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Throughout the grant, some faculty members have chosen to hire students to support course development in a variety of ways. Some faculty have worked closely with one student, while others have chosen to build teams. The success of these partnerships led Ed Cohn, in his capacity as one of the original Principal Investigators of Humanities in Action, to plan and co-host a summer workshop on student-faculty pedagogy partnerships with Dr. Alison Cook-Sather, a faculty member at Bryn Mawr College and an internationally recognized expert in this area. With the promise of these partnerships to support faculty teaching and to open avenues for student voices in the curriculum, Mellon Humanities in Action now has funding available to support these important collaborations.

As in all facets of the grant, if you have any idea to collaborate on course development or revision with a student or students and you are not sure how it fits in this part of the grant, or just have some questions, please reach out to Caleb Elfenbein ( for a development conversation.

What is a pedagogy partnership, exactly, and how can it help me?

Pedagogy partnerships between students and faculty offer a variety of possible benefits depending on the goals of the instructor. 

  • For faculty, being able to draw directly on student experience to build or revise courses can help us make sure that we are offering high impact learning opportunities that will connect with our students in equitable and meaningful ways. For early career faculty, student pedagogy partners can offer important support as they build a roster of courses. For more experienced faculty, student pedagogy partners can offer an avenue for continued growth and development as our students change.
  • Pedagogy partnerships also offer faculty a way to open mutually beneficial research opportunities for our students. Whether building a new course or revising an existing course, hiring students with some experience in relevant areas, especially areas about which you are seeking to learn more, can be enriching for all participants. 
  • For students, pedagogy partnerships provide an opportunity to lend their voices to creating a curriculum that is responsive to student experience and interests, all while learning about the craft of teaching—an incredibly transferable skill—from people who have dedicated their lives to it. 

What kinds of activities are involved in a pedagogy partnership and when do they happen?

Much of the work of pedagogy partnerships takes place over the summer, a time of year when faculty and students have more time to dedicate to projects. Having said that, however, important parts of the work can occur in semesters before and/or after summer work, depending on the goals of the instructor. 

Some components and timeframes of pedagogy partnerships: 

  • For summer pedagogy partnerships, the preceding spring semesters can be a valuable time for preparation in aspects of the work.
    • Students and faculty alike may benefit from training around equity in teaching and learning, while students may benefit from training in other facets of course development and revision.
    • Faculty may wish to spend some time reading with student pedagogy partners in areas of research related to the content of a new or existing course. 
    • To prepare for summer work, student pedagogy partners may sit in on a spring offering that a faculty member plans to revise over the summer, receiving training in course observation along the way.

  • Summer work can take a variety of forms and can include one faculty member and one student, one faculty member and a small team of students, or multiple faculty members and a team of students. It all depends on the project goals. Summer work can include: 
    • Building a new course from scratch 
    • Significant revision of an existing course, including content, structure, pedagogical approach, workload, and assignments 
    • Moderate revision of an existing course, focusing on assignments or pedagogical approach for certain units 
    • Adapting a course created for one purpose, such as a Tutorial or a short course, to another form 

  • In the semester or semesters following summer work, a faculty member may invite a student pedagogy partner to continue work for a variety of purposes (if schedules align): 
    • Assess the effectiveness of course construction or course revisions 
    • Provide the student pedagogy partner with an opportunity to lead class discussion or another aspect of student learning in an area of particular interest 
    • Collaborate on a publication in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning or another venue that focuses on teaching and learning 
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