Cyberbullying at University

To examine the extent, form, experiences, impact, and possible solutions regarding cyberbullying at the post-secondary level in Canada: CB among students, towards faculty members, and among faculty members. The study involves an online student survey, an online faculty survey, student focus groups, faculty interviews, a policy scan, and interviews with administrators/policy makers.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Wanda Cassidy
Co-Investigators: Dr. Margaret Jackson, Criminology
Funding Agency: SSHRC Standard Research Grant

Additional Team Members:
Collaborators:  Chantal Faucher & Brian Naicker (SFU), Lida Blizard (Kwantlen), Natalie Sharpe & Connie Varnhagen (U of Alberta), Linda Eyre (U of New Brunswick)

What's Proposed

This study involved a policy scan of relevant university policies related to cyberbullying and harassment at 75 universities across Canada; survey data collected from students and faculty members at four participating universities; interviews with faculty members and administrators; and focus groups with students. The policy results are published, as well as articles related to the findings from the surveys (see listings under publications). Journal articles discussing the qualitative data (interviews/focus groups) are still in process.

How This Project is Carried Out

In collaboration with four universities in Canada.

Why This Project Matters

There is a significant body of research focusing on cyberbullying at the K-12 level, but very little to date at the post-secondary level. Yet members of the university community are experiencing unwanted, hurtful and derogatory messages, which can seriously impact their health and well-being, as well as negatively influence the wider university culture. In British Columbia WorkSafe BC has mandated that public institutions develop appropriate policies and practices that effectively address workplace bullying/cyberbullying. In general, universities policies and practices have not kept up with the proliferation of communication technologies and how they are being used and abused.

How This Project is Put into Action

The data collection phase is complete, and we have published four journal articles, one book chapter, and three research reports on the project. We have yet to fully analyze our qualitative data collected through the interviews and focus groups. We have discussed our findings in the local and national media, hosted a provincial symposium on the topic (with several universities and colleges in BC, Alberta and Washington State represented), and held meetings with relevant policy makers. We have presented our findings at conferences and developed partnerships with international colleagues working in related areas. Safety and Risk Services at Simon Fraser University contracted with our research team to provide them with additional international research information related to workplace and university-based bullying; this will assist them in policy development on campus.

Where to Learn More

  • The working papers from our March 12, 2014 symposium entitled: Cyberbullying at Canadian Universities: Linking Research, Policy and Practice as well as videos of each presentation can be found under Cyberbullying Resources.
  • Examples of interviews given on CB by university by the research team.
  • University Affairs' article
  • Paper in press: "When on-line exchanges byte: An examination of the policy environment governing cyberbullying at the university level", Canadian Journal of Higher Education.
  • Cassidy, W., Jackson, M., Faucher, C. (2015). Gender differences and cyberbullying towards faculty members in higher education. In R. Navarro, S. Yubero, & E. Larranaga (Eds.), Cyberbullying across the globe: Gender, family, and mental health, (Chap. 4), pp. 79-98. Switzerland: Springer International.
  • Faucher, C., Cassidy, W., & Jackson, M. (2015). From the sandbox to the inbox: Comparing the acts, impacts, and solutions of bullying in K-12, higher education, and the workplace. Journal of Education and Training Studies, 3(6), 111-125. doi:11114/jets.v3i6.1033
  • Faucher, C., Jackson, M., & Cassidy, W. (2015). When on-line exchanges byte: An examination of the policy environment governing cyberbullying at the university level. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 45(1), 102-121.
  • Cassidy, W., Faucher, C. & Jackson, M. (2014). The dark side of the ivory tower: Cyberbullying of university faculty and teaching personnel, Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 60(2), 279-299.
  • The information from the March 2014 Symposium, is available on the website listed below, including videos of the plenary presentations.
  • Cassidy, W., Jackson, M., & Faucher, C., Waterhouse, T., & MacDonald, L. (2014). Parameters of the Issue, Working Paper #1. Cyberbullying at Canadian Universities: Linking Research, Policy, and Practice Symposium, March 12, 2014. Vancouver: Centre for Education, Law and Society (www.cels.sfu.ca) and Safety and Risk Services (https://www.sfu.ca/srs/asg/sfucbs/cyberbullying-resources.html), Simon Fraser University.
  • Cassidy, W., Jackson, M., & Faucher, C., Waterhouse, T., & MacDonald, L. (2014).  Thinking about Solutions, Working Paper #2. Cyberbullying at Canadian Universities: Linking Research, Policy, and Practice Symposium, March 12, 2014. Vancouver:Centre for Education, Law and Society (www.cels.sfu.ca) and Safety and Risk Services (https://www.sfu.ca/srs/asg/sfucbs/cyberbullying-resources.html), Simon Fraser University.

Dr. Chantal Faucher - Cyberbullying at Canadian Universities: Linking Research, Policy and Practice

Dr. Wanda Cassidy - Cyberbullying at Canadian Universities: Linking Research, Policy and Practice

Dr. Margaret Jackson - Cyberbullying at Canadian Universities: Linking Research, Policy and Practice