Best Practices

It is not new that faculty work with students to create learning experiences, but it is certainly not commonplace. Here, we begin to archive some ways teachers and institutions have implemented student-faculty partnerships at UVa and beyond. If you know of exemplars of student-faculty partnership work happening on grounds, please contact us.


Co-create UVA Grants

Co-create UVA offered grants to support instructors and students who wish to co-design courses during the Spring, Summer, or Fall 2017.  One student-faculty partnership designed an Advanced Chinese course. What follows are reflections from three students and the instructor on the collaborative course design process.
It’s not often that students have a say in what they are going to learn, and the Co-create design provides this opportunity. However, as a student, it is a bit difficult to understand how to plan for a rich, fulfilling curriculum, so having the teacher coordinate and supplement our ideas was extremely beneficial. I like the idea of collaboration between instructor and learners. It fosters a closer relationship between instructor and learners, which is always good to have in an educational environment. And because our class is so small and tight-knit, I definitely feel as if though my individual needs are taken into consideration. The instructor is able to pay better attention to us individually, and is also much more accessible for one-on-ones. (Jenny Wu, Class of 2020)
I have thoroughly enjoyed the co-create process for this class. I think that by being able to choose and learn my own material, I have the freedom to learn about topics I am very interested in. I think that through student instructor collaboration, we are able to combine our strength and make this class better. I really enjoyed our breakfast meeting because the relaxed atmosphere allowed for us to plan freely and without stress. I feel very motivated by this process because I am able to learn directly from the topics I have chosen. I think that my individual needs and goals were taken into consideration in this process. Looking ahead, I think that we need to plan more ideas for tasks in action so that we can do new things every task in action. I have enjoyed the Co-create process so far and I am excited to learn about Chinese students in China! (Trevor Atkeson, Class of 2020)
I’ve never had any experiences like Co-Create before. While sometimes at the end of the year the teachers of my classes would ask what we wanted to learn about in the last few weeks of school, I didn’t have any experience in constructing a class together with the teacher like we have done in this class. I thought that it was a great experience to be able to work on the curriculum and planning for a class together with the instructor. I think it creates a more engaging learning experience since it means that the students are also invested in the teaching and learning process. Since students helped create the curriculum, they are more likely to be interested in it. It was helpful to be able to work together to brainstorm creative and interesting ways to teach the next topic, and I think it resulted in a more engaging plan for learning. I feel that the process also allows for individual desires and goals to be accounted for, which creates a more individualized experience. (Derrick Wang, Class of 2020)
Miao-fen Tseng, Associate Professor of Chinese, Director of the Institute of World Languages
Co-create UVa has been a genuinely inspirational process that opens up refreshing and exciting possibilities for curriculum design and course enhancement. Although I have been a trainer and advocate of student-centered instruction for over one decade, this unique experience has driven me to rethink how and what to teach and led me to another level of professional growth. I’m thrilled to witness students’ active learning and feel confident that the remaining weeks of the semester will continue to enrich and reshape my teaching philosophy. The Co-create model, which can be extended to improve teaching and learning in many different ways, will greatly benefit instructors and students and enhance their meaningful experiences in the long run. It makes the course come alive again!


National Projects

Alison Cook-Sather at Bryn Mawr’s Teaching & Learning Institute initiated a student-faculty partnership program and  a pedagogy seminar for incoming faculty that includes one-on-one partnerships with undergraduate students. In the video below, hear students and faculty talk about the Student Voices Projects.

Under the leadership of Peter Felten, Elon University’s Center for Engaged Learning created resources on including student voice in teaching and learning, especially as it pertains to SoTL (Scholarship of Teaching and Learning). Hear Felten (and others) talk about re-designing courses with the help of students’ perspectives.

Hear students and faculty from leading institutions pioneering student-faculty partnership programs talk about the importance and outcomes of collaborating. “Randy Bass (Georgetown University); Sophia Abbot, Hayley Burke, Huipu Li, Roselyn Appenteng, Alicia Walker, and Alison Cook-Sather (all of Bryn Mawr College); Mick Healey (Higher Education Consultant and Researcher); and Carmen Werder and Kara Yanagida (Western Washington University) discuss the benefits of integrating student voices into scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) projects.”

“Sophia Abbot, Roselyn Appenteng, Hayley Burke, Alison Cook-Sather, Mick Healey, Huipu Li, Alicia Walker, Carmen Werder, and Kara Yanagida share tips and best practices for student-faculty partnerships in the scholarship of teaching and learning.”


 Local Projects

Marva Barnett, founding director of the Center for Teaching Excellence, improved student engagement by co-creating a French course. Her article on this process can be accessed through the CTE’s website.