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School of Education department will offer online graduate course on bullying

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

LAWRENCE — Bullying is a pervasive problem that cuts across all ages, genders, races and environments. It happens in schools, homes and in workplaces, including colleges and universities, and even in marital and familial relationships. Bullying is all about power and intimidation over another individual. Anyone can be a bully, and anyone can be bullied, including students, teachers, administrators and parents, spouses, employees, among others.  

In response to the recent state requirements for all schools in Kansas to have a bullying policy and a prevention/intervention plan in place, the University of Kansas School of Education will offer a special online graduate course during Summer 2015: EPSY 798 Bullying: Prevention and Intervention. Taught by Robert Harrington, professor in the Department of Psychology & Research in Education (soon to be Educational Psychology), this course will also serve to prepare educators for the federal mandates which require schools to monitor the physical, emotional, social and safety of school climates as well.  

Individuals interested in the topic of classroom behavior, and especially bullying as a whole, are invited to enroll in the online course this summer. Students do not have to be actively enrolled in a graduate program with the School of Education as non-degree seeking enrollment options are available to regular and special education teachers, school psychologists, counselors, social workers, school administrators, paraprofessionals in education, higher education administrators and others in the community. Diversity of ideas and perspectives makes the course richer. More information on the non-degree seeking admission option at KU is available here

The bullying complex is composed of the bully, victim and bystander. The course will address and study the dynamic interactions of all three types of individuals involved and examine the following factors:     

  • What are some predisposing factors from development, personality, social environment, biology, mental health, parenting, societal mores and the general climate of a society?
  • At what age do bullies bully most? Does bullying stop in adulthood?  
  • What motivates bullies to bully? How do they think?  
  • How has bullying evolved over the years? When does bullying become a crime?  
  • How do males and females differ in the ways they bully?  
  • What can schools do to prevent bullying?
  • What can parents do to be supportive of the efforts of schools in bullying prevention?  
  • What does a good anti-bullying policy look like?
  • Should there be a role for counseling, social skills development, peer mediation, restorative justice, anger control, police intervention?  

"In the end, my goal is to awaken the awareness of what bullying is in all its forms. I hope to introduce students to the research done, and recommended practices proposed, to prevent and intervene with bullying in several different environments, including schools, universities and the workplace," Harrington said. "I also hope to address how bullying can happen across the lifespan, not just in childhood and adolescence."  

EPSY 798 Bullying: Prevention & Intervention will be offered in a 100 percent online format during the summer 2015 semester (June 9 to July 2) and can be made available to interested individual regardless of geographic location or experience level. For more information, please contact Harrington at

The Department of Psychology & Research in Education (soon to be Educational Psychology) is housed in the School of Education. It is a nationally ranked school, preparing educators and health/sport/exercise professionals as leaders.

10th among public universities for its master’s and doctoral programs
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#1 public program in nation for special education
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Assists public schools and other partners in all 105 Kansas counties
$938,377 in scholarship funds awarded to 420+ students
Research expenditures of $36,804,773 for 2011-12
Research from KU’s largest grant, the $24.5 million SWIFT project, assists educators, children, and families across the United States
The award-winning special education faculty published 140 refereed articles, 11 books, and 60 chapters in 2015-16
Students with intellectual disabilities are participating in KU undergraduate programs through a grant-funded KU special education program
Researchers on a $3.5 million grant are collecting data on an innovative reading program designed to teach reading to students with the most significant disabilities in seven Kansas school districts
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
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