Skip to main content

Respecting voices: how the co-creation of teaching and learning can support academic staff, underrepresented students, and equitable practices

Abstract

Analyses of how staff and student voices are, or are not, respected in higher education typically unfold in separate conversations. In this discussion, I use narrative analysis of several sources—primary research data, informal participant feedback, and participants’ published essays—to present a case study of how the co-creation of teaching and learning through one pedagogical partnership program brings the voices of staff and students into dialogue. The case study reveals how participating staff and students can develop voices that both speak respectfully and are self-respecting and that can, in turn, contribute to the development of more equitable classroom practices. I provide context for this case study by bringing together key points from literature on staff voice and on student voice, defining co-creation, describing the partnership program, and explaining my research method. The case study itself is constituted by the voices of staff and students who have participated in the partnership program. Drawing on staff words, I show how co-creation supports those staff members in developing voice through dialogue with a diversity of students voices; generating ways of discussing and addressing inequity; and constructing more equitable classroom approaches. Drawing on students’ words, I show how co-creation supports those students in developing voice by positioning them as pedagogical partners to staff and inviting them into dialogue with their staff partners; affirming that they can carry those voices into courses in which they are enrolled; and emboldening them to participate in ongoing conversations about the experiences of underrepresented and underserved students.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Abbott, C., & Been, L. E. (2017). Strategies for transforming a classroom in to a brave and trusting learning community: a dialogic approach. Teaching and Learning Together in Higher Education, 22. http://repository.brynmawr.edu/tlthe/vol1/iss22/3.

  2. Anderson, C. K. (2015). University control: the struggle for faculty governance in American universities and the creation of faculty senates. In R. L. Geiger (Ed.), Shaping the American faculty: perspectives on the history of higher education (pp. 15–48). New York: Taylor & Francis.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Barrineau, S., Schnaas, U., Engström, A., & Härlin, F. (2016). Breaking ground and building bridges: a critical reflection on student-faculty partnerships in academic development. International Journal for Academic Development, 21(1), 79–83. https://doi.org/10.1080/1360144X.2015.1120735.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Bell, A., Peseta, T., Barahona, S., Jeong, S., Lan, L., Menzies, R., Trieu, T., & Wen, A. (2017). Inconversation together: student ambassadors for cultural competence. Teaching andLearning Together in Higher Education, 21. https://repository.brynmawr.edu/tlthe/vol1/iss21/5/. Accessed 30 May 2007.

  5. Bergmark, U., & Westman, S. (2016). Co-creating curriculum in higher education: promoting democratic values and a multidimensional view on learning. International Journal for Academic Development, 21(1), 28–40.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Bovill, C. (2014). An investigation of co-created curricula within higher education in the UK, Ireland and the USA. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 51(1), 15–25.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Bovill, C., Aitken, G., Hutchison, J., Morrison, F., Roseweir, K., Scott, A., andSotannde, S. (2010). Experiences of learning through collaborative evaluation froma postgraduate certificate in professional Education. International Journal forAcademic Development, 15(2), 143–154.

  8. 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.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Bowen, W. G., & Tobin, E. M. (2015). Locus of authority: the evolution of faculty roles in the governance of higher education. Vol. 83. Princeton University Press.

  10. Bressi Nath, S. (2012). Finding voices in reflection: how my work through the TLI changed my classroom dynamics. Teaching and Learning Together in Higher Education, 6. https://repository.brynmawr.edu/tlthe/vol1/iss6/8.

  11. Cohen, G. L., & Garcia, J. (2008). Identity, belonging, and achievement: a model, interventions, implications. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 17(6), 365–369.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Colbert, P. J. (2010). Developing a culturally responsive classroom collaborative of faculty, students, and institution. Journal of College Teaching & Learning, 7(11), 15–24.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Colón García, A. (2017). Building a sense of belonging through pedagogical partnership. Teaching and Learning Together in Higher Education, 22. http://repository.brynmawr.edu/tlthe/vol1/iss22/2.

  14. Cook-Sather, A. (2015). Dialogue across differences of position, perspective, and identity: reflective practice in/on a student-faculty pedagogical partnership program. Teachers College Record, 117(2).

  15. Cook-Sather, A. (2016). Undergraduate students as partners in new faculty orientation and academic development. International Journal of Academic Development, 21(2), 151–162. https://doi.org/10.1080/1360144X.2016.1156543.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Cook-Sather, A. (2018a). Listening to equity-seeking perspectives: how students’ experiences of pedagogical partnership can inform wider discussions of student success. Higher Education Research and Development, 37(5), 923–936 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07294360.2018.1457629.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Cook-Sather, A. (2018b). Developing ‘students as learners and teachers’: lessons from ten years of pedagogical partnership that strives to foster inclusive and responsive practice. Journal of Educational Innovation, Partnership and Change 4(1). https://journals.gre.ac.uk/index.php/studentchangeagents/article/view/746.

  18. Cook-Sather, A. (2018c). Tracing the evolution of student voice in educational research. In R. Bourke & J. Loveridge (Eds.), Radical collegiality through student voice: educational experience, policy and practice. Singapore: Springer Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Cook-Sather, A., & Agu, P. (2012). Students of color and faculty colleagues developing voice in the “counter-spaces” of a professional development program. Conference of the professional and organizational development network in higher education. Seattle, Washington.

  20. Cook-Sather, A., & Agu, P. (2013). Students of color and faculty members working together toward culturally sustaining pedagogy. In J. E. Groccia & L. Cruz (Eds.), To Improve the Academy: Resources for Faculty, Instructional, and Organizational Development (Vol. 32, pp. 271–285). San Francisco: Jossey-bass.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Cook-Sather, A., & Des-Ogugua, C. (2018). Lessons we still need to learn on creating more inclusive and responsive classrooms: recommendations from one student-faculty partnership program. International Journal of Inclusive Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2018.1441912.

  22. Cook-Sather, A., & Felten, P. (2017a). Ethics of academic leadership: guiding learning and teaching. In F. Wu & M. Wood (Eds.), Cosmopolitan perspectives on becoming an academic leader in higher education (pp. 175–191). London: Bloomsbury Academic.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Cook-Sather, A., & Felten, P. (2017b). Where student engagement meets faculty development: how student-faculty pedagogical partnership fosters a sense of belonging. Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal, 1(2), 3–11.

    Google Scholar 

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

    Google Scholar 

  25. Cook-Sather, A., Bahti, M., & Ntem, A. (2019a). Pedagogical partnerships: a how-to guide for faculty, students, and academic developers in higher education. Elon: Elon University Center for Engaged Learning Open-Access Series, (in press).

  26. Cook-Sather, A., Prasad, S. K., Marquis, E., & Ntem, A. (2019b). Mobilizing a culture shift on campus: underrepresented students as educational developers. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 159, 21–30.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Cox, M. (2004). Introduction to faculty learning communities. Building faculty learning communities. New Directions in Teaching and Learning, 97, 5–23 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/toc/15360768/2004/2004/97.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Curnalia, R. M., & Mermer, D. (2018). Renewing our commitment to tenure, academic freedom, and shared governance to navigate challenges in higher education. Review of Communication, 18(2), 129–139.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. de Bie, A., Marquis, E., Cook-Sather, A., & Luqueño, L. (2019). Valuing knowledge(s) and cultivating confidence: contributing to epistemic justice via student-faculty pedagogical partnerships. International perspectives in higher education: strategies for fostering inclusive classrooms, Volume 3. Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning.

  30. Delpit, L. (1988). The silenced dialogue: power and pedagogy in educating other people’s children. Harvard Educational Review, 58(3), 280–298.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Dvorakova, L. S., & Matthews, K. E. (2017). Graduate learning outcomes in science: variation in perceptions of single-and dual-degree students. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 42(6), 900–913.

  32. Ferrell, A., Peach, A. (2018). Student-faculty partnerships in library instruction. Kentucky Libraries, 82(3).

  33. Fielding, M. (1999). Radical collegiality: affirming teaching as an inclusive professional practice. Australian Educational Researcher, 26(2), 1–34. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03219692.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Fitzmaurice, M. (2008). Voices from within: teaching in higher education as a moral practice. Teaching in Higher Education, 13(3), 341–352. https://doi.org/10.1080/13562510802045386.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Freire, P. (1998). Pedagogy of freedom. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc..

    Google Scholar 

  36. Goldsmith, M., & Gervasio, N. (2011). Radical equality: a dialogue on building a partnership – and a program – through a cross-campus collaboration. Teaching and Learning Together in Higher Education, 3. http://repository.brynmawr.edu/tlthe/vol1/iss3/4.

  37. Goldsmith, M., Hanscom, M., Throop, S. A., & Young, C. (2017). Growing student-faculty partnerships at Ursinus College: a brief history in dialogue. International Journal for Students as Partners, 1(2). https://doi.org/10.15173/ijsap.v1i2.3075.

  38. Graham, C. (2010). Hearing the voices of general staff: a Delphi study of the contributions of general staff to student outcomes. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 32(3), 213–223. https://doi.org/10.1080/13600801003743315.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Gunersel, A. B., Barnett, P., & Etienne, M. (2013). Promoting self-authorship of college educators: exploring the impact of a faculty development program. Journal of Faculty Development, 27(1), 35–44.

  40. Hancock, J., & Lubicz-Nawrocka, T. (2018). Creating spaces: embracing risk and partnership in higher education. Teaching and Learning Together in Higher Education, 24. https://repository.brynmawr.edu/tlthe/vol1/iss24/5.

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

    Google Scholar 

  42. Healey, R. L., Lerczak, A., Welsh, K., & France, D. (2019). By any other name? The impacts of differing assumptions, expectations, and misconceptions in bringing about resistance to staff-student partnership. International Journal for Students as Partners, 3(1).

  43. Holdsworth, R. (2000). Schools that create real roles of value for young people. UNESCO International Prospect, 3, 349–362.

    Google Scholar 

  44. Huston, T. A. (2006). Race and gender bias in higher education: could faculty course evaluations impede further progress toward parity?. Seattle Journal for Social Justice, 4(2).

  45. Marquis, E., Puri, V., Wan, S., Ahmad, A., Goff, L., Knorr, K., et al. (2016). Navigating the threshold of student–staff partnerships: a case study from an Ontario teaching and learning institute. International Journal for Academic Development, 21(1), 4–15. https://doi.org/10.1080/1360144X.2015.1113538.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. 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.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Mathrani, S. (2018). Building relationships, navigating discomfort and uncertainty, and translating my voice in new contexts. Teaching and Learning Together in Higher Education, 23. https://repository.brynmawr.edu/tlthe/vol1/iss23/6.

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

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Matthews, K. E., Cook-Sather, A., Acai, A., Dvorakova, S. L., Felten, P., Marquis, E., & Mercer-Mapstone, L. (2018b). Toward theories of partnership praxis: an analysis of interpretive framing in literature on students as Partners in University Teaching and Learning. Higher Education Research & Development.

  50. Matthews, K. E., Cook-Sather, A., & Healey, M. (2018c). Connecting learning, teaching, and research through student-staff partnerships: toward universities as egalitarian learning communities. In V. Tong, A. Standen, & M. Sotiriou (Eds.), Research equals teaching: inspiring research-based education through student-staff partnerships. London: University College of London Press.

    Google Scholar 

  51. Mockler, N., & Groundwater-Smith, S (2015). Engaging with student voice in research, education and community: beyond legitimation and guardianship. New York: Springer International Publishing.

  52. 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://mulpress.mcmaster.ca/ijsap/article/view/3372.

  53. Oleson, K., & Hovakimyan, K. (2017). Reflections on developing the Student Consultants for Teaching and Learning Program at Reed College, USA. International Journal for Students as Partners. 1(1). https://doi.org/10.15173/ijsap.v1i1.3094.

  54. Ong, M., Smith, J. M., & Ko, L. T. (2017). Counterspaces for women of color in STEM higher education: marginal and central spaces for persistence and success. Journal of Research in Science Teaching https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/tea.21417.

  55. Paris, D. (2012). Culturally sustaining pedagogy: a needed change in stance, terminology, and practice. Educational Researcher, 41(3), 93–97. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X12441244.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Paris, D., & Alim, H. S. (Eds.). (2017). Culturally sustaining pedagogies: teaching and learning for justice in a changing world. New York: Teachers College Press.

    Google Scholar 

  57. Perez, K. (2016). Striving toward a space for equity and inclusion in physics classrooms. Teaching and Learning Together in Higher Education, 18. https://repository.brynmawr.edu/tlthe/vol1/iss18/3.

  58. Reyes, W. S., & Harvey, R. M. (2018). Faculty and student teachers ‘voices’ in developing a multicultural teacher education curriculum using a collaborative participatory approach. The Normal Lights, 12(1).

  59. Rose, E., & Taylor, C. (2016). Using a student consultant in a computer science course: an experience report. Proceedings of the upcoming conference on innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education (ITiCSE 16).

  60. Roxå, T., & Mårtensson, K. (2009). Significant conversations and significant networks – exploring the backstage of the teaching arena. Studies in Higher Education, 34(5), 547–559. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075070802597200.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  61. Schlosser, J. & Sweeney, A. (2015). One year of collaboration: reflections on student-faculty partnership. Teaching and Learning Together in Higher Education, 15.

  62. Schutt, R. K. (2016). Understanding the social world: research methods for the 21st century. Los Angeles: Sage Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  63. Seale, J., Gibson, S., Haynes, J., & Potter, A. (2015). Power and resistance: Reflections on the rhetoric and reality of using participatory methods to promote student voice and engagement in higher education. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 39(4), 534–552.

  64. Werder, C., & Otis, M. M. (Eds.). (2010). Engaging student voices in the study of teaching and learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.

  65. Werder, C., Thibou, S., & Kaufer, B. (2012). Students as co-inquirers: a requisite thresholdconcept in educational development? Journal of Faculty Development, 26(3), 34–38.

  66. Wenger, E., McDermott, R. A., & Snyder, W. (2002). Cultivating communities of practice: a guide to managing knowledge. Harvard Business Press.

  67. Woolmer, C., Sneddon, P., Curry, G., Hill, B., Fehertavi, S., Longbone, C., & Wallace, K. (2016). Student staff partnership to create an interdisciplinary science skills course in a research intensive university. International Journal for Academic Development, 21(1), 16–27.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

Many thanks to Beth Marquis for reading and responding to early drafts of this discussion and offering feedback that helped shape it, and thanks as well to three anonymous reviewers whose recommendations for revision strengthened the article considerably.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Alison Cook-Sather.

Additional information

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Cook-Sather, A. Respecting voices: how the co-creation of teaching and learning can support academic staff, underrepresented students, and equitable practices. High Educ 79, 885–901 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-019-00445-w

Download citation

Keywords

  • Staff voice
  • Student voice
  • Co-creation
  • Pedagogical partnership
  • Underrepresented students
  • Equitable practices