“Commitment to collaboration”: What students have to say about the values underpinning partnership practices


  • Benjamin Luo University of Queensland
  • Kelly Matthews
  • Prasad Chunduri




students as partners, student-staff partnerships, values, reciprocity, higher education


Students as Partners (SaP) is about students and staff working together in teaching and learning. It is guided by the values of partnership. Knowing how students understand these values, particularly students new to the ideas and language of SaP, would enrich the scholarly conversation about partnership practices. To that end, our study asked students unfamiliar with SaP, “what values and attitudes do you think are necessary for students and academics to work as collaborative partners on teaching and learning?” We captured 173 written responses from students in a biomedical sciences degree program in an Australian university. Thematic analysis revealed four key values: respect, communication, understanding, and responsibility/commitment. We discuss the results through the lens of reciprocity and power, emergent consumerist culture in higher education, and the disciplinary context of science. In conclusion, we encourage dialogue between staff and students to illuminate and affirm the values of partnership that define SaP.


Download data is not yet available.


Attride-Stirling, J. (2001). Thematic networks: An analytic tool for qualitative research. Qualitative Research, 1(3), 385-405. https://doi.org/10.1177/146879410100100307

Baldwin, G., & James, R. (2000). The market in Australian higher education and the concept of student as informed consumer. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 22(2), 139-148. https://doi.org/10.1080/713678146

Bartholomew, H., Osborne, J., & Ratcliffe, M. (2004). Teaching students “ideas‐about‐science”: Five dimensions of effective practice. Science Education, 88(5), 655-682. https://doi.org/10.1002/sce.10136

Bovill, C. (2011). Sharing responsibility for learning through formative evaluation: Moving to evaluation as learning. Practice and Evidence of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 6(2), 96-109. Retrieved from: http://community.dur.ac.uk/pestlhe.learning/index.php/pestlhe/article/view/53

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. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-015-9896-4

Braun, V. & Clarke, V. (2006) Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77-101. https://doi.org/10.1191/1478088706qp063oa

Bunce, L., Baird, A., & Jones, S. (2017). The student-as-consumer approach in higher education and its effects on academic performance. Studies in Higher Education, 42(11), 1958-1978. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2015.1127908

Cates, R., Madigan, M., & Reitenauer, V. (2018). ‘Locations of Possibility’: Critical perspectives on partnership. International Journal for Students as Partners, 2(1), 33-46. https://doi.org/10.15173/ijsap.v2i1.3341

Chemi, T., & Krogh, L. (2017). Co-creation in higher education: Students and educators preparing creatively and collaboratively to the challenge of the future. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.

Chowdhury, M. (2016). Gifted education in science and chemistry: Perspectives and insights into teaching, pedagogies, assessments, and psychosocial skills development. Journal for the Education of Gifted Young Scientists, 4(1), 53-66. https://doi.org/10.17478/jegys.2018116581

Cook-Sather, A., Bovill, C., & Felten, P. (2014). Engaging students as partners in teaching and learning: A guide for faculty. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Cook-Sather, A., & Felten, P. (2017). Ethics of academic leadership: Guiding learning and teaching. In F. Su, & M. Wood (Eds.), Cosmopolitan perspectives on academic leadership in higher education (pp. 175-191). London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Decety, J., Bartal, I., Uzefovsky, F., & Knafo-Noam, A. (2015). Empathy as a driver of prosocial behaviour: Highly conserved neurobehavioural mechanisms across species. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 371(1686). https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2015.0077

Dwyer, A. (2018). Toward the formation of genuine partnership spaces. International Journal for Students as Partners, 2(1), 11-15. https://doi.org/10.15173/ijsap.v2i1.3503

Furedi, F. (2010). Introduction to the marketisation of higher education and the student as consumer. In M. Molesworth, R. Scullion, & E. Nixon (Eds.). The Marketisation of Higher Education and the Student as Consumer (pp. 1-8). New York: Routledge. Retrieved from https://network23.org/freeunisheff/files/2015/07/Mike-Molesworth-Richard-Scullion-Elizabeth-Nixon-The-Marketisation-of-Higher-Education-and-the-Student-as-Consumer-book.pdf

Harris, R., & Ratcliffe, M. (2005). Socio-scientific issues and the quality of exploratory talk – what can be learned from schools involved in a ‘collapsed day’ project? The Curriculum Journal, 16(4), 439-453. https://doi.org/10.1080/09585170500384396

Healey, M., & Healey, R. (2018). ‘It depends’: Exploring the context-dependent nature of students as partners practices and policies. International Journal for Students as Partners, 2(1), 1-10. https://doi.org/10.15173/ijsap.v2i1.3472

Healey, M., Flint, A., & Harrington, K. (2014). Engagement through partnership: Students as partners in learning and teaching in higher education. York: Higher Education Academy. Retrieved from: https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/engagement-through-partnership-students-partners-learning-and-teaching-higher

Hemsley-Brown, J., & Oplatka, I. (2006). Universities in a competitive global marketplace: a systematic review of the literature on higher education marketing. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 19(4), 316-338. https://doi.org/10.1108/09513550610669176

Hodges, S., & Klein, K. (2001). Regulating the costs of empathy: The price of being human. Journal of Socio-Economics, 30(5), 437-452. https://doi.org/10.1016/s1053-5357(01)00112-3

Hogeveen, J., Inzlicht, M., & Obhi, S. S. (2014). Power changes how the brain responds to others. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143(2), 755-762. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0033477

Luo, B., Matthews, K. E., & Chunduri, P. (2018). “Commitment to collaboration”: What students have to say about the values underpinning partnership practices: Dataset. Brisbane: University of Queensland. https://doi.org/10.14264/uql.2018.527

Marquis, E., Jayaratnam, A., Mishra, A., & Rybkina, K. (2018). “I feel like some students are better connected”: Students’ perspectives on applying for extracurricular partnership opportunities. International Journal for Students as Partners, 2(1), 64-81. https://doi.org/10.15173/ijsap.v2i1.3300
Matthews, K. E. (2014). Students’ perspectives on quantitative skills in an undergraduate science curriculum: A mixed methods study of the experienced curriculum (Doctoral dissertation). School of Education, The University of Queensland. https://doi.org/10.14264/uql.2015.87

Matthews, K. E. (2017). Five Propositions for genuine students as partners practice. International Journal for Students as Partners, 1(2), 1-9. https://doi.org/10.15173/ijsap.v1i2.3315

Matthews, K. E. (2018). Engaging students as participants and partners: An argument for partnership with students in higher education research on student success. International Journal of Chinese Education, 7(1), 42-64. https://doi.org/10.1163/22125868-12340089

Matthews, K. E., Cook-Sather, A., & Healey, M. (2018). Connecting learning, teaching, and research through student-staff partnerships: Toward universities as egalitarian learning communities. In V. C. H. Tong, A. Standen, & M. Sotiriou (Eds.), Research equals teaching: Inspiring research-based education through student-staff partnerships (pp. 23-29). London: University College of London Press. Retrieved from http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ucl-press/browse-books/shaping-higher-education-with-students

Matthews, K. E., Dwyer, A., Hine, L., & Turner, J. (2018). Conceptions of students as partners. Higher Education, 76(6), 957-971. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-018-0257-y

Matthews, K. E., Dwyer, A., Russell, S., & Enright, E. (2018). It is a complicated thing: Leaders’ conceptions of students as partners in the neoliberal university. Studies in Higher Education, 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2018.1482268

Matthews, K., Groenendijk, L., & Chunduri, P. (2017). We want to be more involved: Student perceptions of students as partners across the degree program curriculum. International Journal for Students as Partners, 1(2). https://doi.org/10.15173/ijsap.v1i2.3063

Matthews, K. E., Mercer-Mapstone, L., Dvorakova, S. L., Acia, A., Cook-Sather, A., Felten, P., Healey, M., Healey, R., &
Marquis, E. (in press). Enhancing outcomes and reducing inhibitors to the engagement of students and staff in learning and teaching partnerships: Implications for academic development. International Journal for Academic Development.

McMillan, J. J., & Cheney, G. (1996). The student as consumer: The implications and limitations of a metaphor. Communication Education, 45(1), 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1080/03634529609379028

McPherson, N., & Heggie, G. (2015). Transitioning to students as partners, producers, collaborators and co-creators. Are we serious? Enhancement and Innovation in Higher Education. Glasgow: QAA Enhancement Themes.

Mercer-Mapstone, L., Dvorakova, S., Matthews, K. E., Abbot, S., Cheng, B., Felten, P., Knorr, K., Marquis, E., Shammas, R., & Swaim, K. (2017). A systematic literature review of students as partners in higher education. International Journal for Students as Partners, 1(1). https://doi.org/10.15173/ijsap.v1i1.3119

Ntem, A., & Cook-Sather, A. (2018). Resistances and resiliencies in student-faculty pedagogical partnership. International Journal for Students as Partners, 2(1), 82-96. https://doi.org/10.15173/ijsap.v2i1.3372

Quality Assurance Agency (QAA). (2012). UK quality code for higher education. Retrieved from: http://www.qaa.ac.uk/docs/qaa/quality-code/chapter-b5_-student-engagement.pdf?sfvrsn=cd01f781_8

Ratcliffe, M. (2007). Values in the science classroom - the enacted curriculum. In D. Corrigan, J. Dillon, & R. Gunstone (Eds.), The re-emergence of values in science education (pp. 119-132). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.

Ratcliffe, M., Harris, R., & McWhirter, J. (2004). Teaching ethical aspects of science – is cross-curricular collaboration the answer? School Science Review, 86(315), 39-44.

Tarrant, M., Dazeley, S., & Cottom, T. (2009). Social categorization and empathy for outgroup members. British Journal of Social Psychology, 48(3), 427-446. https://doi.org/10.1348/014466608x373589

Trowler, P., & Cooper, A. (2002). Teaching and learning regimes: Implicit theories and recurrent practices in the enhancement of teaching and learning through educational development programmes. Higher Education Research & Development, 21(3), 221-240. https://doi.org/10.1080/0729436022000020742

van Kleef, G. A., Oveis, C., van der Löwe, I., Luokogan, A., Goetz, J., & Keltner, D. (2008). Power, distress, and compassion: Turning a blind eye to the suffering of others. Psychological Science, 19(12), 1315-1322. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02241.x

Wellcome Trust. (2001). Valuable lessons: Engaging with the social context of science in schools. Retrieved from https://wellcome.ac.uk/sites/default/files/wtd003446_0.pdf

Witz, K. (1996). Science with values and values for science education. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 28(5), 597-612.

Yaakobi, D., & Sharan, S. (1985). Teacher beliefs and practices: The discipline carries the message. Journal of Education for Teaching, 11(2), 187-199. https://doi.org/10.1080/0260747850110207




How to Cite

Luo, B., Matthews, K., & Chunduri, P. (2019). “Commitment to collaboration”: What students have to say about the values underpinning partnership practices. International Journal for Students As Partners, 3(1), 123–139. https://doi.org/10.15173/ijsap.v3i1.3688



Research Articles