Our higher education institutions have a duty of care to their students and staff, and a responsibility to foster a campus culture that is clear in the condemnation of unwanted and unacceptable behaviours, which act as barriers to their safety and their active participation in college life.
I recently wrote to our higher education institutions advising them that two surveys will be conducted in the academic year 2021-2022 in relation to bullying among staff and students. These surveys will be conducted by researchers at the DCU National Anti-Bullying Centre.
The third level student cohort remains largely overlooked at research, policy and practice level and the lack of comprehensive and current data documenting the extent of the problem presents a barrier to both understanding and addressing the issue. Research on workplace bullying in our Higher Education Institutions is also lacking and little is known on this phenomenon within the Irish context. Given the negative effects of workplace bullying in terms of physical and psychological wellbeing, student learning, organisational culture, and organisational costs, it is paramount to investigate this phenomenon and implement prevention and intervention programmes.
The aim of the surveys is to gain a deeper understanding into the experiences of bullying among and between Higher Education staff and students in Ireland, including the current prevalence, nature and effects of these issues. This will provide an evidence base to inform policy in the area.