The American Association of University Professors is putting a spotlight on bullying behaviors. The May-June issue of Academe, the AAUP’s membership magazine, features a piece by Clara Wajngurt that focuses on the impact of bullying behaviors in colleges and universities:
Elizabeth Farrington, an expert on women in higher education, defines campus bullying as behavior at colleges and universities that tends “to threaten, to intimidate, to humiliate or to isolate members of the working university environment [and] that undermines reputation or job performance.” It occurs frequently, and very often we who work in these environments are unaware of it.
…It is in the best interest of college and university leaders to promote ethical conduct and a collegial working environment. Bullied workers, be they faculty members, academic professionals, or administrators, can experience serious psychological and physiological problems, from insomnia and depression to cardiovascular disease and impaired memory. Reducing workplace bullying is cost-effective, resulting in happier, more passionate employees.
In addition, the magazine’s online edition includes an article by Barb Holdcroft on bullying and incivility among college students:
I recently finished a particularly disturbing semester of teaching that was filled with instances of student incivility, intimidation, and entitlement. In searching for information that could help me understand my students’ behavior, I found that other teachers have had similar experiences.
Several aspects of these behaviors can be quickly identified. All have a negative impact on education and can produce dire consequences in real life. As students repeat each behavior with “success,” the behaviors become more entrenched.
The AAUP is the nation’s leading membership organization and collective voice for higher education faculty in the U.S., and I’m glad to see it giving bullying behaviors greater attention.