Loyola University Chicago

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Dr. Shriberg: His research seeks ways to reduce school bullying

02-28-14-SOE-shriberg

 

After earning his doctorate at Northeastern University in Boston, Loyola professor David Shriberg worked as a school psychologist for three years. In that time, he saw the need for close collaboration between schools, families, and communities to solve many challenges, such as bullying. Shriberg has since found a home at Loyola, where the Jesuit passion for social justice inspires his work.

What drew you to the field of social justice, specifically to bullying?

As a practitioner, I was always interested in multicultural issues emerging in the school setting, so when I made the switch to being a professor, I was interested in examining the multicultural dimensions of education. As I got further along at Loyola, I became more familiar with the social justice mission, and it increasingly became a focus of my research and advocacy. I view bullying as a major social justice issue in schools.

How do you think bullying has been changed by social media?

The difference with social media is that now there are so many new platforms for bullying. It’s easier to bully with some distance. People will post things online that they might not say to a person’s face. You also can go to Facebook or other social media sites and create a whole phony identity as someone else, and you can do that in a way that people won’t even know it’s you. With social media, it’s a little unclear who has responsibility. Is it a school issue, a family issue, or a legal issue? Because it’s so many different people’s responsibility, it becomes no one’s responsibility. It makes everything more complicated.

Could you talk a little about your research?

The goal of my research is improving family, school, and community collaboration. Right now I have four different projects going on that are related to bullying and violence prevention. One is with a middle school, where we’re conducting leadership sessions for selected 7th graders and helping them come up with ideas for ways that the schools can reduce bullying. A second project involves providing consultation and support to a non-profit agency that provides free tutoring services for students in grades 1-6 in Chicago who come from lower income backgrounds. In addition, I’m just starting a couple of other projects: One is an empathy-based violence prevention curriculum; the other is an anti-bullying plan I’m working on with a large public school district.

What is your favorite class you’ve taught at Loyola so far?

There are many. One class I developed is an introduction to social justice for school psychologists. The best part of the class is the service-learning aspect. The students volunteer at homeless shelters, Chicago public schools, or community centers, and it helps to make social justice a real thing and not just an abstraction.

What do you think Loyola offers that makes it unique?

At a Jesuit school, you have a lot of liberty to say what you think, and that’s valued. We can address issues like racism, white privilege, and homophobia. You can’t talk about those kinds of things at every university. At Loyola, you have the safe space to talk about how the world can be made better and critique things that are wrong, but also to talk about things that are good.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your profession?

I would have to say it’s seeing students obtain experience to really develop their potential, and seeing their progress from semester to semester. I see how much they’ve grown and know that, while their growth is because of them, I have had a hand in students going out and improving the world. 

(Click here to learn more about Loyola’s Ed.D in school psychology program.) 

About the professor

Hometown: Montgomery, OH

Professor at Loyola since: 2006

Courses taught: Multiculturalism for Social Justice in Higher Education (ELPS 432); Seminar in Professional School Psychology (CIEP 462); Special Topics: Leading for Social Justice in School Psychology (CIEP 466); Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy (CPSY 423); Psychopathology (CIEP 413); Special Topics: Action Research (CIEP 466); Special Topics: Family/School/Community Collaboration