“I am wary of giving too much power to students:” Addressing the “but” in the Principle of Staff-Student Partnership
Staff and students coming together to enhance learning is a key educational challenge facing the higher education sector. Literature proposes different ways of achieving this through co-creation, partnership, and collaboration. This paper focuses solely on staff perspectives of a staff-student partnership project aimed at improving feedback strategies. Through a mixed-methods approach, staff in four disciplines in one UK university were questioned in regard to collaborating with students, asked to take part in a co-creation experience, and then invited to take part in a follow-up interview. Findings indicated that staff initially supported greater student engagement in curriculum development but were wary of substantial change in the design of curriculum content. Some doubted the experience and abilities of students in this context. The overarching response was a positive statement followed first with a “but” and then with the issues that could be caused by a partnership approach.
Bovill, C. (2013). Students and staff co-creating curricula: A new trend or an old idea we never got around to implementing? In: C. Rust (Ed.) Improving Student Learning Through Research and Scholarship: 20 Years of ISL. Series: Improving student learning 2 (pp. 96-108). Oxford: Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development.
Bovill, C. (2014). An investigation of co-created curricula within higher education in the UK, Ireland, and the USA. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 51(1), 15–25.
Bovill, C., & Bulley, C. J. (2011). A model of active student participation in curriculum design: Exploring desirability and possibility. In C. Rust (Ed.), Improving student learning 18: Global theories and local practices – Institutional, disciplinary, and cultural variations (pp. 176–188). Oxford: Oxford Brookes University. Retrieved from http://eprints.gla.ac.uk/57709
Bovill, C., Cook-Sather, A., & Felten, P. (2011). Students as co-creators of teaching approaches, course design, and curricula: Implications for academic developers. International Journal for Academic Development, 16(2), 133-145.
Bovill, C., Cook-Sather, A. Felten, P., Millard, L., & Moore-Cherry, N. (2016). Addressing potential challenges in co-creating learning and teaching: Overcoming resistance, navigating institutional norms, and ensuring inclusivity in student-staff partnerships. Higher Education, 71(2), 195–208. doi:10.1007/s10734-015-9896-4
Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77-101. doi:10.1191/1478088706qp063oa
Brooman, S., Darwent, S., & Pimor, A. (2015). The student voice in higher education curriculum design: Is there value in listening? Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 52(6), 663-674. doi:10.1080/14703297.2014.910128
Cook-Sather, A. (2014). Student–faculty partnership in explorations of pedagogical practice: A threshold concept in academic development. International Journal for Academic Development, 19(3), 186–198. doi:10.1080/1360144X.2013.805694
Cook-Sather, A., Bovill, C., & Felten, P. (2014). Engaging students as partners in learning and teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.
Crawford, K. (2012). Rethinking the student/teacher nexus: Students as consultants on teaching in higher education. In H. Stephenson, L. Bell, & M. Neary (Eds.). Towards teaching in public: Reshaping the modern university (pp. 52-67). London: Bloomsbury.
Creswell, J.W. (2003). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (2nd ed). London: Sage.
Curran, R., & Millard, L. (2016). A partnership approach to developing student capacity to engage and staff capacity to be engaging: Opportunities for academic developers. International Journal for Academic Development, 21(1), 67-78. doi:10.1080/1360144X.2015.1120212
Deeley, S.J., & Bovill, C. (2017). Staff student partnership in assessment: Enhancing assessment literacy through democratic practices. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 42(3), 463-477. doi:10.1080/02602938.2015.1126551
Delpish, A., Darby, A., Holmes, A., Knight-McKenna, M., Mihans, R., King, C., & Felten, P. (2010). Equalizing voices: Student faculty partnership in course design. In C. Werder & M. Otis (Eds.), Engaging student voices in the study of teaching and learning (pp. 96-114). Virginia: Stylus.
Dunne, E., & Zandstra, R. (2011). Students as change agents: New ways of engaging with learning and teaching in higher education. Retrieved from the Higher Education Academy ESCalate Subject Centre website: http://escalate.ac.uk/8064
Flick, U. (2009). An introduction to qualitative research. London: Sage.
Gardebo, J., & Wiggberg, M. (2012). Importance of student participation in future academia. In J. Gardebo & M. Wiggberg (Eds.), Students, the university’s unspent resource: Revolutionising higher education using active student participation (Pedagogical Development Report 12) (pp. 7–14). Uppsala: Uppsala Universitet.
Healey, M., Flint, A., & Harrington, K. (2014). Engagement through partnership: students as partners in learning and teaching in higher education. York: The Higher Education Academy. Retrieved from www.heacademy.ac.uk/engagement-through-partnership-students-partners-learning-and-teaching-higher-education
Healey, M., Mason O’Connor, K., & Broadfoot, P. (2010). Reflections on engaging students in the process and product of strategy development for learning, teaching, and assessment: An institutional case study. International Journal for Academic Development, 15(1), 19–32.
Jensen, K., & Bennett, L. (2016). Enhancing teaching and learning through dialogue: A student and staff partnership model. International Journal for Academic Development, 21(1), 41-53.
Johnson, R.B., & Christensen, L.B. (2011). Educational research: Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed approaches. London: Sage.
King, C., & Felten, P. (2012). Threshold concepts in educational development: An introduction. The Journal of Faculty Development, 26(3), 5-7.
Little, S., Sharp, S., Stanley, L., Hayward, M., Gannon-Leary, P., O’Neill, P., & Williams, J. (2011). Collaborating for staff-student partnerships: Experiences and observations. In S. Little (Ed.), Staff-student partnerships in higher education (pp. 215–226). New York, NY: Continuum.
Little, B., & Williams, R. (2010). Students’ roles in maintaining quality and in enhancing learning—is there a tension? Quality in Higher Education, 16(2), 115–127. doi:10.1080/13538322.2010.485740
Marquis, E., Puri, V., Wan, S., Ahmad, A., Goff, L., Knorr, K., & Vasslileva, I. (2015). Navigating the threshold of student-staff partnerships: A case study from an Ontario teaching and learning institute. International Journal for Academic Development, 21(1), 4–15.doi:10.1080/1360144X.2015.1113538
Maunder, R., Cunliffe, M., Galvin, J., Mjali, S., & Rogers, J. (2012). Listening to student voices: Student researchers exploring undergraduate experiences of university transition. Higher Education, 66, 139-152 doi:10.1007/s10734-012-9595-3
Meyer, J.H.F., & Land, R. (2005). Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge (2): Epistemological considerations and a conceptual framework for teaching and learning. Higher Education, 49(3), 373-388. doi:10.1007/s10734-004-6779-5
Nixon, S., Brooman, S., Murphy, B., & Fearon, D. (2016). Clarity, consistency and communication: Using enhanced dialogue to create a course-based feedback strategy. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education. doi:10.1080/02602938.2016.1195333
NUS. (2012). A manifesto for partnership [Website]. London: National Union of Students. Retrieved from www.nusconnect.org.uk/resources/a-manifesto-for-partnership
Nygaard, C., Brand, S., Bartholomew, P., & Millard, L. (Eds.). (2013). Student engagement: Identity, motivation and community. Farringdon: Libri.
Piper, R. (2006, May). Enhancing the student experience in Scotland: The work of the QAA Quality Enhancement Theme. Paper presented at the meeting of the Higher Education Academy, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (2012) Chapter B5: Student Engagement. UK Quality Code for Higher Education [Website]. Gloucester: QAA. Retrieved from www.qaa.ac.uk/publications/informationandguidance/pages/quality-code-B5.aspx
Ryan, A., & Tilbury, D. (2013). Flexible pedagogies: New pedagogical ideas. York: Higher Education Academy. Retrieved from www.heacademy.ac.uk/flexible-pedagogies-new-pedagogical-ideas
Seale, J. (2009). Doing student voice work in higher education: An exploration of the value of participatory methods. British Educational Research Journal, 36(6), 995-1015. doi:10.1080/01411920903342038
Sundberg, K., Josephson, A., Reeves, S., & Nordquist, J. (2017). Power and resistance: Leading change in medical education. Studies in Higher Education, 42(3), 445-462. doi:10.1080/03075079.2015.1052735
Woolmer, C., Sneddon, P., Curry, G., Hill, B., Fehertavi, S., Longbone, C., & Wallace, K. (2016). Student staff partnership to create an interdisciplinary science skills course in a research intensive university. International Journal for Academic Development, 21(1), 16-27. doi:10.1080/1360144X.2015.1113969
Zaitseva, E., Clifford, E., Nixon, S., Deja, E., & Murphy, A. (2010). Communication as performance: A cross-disciplinary approach to staff-student partnerships. In S. Little (Ed.), Staff–student partnerships in higher education (pp. 215–226). New York, NY: Continuum.
Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
Authors are permitted to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).