Auburn’s anti-bullying summit named extraordinary program by association of educators and professionals

AUBURN UNIVERSITY – Auburn University’s Anti-Bullying Summit which brings together educators, mental health practitioners and community groups to address bullying and cyberbullying has been recognized as an extraordinary program by the University Professional and Continuing Education Association.

“The summit, over the last three years, has provided a forum for more than 500 educators and community leaders to learn about the far-reaching impacts of bullying in schools and communities,” said John Freeze, associate director of the Office of Professional and Continuing Education. “The program has been instrumental in bringing together practitioners, researchers and learners alike to share information and learn from each other. It’s a remarkable and touching experience to see the participants leave with a renewed perspective on just how devastating and far-reaching the consequences of bullying can be, as well as with a reinvigorated commitment to put an end to it.”

Auburn received the Special Populations Award which recognizes a program that identifies and targets specific groups with unique needs. The award was presented at the University Professional and Continuing Education Association-South regional conference hosted by Auburn University in Birmingham Oct. 17.

“The UPCEA Program for Special Populations Award is an important recognition for the Anti-Bullying Summit because it acknowledges and validates our efforts to provide a high-quality learning opportunity for teachers, administrators, counselors, community leaders and even students to help bring a heightened sense of awareness to the issue of bullying,” Freeze said. “The award is particularly special because it is awarded through a peer-reviewed nomination process, which means that based on the strong merits of the program, Auburn University’s peers in the continuing education field felt the Anti-Bullying Summit was deserving of recognition.”

The Office of Professional and Continuing Education in University Outreach and the Truman Pierce Institute host the annual summit which explores topics including the need to develop supportive school cultures, address cyberbullying, develop understandings of the root causes of bullying and explore the processes for building intervention plans.

“We are excited about this important recognition of the Anti-Bullying Summit and of OPCE’s many contributions to the ongoing success of this initiative,” said Cindy Reed, director of the Truman Pierce Institute, an outreach and research center of the College of Education. “TPI is proud to partner with OPCE on this and other efforts to engage with communities as we work to provide programming in areas of critical need for Alabama and beyond. Efforts to educate the public about the consequences of bullying as well as how to address this issue in comprehensive, proactive ways are essential.”

The annual UPCEA-South conference attracts more than 100 continuing education faculty and professionals from around the Southeast. Freeze also was selected as chair-elect for the UPCEA-South organization for 2014 and will assume the chairmanship for the group in 2015.

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