Hamline’s Bullying Prevention Certificate

by Taylor Sykora

Hamline University’s Bullying Prevention Certificate is an online multicourse program designed to provide adults with the knowledge, skills, and resources for creating safe learning environments for children. By participating in this program, students will have the opportunity to learn about bullying prevention through a series of cutting-edge courses developed by program coordinator and Nationally Certified Bullying Prevention Specialist, Cheryl Green. Cheryl is an expert in the Olweus Model, a world renowned bulling prevention program supported by over thirty five years of intensive research, and has incorporated many of its fundamental principles into Hamline’s Bully Prevention Certificate.

In order to successfully complete the program and attain a certification in bullying prevention, students must finish a series of five courses. Students may also choose to enroll in any course/courses individually; however, this option will not result in the student’s certification. These courses include Foundations of Bullying Prevention, Bystander Behavior and Bullying Prevention, LGBT and Gender-Based Bullying, Cyber Bullying, and Final Synthesis: Bullying Prevention Certificate for a total of ten credits. By completing these courses, students will not only have acquired a better understanding of bullying and how it should be addressed, but can use the credits obtained through these courses to fulfill some or all of the elective requirements for various degrees.

Creating Safe and Supportive School Climates

Every child deserves a safe school environment in which they are able to learn and grow without the fear of being bullied. Bullying not only inhibits a child’s ability to reach their academic potential, but can also be detrimental to their physical and emotional health if not addressed properly. To avoid these consequences and protect the well-being of all students, Hamline’s Bullying Prevention Certificate provides adults with the knowledge and skills necessary for creating a positive school climate that adheres to the values outlined by the Minnesota Safe and Supportive Schools Act.

This comprehensive anti-bullying law was signed in April of 2014 by Governor Dayton and has dramatically transformed the state’s anti-bullying policy from what was widely perceived as the weakest in the nation to one of the strongest. Hamline’s Bullying Prevention Certificate continues this transition towards safe school environments by offering courses that teach adults how to more effectively identify and respond to bullying. Through their involvement in these courses, individuals will explore various approaches to bullying prevention and will learn how to properly address current bullying problems, prevent future issues, engage bystanders, and create better peer relationships among students.

Hamline’s Bullying Prevention Certificate also eliminates bullying by addressing the underlying social and emotional issues that cause it. The environment is which we learn and grow as children has a drastic influence on our personality as well as our behavior, and without a safe and positive atmosphere free from the harmful effects of bullying, this environment can be devastating to a child’s well-being. If a child is raised in hostile and discriminative environment in which bullying is prominent, it is likely that child will come to perceive this behavior as normal or even acceptable and is less likely to stand up against bullying than a child raised in a more positive school climate. Therefore, to effectively eliminate bullying, educators must first eliminate the hostile environment in which it was conceived, and this program helps them to do just that.

With the tools and resources provided by Hamline’s Bully Prevention Certificate, educators are able to build a positive school community in which kindness and tolerance thrive among students. By simply promoting respect, inclusivity, and acceptance, educators can begin to eradicate the threat of bullying in their schools, and replace that sense of enmity towards one another with a sense of appreciation. “This creates a climate in which all community members appreciate each other in such a strong and powerful way that bullying doesn’t exist”, says Carol Mayer, a professor in the Continuing Studies program at Hamline University.

Promoting Lifelong Professional Development

In addition to promoting safe school environments for children, Hamline’s Bullying Prevention Certificate also encourages the lifelong professional development of teachers and educators. Through this program, adults will have the opportunity to extend their accreditation beyond a one-time teaching certificate and to further develop their skills as educators by learning how to effectively identify and respond to bullying. This program is particularly beneficial to school teachers, administrators, volunteers, and other adults who encounter bullying in their daily lives and wish to see it addressed.

Bullying can be extremely harmful to a child’s health as well as their education. It can prevent an individual from participating in school services, programs, and activities, inhibiting their ability to reach their full academic potential and stunting their social development, but by participating in the Bullying Prevention Certificate and obtaining the skills and knowledge necessary for creating positive school climates, educators can ensure that their students have a safe and supportive community to learn and to grow. With these skills, educators are more equipped to defend their students against the threat of bullying and can begin to make an outstanding difference in not only their schools, but in the lives of their students.

Upholding a Longstanding Tradition of Social Justice

“Hamline has a longstanding commitment to dealing with social justice issues, a long historical tradition of being committed to equity,” says Carol, “and we are hoping to continue our contribution to social progress through the Bullying Prevention Certificate”. As a university dedicated to preserving everyone’s right to learn and pursue their dreams, Hamline has become the first establishment of its kind to offer courses in bullying prevention at a graduate level, and as a catalyst in the stand against bullying, hopes to become an inspiration and a model for future programs. These courses provide adults with the resources they need to make a difference in their community, and by doing so, is transforming Hamline’s vision of a culture in which appreciation and respect triumph over contempt and discrimination into a real, concrete form in the world, a culture in which everyone does their part to prevent bullying. “It takes everybody’s strength to create to a culture in which bullying does not happen”, says Carol, “and that is what Hamline hopes to create through this program”.

For more information:  Hamline University's Bullying Prevention Certificate

About the author:  Tayler Sykora is a student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls majoring in marketing communications with a minor in professional writing. Tayler has an internship with ConnectWC for the summer of 2015 and is writing several articles focusing on disability-related topics of interest to individuals with special needs, their families and the community.
Email: tayler.sykora@my.uwrf.edu
Phone: 715-338-6150