Community College Professor Partners on Campus Bullying Research

Lynn Russo Whylly's picture
Thursday, February 21, 2013

Bullies aren’t just on the playground. In fact, 62 percent of higher ed employees surveyed for a recent study reported witnessing or experiencing bullying in the past 18 months. That’s exactly one-quarter more than the 37 percent of the general workforce who report the same, according to Workplace Bullying Institute Data.

The data was gathered in February and March of 2012 and was discussed in the book “Bully in the Ivory Tower” (Patricia Berkly, 2012), by Leah P. Hollis, president and lead consultant at diversity training and consulting group Patricia Berkly LLC. Hollis, who has 20 years experience in higher ed as an administrator and faculty member, and her team randomly selected 18 people from across departments and levels at 175 four-year institutions to fill out a 35-point survey about their experiences with bullying in higher education.

The majority of respondents were directors and assistant directors, Hollis shares, noting that provosts, presidents, and vice presidents weren’t as interested in filling out the survey. Respondents were asked if they had experienced or had witnessed bullying in the past 18 months, and also if they had witnessed vicarious bullying (i.e., a superior having a subordinate or secretary do their bullying). Hollis says the “ego” factor in higher ed could play a role in the prevalence of bullying on campus.