures on the results of my research.

Selected Publications

(since 2005; * published with Bucknell student co-author(s))

Swartout, K.M., Flack, W.F., Jr., Cook, S.L., Olson, L.N., Hall Smith, P., & White, J.W. (2018). Measuring campus sexual misconduct and its context: The Administrator-Researcher Campus Climate Consortium (ARC3) Survey. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy.

*Flack, W.F., Jr., Hansen, B.E., Hopper, A.B., Bryant, L.A., Lang, K.W., Massa, A.A., & Whalen, J.E. (2016). Some types of hookups may be riskier than others for campus sexual assault. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy.

*Flack, W.F., Jr., Kimble, M., Campbell, B.E., Hopper, A.B., Peterca, O., & Heller, E.J. (2015). Sexual assault among female undergraduates during study abroad: A single campus study. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 30, 3453-3466. doi: 10.1177/0886260514563833

*Kimble, M., Flack, W.F., Jr., & Burbridge, E. (2013). Study abroad increases risk for sexual assault in female undergraduates: A preliminary report. PsychologicalTrauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 5, 426-430. doi: 10.1037/a0029608

*Kimble, M., Neacsiu, D., Flack, W.F., Jr., & Horner, J. (2008). Risk of unwanted sex for college women: Evidence for a "red zone." Journal of American College Health, 57, 331-337. doi: 10.3200/JACH.57.3.331-338

*Flack, W.F., Jr., Caron, M.L., Leinen, S.J., Breitenbach, K.G., Barber, A.M., Brown, E.N., Gilbert, C.T., Harchak, T.F.,Hendricks, M.M., Rector, C.E., Schatten, H.T., & Stein, H.C. (2008). The red zone: Temporal risk for unwanted sex among college students. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 23, 1177-1196. doi: 10.1177/0886260508314308

*Flack, W.F., Jr., Daubman, K.A., Caron, M.L., Asadorian, J., D'Aureli, N., Kiser, S., Hall, A., Gigliotti, S., & Stine, E. (2007). Risk factors and consequences of unwanted sex among university students: Hooking up, alcohol, and stress response. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22, 139-157. doi:10.1177/0886260506295354

*Flack, W.F., Jr., Milanak, M.E., & Kimble, M.O. (2005). Emotional numbing in relation to stressful civilian experiences among college students. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 18, 569-573. doi: 10.1002/jts.20066