Research Cafe looks at bullying, from classroom to workplace

Girl being bullied

Research Café: Bullying - from classroom to workplace, is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 21 from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. at the Scotiabank Atrium, Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Research Complex.

There was a time, not too long ago, when the taunts and punches from schoolyard bullies were just considered a part of growing up. At workplaces, people would endure office gossip or a volatile boss for the sake of staying employed.

But, as a society, we’ve come to our senses. We realize that the physical and emotional costs of bullying – heightened by the tragic stories we hear in the news – are far too great.

For several decades research, including studies led at Brock, have been looking at bullying from every imaginable angle. The field involves expertise in psychology, sociology, health sciences, biology, technology and business.

Research Café: Bullying – from classroom to workplace, will draw on some of the expertise at Brock to open a conversation and exchange knowledge and ideas with others in the community about the complex issue of bullying in society today.


The café is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 21 from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. at the Scotiabank Atrium, Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Research Complex.

Marty Mako, a health promoter for Niagara Region Public Health and a member of the President’s Task Force on Community Engagement, will moderate the panel.

Mako says he expects the café will be of interest to many people in the community, particularly practitioners, who share in concerns about bullying and the impact it has on the physical and emotional well-being of children, teenagers and adults.

“As a health promoter with a passion for translating theory into practice, I’m impressed by how this event will bring a group of researchers and practitioners together,” he says. “The panel of experts will share ideas and help build more awareness and understanding of bullying. The goal is to work together as a community to better understand the issue, and find ways to reduce and prevent bullying that will make our day-to-day environments – schools, playgrounds, workplaces and digital spaces – safer and more comfortable for people of all ages and backgrounds.”

The Research Cafe discussion will be an extension of a podcast conversation about bullying that features panel members Professors Lisa Barrow and Zopito Marini. The podcast is produced by Brock Research and will be posted to its website soon.


Lisa Barrow, Assistant Professor, Goodman School of Business
Barrow is a workplace bullying expert and is the author of two books titled In Darkness Light Dawns: Exposing Workplace Bullying, and Hope For A Healthy Workplace. She provides workplace bullying training for leaders, managers, unions and employees. Barrow also provides coaching and conflict resolution for employees involved in bullying.

Ann Farrell, PhD student, Psychology
Farrell’s doctoral thesis, supervised by Prof. Tony Volk, will explore how individual and environmental factors influence various subtypes of adolescent bullying both independently and interactively. Farrell is a recipient of a SSHRC graduate student scholarship.

Zopito Marini, Professor, Child and Youth Studies
Marini is a developmental and educational psychologist and his research interests focus on the area generally known as sociocognitive development. Projects currently under way in his lab examine bullying, victimization and intervention strategies; bullying involving unique contexts and distinct populations; and incivility as a precursor to bullying.

Natalie Spadafora, master’s student, Child and Youth Studies
Spadafora’s master’s research, supervised by Prof. Zopito Marini, is examining what motivates students to choose to intervene or not when witnessing a bullying situation. Spadafora is a recipient of a SSHRC graduate student scholarship.

Tony Volk, Associate Professor, Child and Youth Studies
Volk is a developmental psychologist interested in the area of parenting and child development. His work on bullying focuses on using an evolutionary perspective to help understand the causes and functions of bullying and studying bullying outside of traditional school settings.

Heather Woods, master’s student in Education
Woods is working with her supervisor, Education Prof. Sandra Bosacki, on a study to ask teachers who are at the front-line of anti-bullying intervention and programming in elementary schools to share the perceptions they have about their confidence and ability to effectively intervene in all types of bullying situations.
Woods is a recipient of a SSHRC graduate student scholarship.


Marty Mako
Mako has been a health promoter for Niagara Region Public Health since 2005. He works in the Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention division. Mako has an undergraduate degree in Health Sciences and a master’s in Business Administration. Mako serves on the Brock University President’s Task Force on Community Engagement and is an active volunteer with many community organizations including the City of St. Catharines Heritage and Sustainability Committees, United Way, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Out of the Cold and the Humane Society.

The Jack and Nora Walker Canadian Centre for Lifespan Development Research Centre, and Brock Research have partnered with the Faculty of Graduate Studies to present the Research Café as one of the annual events held in conjunction with the Mapping the New Knowledges Graduate Student Research Conference.

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