By Jacie Moriyama, ASSETT Student Service Portfolio Manager
‘If there is to be a single important structural change during the coming decades, it is the changing role of students who are given more room in defining and contributing to higher education.’ (Gärdebo & Wiggberg, 2012, p. 9)
As an undergraduate student, I worked on-campus at a Center for Learning, Teaching, and Technology as an Instructional Design Assistant. In this position, I provided support for technology workshops, monitored the computer labs, worked in a broadcast television studio and helped faculty develop course materials. I worked in this position for a couple of years before transitioning into a staff member. At the time, I thought it was just a job. But, in retrospect, this was not just a job, it was an experience that set me up for my professional career.
So, when I first envisioned the Student Technology Consultants program (formerly known as the Student Fellows), my goal was to create a similar type of employment experience that I had. So I looked at the research. And I found the Students as Partners framework which is a partnership between students and faculty. Cook-Sather, Bovill & Felten (2014) defines a student-faculty partnership ‘as a collaborative, reciprocal process through which all participants have the opportunity to contribute equally, although not necessarily in the same ways, to curricular or pedagogical conceptualization, decision making, implementation, investigation, or analysis’ (pp. 6-7). This relationship is built upon the pillars of respect, reciprocity, and responsibility. This process repositions students and faculty as teachers and learners, and ultimately redefines the traditional roles of students and faculty in relation to one another and to the institution. Partnerships can take many shapes and forms, however, they typically fall into one of four categories learning, teaching & assessment; curriculum design & pedagogical consultancy; subject-based research & inquiry; or the scholarship of teaching & learning (Mercer-Mapstone et al., 2017; Cook-Sather, Bovill & Felton, 2014).
The STC program is based upon the curriculum design & pedagogical consultancy category. Through this partnership, the STCs provide their expertise in technology and being an expert learner to match the need of the faculty member’s goals and their student learning outcomes. This partnership allows the faculty member to focus on delivering course content while successfully incorporating the use of innovative pedagogies and technologies. The STCs are contributing their technical expertise to directly impact undergraduate students and courses. Additionally, these undergraduates are also honing their interpersonal, communication, and critical thinking skills - skills that are transferable and applicable to other parts of their lives. See examples of how the STC work with faculty members, by watching videos of Beth Osnes (Theatre and Dance) and Catherine Kunce (Program for Writing and Rhetoric).
Cook-Sather, A., Bovill, C., & Felten, P. (2014). Engaging students as partners in learning and teaching: a guide for faculty. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Gärdebo, J., & Wiggberg, M. (2012). Importance of student participation in future academia. In J. Gärdebo and M. Wiggberg (eds.) Students, The University’s Unspent Resource: Revolutionising Higher Education using Active Student Participation. Pedagogical Development Report 12. Report series from the Division for Development of Teaching and Learning. Uppsala Universitet.
Healey, M., Flint, A., & Harrington, K. (2014). Engagement through partnership: Students as partners in learning and teaching in higher education. York: Higher Education Academy. Retrieved from https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/system/files/resources/engagement_through_partnership.pdf.
Mercer-Mapstone, L., Dvorakova, S. L., Matthews, K. E., Abbot, S., Cheng, B., Felten, P., . . . Swaim, K. (2017). A systematic literature review of students as partners in higher education. International Journal for Students as Partners,1(1). doi:10.15173/ijsap.v1i1.3119.