Dear Students, Families, Faculty and Staff: As we all settle into our routines and the change of seasons, it is heartening to see so many in our community working so hard to keep themselves and everyone around them safe. That…
CTLE’s Partnership for Inclusive Education Pairs Faculty and Students for Mutual Learning
The Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence (CTLE) launched the Partnership for Inclusive Education in the Fall 2020 semester. The program’s goal is to create culturally responsive learning environments for all students and open dialogue on how students and faculty perceive teaching and learning. It provides faculty with the opportunity to work with one student each semester, who is not enrolled in their course. The partners focus on one course, sharing perspectives on teaching and learning. Faculty reflect on their teaching goals and strategies in the context of a specific course with the input of the student consultant.
In 2020-21, 16 student consultants and 19 faculty partners practiced the partnership principles of respect, reciprocity and shared responsibility for student-faculty dialogue. Faculty partners report spending about 10 hours per semester. Over the course of the project, student consultants drawn from the Shaw Center’s Syracuse University Literacy Corps and the Selected Studies in Education course devoted more than 1,850 hours to partnering with faculty from the College of Visual and Performing Arts, College of Arts and Sciences and College of Engineering and Computer Science. Twenty courses enrolling 1,891 students were included in partnerships.
In the first semester, students and faculty were deliberately paired to mix disciplines. In the second semester, the project piloted some partnerships with the student and faculty drawn from the same or similar fields, while avoiding the conflict of interest that might come from a future student-faculty relationship in the student’s course of study.
“We evaluated these partnerships along the way and at the end of the semester. Faculty told us that they received valuable input from the student consultants, who, for example, served as a sounding board for potential changes to communication and assignments, gave advice on conflict management in the classroom from a student perspective and helped tailor mid-course evaluations to target specific areas for improvement,” says Laurel Willingham-McLain, consulting faculty developer, who led the project through CTLE. “Faculty members also learned how to spot anxiety in students and make changes to their interactions to allow their students time and space to express their questions and thoughts.”
Carla Ramirez of the Shaw Center is the advisor for student consultants. She says, “Through this experience, our student consultants learned about all of the work that faculty put into teaching and how much they value student feedback. They learned responsibility through their role as a dialogue partner and improved their communication skills through email and Zoom exchanges with faculty. As a result of these dialogues, faculty partners made changes to aspects of their courses. The student consultants were able to see both the faculty and student experience in each course and were proud that they were able to contribute to their partner’s understanding of potential barriers to student success.”
Past partnerships have explored student well-being, inclusivity, academic success, educator growth and student-faculty relations as a way to enhance the learning experience.
Faculty who are interested in collaborating with a student can learn more by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Students who are interested in being consultants and are looking for a rich reciprocal service learning experience should contact Carla Ramirez at email@example.com.