Students as Partners: Reflections on a Conceptual Model.

Healey, M., Flint, A., & Harrington, K. (2016). Students as partners: Reflections on a conceptual model. Teaching & Learning Inquiry, 4(2).

This article reflects on a conceptual model for mapping the work that fits under the broad heading of students as partners in learning and teaching in higher education (Healey, Flint, & Harrington, 2014). We examine the nature and purpose of the model with reference to specific examples, and reflect on the potential and actual uses of the model in the development of practice and policy, focussing particularly on students as co-inquirers in Scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL). The article also provides a framework for the other articles in a special section of Teaching & Learning Inquiry on students as co-inquirers.

The relevance of Students As Partners is explained in the article:
‘Learning and working in partnership has also been proposed as a pedagogically sound alternative to consumerist models of HE, and a constructive response to (inter)national policy drivers emphasizing the importance of student engagement and teaching quality for the transformation of HE fit for a contemporary world. To that end, many institutions and practitioners are working to embed processes of partnership with and between students throughout HE practice and policy. Students may be engaged through partnership in various ways including institutional governance, quality assurance, research strategies, community engagement, and extra-curricular activities. H ere we explore one aspect of the students as partners’ discussion: that of engaging students as partners in learning and teaching in HE . Our model provides an overarching conceptualisation for this area of practice and policy development, and we invite readers of subsequent papers in this special section to consider how useful a framing this conceptual model provides.’

‘Our model distinguishes four overlapping areas in which students can be partners in learning and teaching, from some of which, such as curriculum design, students have traditionally been excluded. This includes partnerships between faculty and students, and pedagogic and professional practices that foster partnerships among students.’

‘A detailed explanation of the model is available in Healey et al. (2014). The model is not intended as a simple recipe or checklist for partnership, rather a lens through which to explore and develop practice, and to provide a common language for dialogue.’

Fig. 1. Students as partners in learning and teaching in HE (Source: HE Academy [2015] adapted from Healey et al. [2014, p. 25]).

Students as partners in learning and teaching in HEConclusion of the authors:
Students as partners is a concept and practice whose time has come. Co-creating, coproducing, co-learning, co-designing, co-developing, co-researching, and co-inquiring involve sharing power and an openness to new ways of working and learning together and, hence, challenges traditional models of HE relationships. In this paper, we have examined a conceptual model of
Healey, Flint, Harrington
Healey, M., Flint, A., & Harrington, K. (2016). Students as partners: Reflections on a conceptual model. Teaching & Learning Inquiry, 4(2). 10
partnership based on four overlapping areas integrated through the process of partnership learning communities. Our model brings together literatures which have often been treated separately and in doing so gives faculty and students a language to talk about where their activities fit and how the values of learning partnerships may operate in their context. Much research remains to be done into what works in which contexts and to theorise the different ways in which partnerships may take place. Though we have concentrated on students as partners in learning and teaching, many of the ideas and principles are applicable to other forms of partnership in HE, including students and faculty working with employers, professional bodies, and community organisations. There are emerging opportunities for those faculty, students, and administrators already engaging through partnership to build on existing good practice and play leading roles in developing policies to spread partnership practice widely within our countries and internationally. If we are serious about the potentially substantial benefits of partnership, we need to explore how these opportunities can be made available to all