Students as Partners—Good for Students, Good for Staff: A Study on the Impact of Partnership Working and How This Translates to Improved Student-Staff Engagement

Roisin Curran


This paper situates Students as Partners (SaP) within the broader construct of student engagement so that we can examine the influence of partnership on student and staff participants and how this impacts on student and staff relationships. The findings of interviews carried out with students and staff (n=14), which aimed to capture rich descriptions of the lived experience of individuals, reveal that there was a high level of consensus between students and staff on how they described their lived experiences and the impact that partnership was having on them—particularly in relation to their personal development. Whilst it became apparent that the participants’ thinking and behaviours had changed as a result of their involvement in partnership, quite often the catalyst for this change was in relation to how the participants were feeling. Considerations for relevant stakeholders are highlighted to support the scaling up of a SaP approach. 


students as partners, student-staff partnership, higher education, personal development, scaling up partnership

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Roisin Curran
Ulster University
United Kingdom

Roisín Curran is a Professional Development Manager at Ulster University. She is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a tutor on the cross-university Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Practice. Her teaching focuses on student engagement and curriculum design. She was Project Lead at Ulster in the What Works programme (2013-2016).