Jensen, Kathrine and Bennett, Elizabeth (2013) A student and staff partnership model to enable dialogue and enhance teaching and learning. In: The Future of Student Engagement: Partnerships, Practices, Policies and Philosophies, 12-13 September 2013, Nottingham Trent University 12-13 Sep 2013. (Unpublished)

In this paper we will be exploring different dimensions and levels of student engagement in relation to the outcomes of the student and staff partnership model that was central to the Higher Education Academy funded project ‘Students as Teaching and Learning Consultants’ carried out at the University of Huddersfield.

The project aimed to build student and staff dialogue about teaching and learning approaches, activities and experiences by adopting a partnership model and a collaborative ethos. In this, students were active participants central to producing knowledge about how to enhance and develop teaching and learning (Dunne and Zandstra 2011).

A group of eleven students were trained to act as teaching and learning consultants. Academic staff volunteered to have a consultant who would provide a ‘students’ view’ on an aspect of the lecturers’ teaching practice. Activities that consultants undertook were varied and included sitting in on a lecturer, reviewing the design of a module delivered using the VLE and providing feedback on an assignment brief. The consultant then fed back, generally through a face to face conversation, to the academic. Findings suggest that in the role of consultant - as compared with being a course rep - students felt equal to the lecturer they were working with and the nature of the scheme meant they felt they were welcomed or invited in to work alongside the member of staff.
We argue that the project model represents an innovative approach to engaging students in a meaningful way in enhancing teaching and learning and has the potential to reframe the student-teacher relationship. However, the partnership model has some limitations in terms of how empowered the students are to set the agenda for the consultation. Thus in some cases there was limited evidence for impact on the teaching and learning process.

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