A faculty member learning with and from an undergraduate teaching assistant: Critical reflection in higher education


  • Frank Daniello Lesley University
  • Caroline Acquaviva




students as partners, critical reflection, pedagogy, power dynamics, professional development


This case study describes a student-faculty partnership between an undergraduate teacher education student and a faculty member of teacher education. This faculty-centric partnership aimed to enhance the faculty member’s critical reflection on his pedagogy in an introduction to teacher education course. In this jointly-written article, we offer student and faculty insights about the process we employed, the outcomes of our teaching and learning together, and the complexities of student-faculty working relationships stemming from power dynamics. We also provide recommendations for faculty and students looking to engage in collaborations. These recommendations center on defining partner roles, using video recordings, and addressing power dynamics between students and faculty within higher education. Drawing from our experience, we suggest that student-faculty partnerships are one fruitful avenuefor improving the quality of instruction in higher education. They require minimum financial resources and can enhance faculty pedagogy, which will benefit current and future students.


Download data is not yet available.


Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education. (2017). The future of undergraduate education: The future of America. Retrieved from https://www.amacad.org/cfue
Cook-Sather, A., & Luz, A. (2015). Greater engagement in responsibility for learning: What happens when students cross the threshold of student-faculty partnership. Higher Education Research & Development, 34(6), 1097-1109. https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2014.911263
Curran, R. (2017). Student 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. International Journal for Students as Partners, 1(2), 1-16. https://doi.org/10.15173/ijsap.v1i2.3089
Delphish, A., Holmes, A., Knight-McKenna, M., Mihans, R., Darby, A., King, K., & Felten, P. (2010). Equalizing voices: Student-faculty partnership in course design. In C. Werder & M. M. Otis (Eds.), Engaging student voices in the study of teaching and learning (p. 96-114). Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.
Felten, P. (2017). Emotion and partnerships. International Journal for Students as Partners, 1(2), 1-5. https://doi.org/10.15173/ijsap.v1i2.3070
Goos, M., & Salomons, A. (2017). Measuring teaching quality in higher education: Assessing selection bias in course evaluations. Research in Higher Education, 58(4), 341-364. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11162-016-9429-8
Healey, M., Flint, A., & Harrington, K. (2014). Engagement through partnerships: Students as Partners in learning and teaching in higher education. York, UK: Higher Education Academy.
Healey, M., & Healey, R. L. (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
Hutchings, C., Bartholomew, N., & Reilly, O. (2013). Differential student engagement: Lessons learned. In C. Nygaard, S. Brand, P. Bartholomew, & L. Millard (Eds.), Student engagement: Identity, motivation and community (pp. 125-144). Faringdon, UK: Libri Publishing.
Loughran, J. J. (2006). Developing a pedagogy of teacher education: Understanding teaching and learning about teaching. New York, NY: Taylor and Francis.
Mercer-Mapstone, L., Dvorakova, L. S., Matthews, K., 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 of Students as Partners, 1(1), 1-23. https://doi.org/10.15173/ijsap.v1i1.3119
Ntem, A., & Cook-Sather, A. (2018). Resistances and resiliencies in pedagogical partnership: Student partners’ perspectives. International Journal for Students as Partners, 2(1), 82-96. https://doi.org/10.15173/ijsap.v2i1.3372
Phuong, T. T., Cole, S. C., & Zarestky, J. (2018). A systematic literature review of faculty development for teacher educators. Higher Education Research & Development, 37(2), 373-389. https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2017.1351423
Spooren, P., Brockx, B., & Mortelmans, D. (2013). On the validity of student evaluation of teaching: The state of the art. Review of Educational Research, 83(4), 598-642. https://doi.org/10.3102/0034654313496870
Swennen, A., Jones, K., & Volman, M. (2010). Teacher educators: Their identities, sub-identities and implications for professional development. Professional Development in Education, 36(1-2), 131-148. https://doi.org/10.1080/19415250903457893
Vanassche, E., & Kelchtermans, G. (2015). The state of the art in self-study of teacher education practices: A systematic literature review. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 47(4), 508-528. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220272.2014.995712
Zeichner, K. M., & Liston, D. P. (1996). Reflective teaching: An introduction. Mahway, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.




How to Cite

Daniello, F., & Acquaviva, C. (2019). A faculty member learning with and from an undergraduate teaching assistant: Critical reflection in higher education. International Journal for Students As Partners, 3(2), 109–117. https://doi.org/10.15173/ijsap.v3i2.3771



Case Studies