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QAA Enhancement Themes Conference Glasgow, Scotland, 12 June 2013 How Do We Engage and Take Seriously Diverse Students in Student-Faculty Partnership Work?

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Presentation on theme: "QAA Enhancement Themes Conference Glasgow, Scotland, 12 June 2013 How Do We Engage and Take Seriously Diverse Students in Student-Faculty Partnership Work?"— Presentation transcript:

1 QAA Enhancement Themes Conference Glasgow, Scotland, 12 June 2013 How Do We Engage and Take Seriously Diverse Students in Student-Faculty Partnership Work? Dr. Alison Cook-Sather Mary Katharine Woodworth Professor of Education and Coordinator of The Andrew W. Mellon Teaching and Learning Institute, Bryn Mawr College, USA Jean Rudduck Visiting Scholar, Homerton College, Cambridge University, UK

2 Ways to show students we are taking them seriously Create programs that position and name students in ways that confer legitimacy and authority Create programs that position and name students in ways that confer legitimacy and authority Students as Learners and Teachers (SaLT) at Bryn Mawr College, USA Students as Learners and Teachers (SaLT) at Bryn Mawr College, USA Students Consulting on Teaching (SCoT) at Brigham Young University, USA Students Consulting on Teaching (SCoT) at Brigham Young University, USA Students Consulting on Teaching (SCOT), University of Lincoln, UK Students Consulting on Teaching (SCOT), University of Lincoln, UK Course Design Teams at Elon University, USA Course Design Teams at Elon University, USA Students as Change Agents, University of Exeter, UK Students as Change Agents, University of Exeter, UK Student Lead Learning Programs, University of Ballarat, Australia Student Lead Learning Programs, University of Ballarat, Australia For many more examples, see “Students as Change Agents” handout at For many more examples, see “Students as Change Agents” handout at

3 Ways to show students we are taking them seriously Design an application process that invites students to analyze and articulate what positions them well to be informants, consultants, partners, and/or change agents Design an application process that invites students to analyze and articulate what positions them well to be informants, consultants, partners, and/or change agents Sends a clear signal to students that they are, in fact, qualified to take on such roles Sends a clear signal to students that they are, in fact, qualified to take on such roles Begins the reflective, analytical process of helping them develop awareness and language to name what they know Begins the reflective, analytical process of helping them develop awareness and language to name what they know Legitimates their role in the minds of others Legitimates their role in the minds of others

4 Ways to show students we are taking them seriously Co-construct forums for genuine listening and dialogue Co-construct forums for genuine listening and dialogue Weekly meetings of same- and cross-constituencies in SaLT Weekly meetings of same- and cross-constituencies in SaLT Bi-weekly meetings of faculty, students, and staff in Western Washington University’s Teaching-Learning Academy Bi-weekly meetings of faculty, students, and staff in Western Washington University’s Teaching-Learning Academy Student-led focus groups through the Wabash-Provost Scholars Program at North Carolina A&T Student-led focus groups through the Wabash-Provost Scholars Program at North Carolina A&T For many more examples, see “Students as Change Agents” handout at For many more examples, see “Students as Change Agents” handout at

5 Ways to show students we are taking them seriously Co-author with and quote student participants in publications on this work Co-author with and quote student participants in publications on this work Jointly compose articles and chapters Jointly compose articles and chapters Include student words wherever possible Include student words wherever possible Use names, where appropriate — not just “a student said” Use names, where appropriate — not just “a student said” Quote students’ less formal statements Quote students’ less formal statements “Having my informal reflection used as support for a scholarly argument means more [than authoring my own article] because the reflection was not crafted to make a specific point but rather was a personal comment about my own experience. It helps affirm that our unpolished, unrehearsed thoughts are valuable to others, even beyond the college.”

6 Creating Redefined “Counter-spaces” Student consultants in Bryn Mawr’s SaLT program experience the program forums as redefined “counter-spaces” Student consultants in Bryn Mawr’s SaLT program experience the program forums as redefined “counter-spaces” “[SaLT] looks for differences; it is not looking for everybody to be the same. The work is looking for different voices present, so there isn’t one dominant voice. In most educational settings, everyone is trying to come to one point, to agreement; [SaLT] is always trying to find what others have to say and trying to make it normal.” - Student Consultant “[SaLT] looks for differences; it is not looking for everybody to be the same. The work is looking for different voices present, so there isn’t one dominant voice. In most educational settings, everyone is trying to come to one point, to agreement; [SaLT] is always trying to find what others have to say and trying to make it normal.” - Student Consultant Places where deficit notions of difference are replaced by explicit valuing of differences

7 Students as Learners and Teachers (SaLT) Partners undergraduate students and faculty members in semester-long partnerships to explore pedagogical issues Faculty participants to date: 150 Student participants to date: international students (China, India, Ghana, Japan, Taiwan) 30 students of color (African–American, Latina, Chinese-American)

8 Seeking and finding space of belonging “It is hard for international students to find a place on campus, a mainstream place in the campus; participating in the SaLT program helped me find a place on campus and identify more with Bryn Mawr and get more involved. It built my confidence and enthusiasm about the Bryn Mawr experience; SaLT provided me with an opportunity to engage with faculty and classes and also an opportunity to interact with more students (if I didn’t participate in SaLT I wouldn’t talk to students).” – student from China

9 Amplifying voice and affirming identity “I feel like being a Student Consultant literally gave me a voice. I started being more vocal in and outside of class. As an African American student, I used to let people tell me how I should think and act. I used to let them reprimand me for not being black in the way they’d like. Looking back on those times, I am embarrassed and vow to never let someone have that kind of power over me ever again. I attribute much of this sense of empowerment to my participation in the [SaLT program]. It made me feel like who I am is more than enough—that my identity, my thoughts, my ideas are significant and valuable.” –African-American student

10 Learning is not always about comfort…


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