There is a growing body of research on student-faculty partnerships. In the past five to seven years, some of the leading scholars in the field, including Alison Cook-Sather, Peter Felten, Catherine Bovill, and Carmen Werder have offered guidelines for successful implementation and expected outcomes of authentic interactions between students and faculty, working together to co-create teaching and learning. Below are summaries and poignant quotes from this literature as well as links to articles available online for free.

Engaging Students as Partners in Learning & Teaching by Alison Cook-Sather, Catherine Bovill, and Peter Felten


“We define student-faculty partnerships as a collaborative, reciprocal process through which all participants have the opportunity to contribute equally, although not necessarily in the same ways, to curricular or pedagogical conceptualization, decision making, implementation, investigation, or analysis. This definition stands in contrast to the student-as-consumer model that has become increasingly prevalent in higher education. It also departs from the traditional “sage-on-the-stage” model of teaching. Partnership, as we define it, positions both students and faculty as learners as well as teachers; it brings different but comparably valuable forms of expertise to bear on the educational process.” (6-7)

  Types of Partnerships and their Models:

  • Individual faculty work with students
    • Designing a course or elements of a course (e.g., assignments)
    • Partnerships responding to the student experience during a course
    • Assessing student work (making this process more translucent and more of a dialogue, driven by students expectations, criteria, and goals; peer grading and self-grading)
  • Program-level student-faculty partnerships
    • Designing or redesigning a course before or after it is taught
    • Analyzing classroom practice within the context of a course while it is being taught
    • Developing research partnerships that catalyze institutional change
Outcomes for Students:
  • Engagement—Enhancing Motivation and Learning Awareness—Developing Metacognitive Awareness and a Stronger Sense of Identity
    • Enhanced confidence, motivation, and enthusiasm
    • Enhanced engagement in the process, not just the outcomes, of learning
    • Enhanced responsibility for, and ownership of, their own learning
    • Deepened understanding of, and contributions to, the academic community
  • Enhancement—Improving Teaching and Classroom Experiences
    • Become more active as learners
    • Gain insight into faculty members’ pedagogical intentions
    • Take more responsibility for learning
Outcomes for Faculty:
  • Engagement—enhancing motivation and learningAwareness—Developing Metacognitive Awareness and a Stronger Sense of Identity
    • Transformed thinking about and practices of teaching
    • Changed understandings of learning and teaching through experiencing different viewpoints
    • Reconceptualization of learning and teaching as collaborative processes
  • Enhancement—Improving Teaching and Classroom Experiences
    • A deeper understanding of students’ experiences and needs
    • A reconceptualization of students as colleagues

Engaging Student Voices in the Study of Teaching & Learning, edited by Carmen Werder and Megan M. Otis.


Publisher’s description:This book addresses the all-important dimensions of collaboration in the study of learning raised by such questions as: Should teachers engage students directly in discussions and inquiry about learning? To what extent? What is gained by the collaboration? Does it improve learning, and what do shared responsibilities mean for classroom dynamics, and beyond?

Practicing what it advocates, a faculty-student team co-edited this book, and faculty-student (or former student) teams co-authored eight of its eleven chapters.

Using various institutional models to illustrate these foundational concepts, part one provides a context for understanding the detailed examples that follow. The case studies in the second half of the volume illustrate how these concepts play out inside and outside the classroom when students shift from serving as research subjects in a SoTL study to working as independent researchers or as partners with faculty in such work as studying curricular design/redesign, readings, requirements, and assessment. This co-inquiry brings the principles and benefits of the broader undergraduate research movement to the topic of teaching and learning. It also increases student researchers’ sense of themselves as independent learners.”

 Free, Online Resources: