Why Student-Staff Collaboration and what are the Resources?

Welcome to the Student-Staff Collaborative Resources project Edublog. This site contains information and links to resources that aim to support you in your collaborative working; there is also a resource evaluation form and an online forum for those of you using the resources to share case studies of your own student-staff collaborative work.

Why are the resources needed? Student engagement and partnership are high on strategic agendas; in the context of the marketisation of Higher Education (HE), and the increased tuition fees for students, the need to strengthen the relationships between students and staff for partnership has never been greater. The Higher Education community is seeking to develop a culture where students are empowered as active learners and partners, as opposed to passive consumers, in making positive changes to their learning experiences.

Challenges to collaboration? When partnership happens well, it can be dynamic, transformational and inspiring for both students, staff and the university. However, in reality, there can be challenges to student-staff partnership which need to be addressed. Challenges including the inevitable power dynamics between educator/assessor and learner; questions of expertise and ownership of knowledge; lack of clarity about roles, responsibilities and expectations; academic etiquette and insider knowledge; reciprocal and didactic communication and a lack of mutuality and shared respect. Too often ‘student engagement’ and ‘partnership’ can be tokenistic or remain conceptual, or not inclusive in practice involving only small numbers of students.

Structured activities can be helpful in facilitating communication and building relationships, through making the often implicit and unsaid, explicit, transparent and more easily discussed. When honesty and respect between students and staff is reciprocal, meaningful and authentic, then partnership working can be more effective.

This project addresses some of the challenges of developing student-staff collaborative work to ensure it is authentic, accessible to all students, with clear expectations and communication, and effective in embedding action. The set of 5 resources aim to facilitate collaborative work between staff, students in partnership roles such as mentors or higher education internships; to raise awareness, develop understanding, affect change, and provide sustainability in collaborative working.

The resources include:

  • Partnership Introductions (inductions, goal setting, support)
  • Exploring Partnerships (applying theory to practice)
  • Critical Reflection (for personal and professional development)
  • Collaborative Writing (clarifying roles, responsibilities, aims)
  • Active Listening (team communication- for one to one and small meeting contexts)

The top menu provides links to both digital interactive, and printable versions of these resources of you to use. These resources are currently being piloted and we would be grateful for your feedback! Please use the feedback form found on the top menu to let us know how these resources have been useful, and how they can be improved.

This project was funded by the Association for Learning Development in Higher Education (ALDinHE) and resources were developed by the Student Academic Success and Partnership (SASP) team at the University of Brighton, a team consisting of students and staff who work together in partnership. The ‘full resource pack’ contains a more detailed overview of the resources so please take the time to read this for more information about the resources.