Partnership in Practice: Implementing Healey’s Conceptual Model

Arshad Ahmad, Aadil Ali, John VanMaaren, Janette Barrington, Olivia Merritt, Kyle Ansilio


This case study discusses the implementation of Healey, Flint, and Harrington's (2014) model of student engagement through partnership with staff. Healey et al. (2014) identify issues associated with “putting partnership into practice” including inclusivity and scale, power relations, reward and recognition, transition and sustainability, and identity. Faculty, staff, and students participating in a Students as Partners (SaP) Program at McMaster University’s MacPherson Institute encountered these issues during a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) project. This paper explores our reflections and suggests refinements related to the above five issues. It concludes by identifying possible new directions for SaP programs.


students as partners, scholarship of teaching and learning, conceptual model, power, identity, student engagement

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Arshad Ahmad
MacPherson Institute, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.

McMaster University͛s Associate Vice-President (Teaching & Learning) and Director of the MacPherson Institute.

Aadil Ali
MacPherson Institute, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.

Completed his undergraduate degree at McMaster University specializing in the field of Molecular biology & Genetics. He is currently a graduate student at the University of Toronto investigating methods to improve lung transplantation. 

John VanMaaren
MacPherson Institute, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.

A fourth-year PhD student in the department of Religious Studies working on the emergence of early Christian and Jewish identities. His goal after graduating is to teach at a universitysomewhere in North America.

Janette Barrington
MacPherson Institute, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.

Previous Associate Director of Educational Development at McMaster University͛s MacPherson Institute. Now working independently as a Research Consultant on a number of projects.

Olivia Merritt
MacPherson Institute, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.

Completed her undergraduate degree at McMaster University specializing in Psychology. She is currently an MA student at the University of Waterloo studying Clinical Psychology, withresearch interests in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and anxiety disorders. She hopes to continue her education with PhD studies and aspires to work as a Clinical Psychologist.

Kyle Ansilio
MacPherson Institute, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.

A Fifth Year undergraduate student studying in Engineering Physics and specializing in Nuclear Engineering at McMaster University. After graduating, he plans to begin graduate studies at McMaster University in the field of Engineering Physics with a focus on Radiation Safety.