Typically faculty teach to students. What happens if we framed the task differently, aiming to teach with students? What new possibilities emerge when students and faculty work together to co-design classes and curricula?
Co-create UVA, a collaboration between the Center for Teaching Excellence and the student-led initiative ReinventED Lab, offered a platform for faculty and students to explore these questions and reimagine teaching and learning together. Co-create UVA’s motto? “Students are the most important and least consulted stakeholders in education – let’s change the paradigm and co-create education together.”
Part of a burgeoning national movement, student-faculty partnerships are build on the assumption that learners and teachers can “contribute equally, although not necessarily in the same ways, to curricular or pedagogical conceptualization, decision making, implementation, investigation, or analysis” (Cook-Sather, et. al. 2014). Research on student-faculty partnerships shows significant benefits for all participants; students report deeper engagement in courses and increased metacognitive awareness, while faculty report an awareness of students’ experiences that transform how they think about and practice teaching.
After a year of successful programming, we hired student consultants to work for the Center for Teaching Excellence. These students gave faculty feedback on their syllabi at the Course Design Institute and assisted faculty in improving teaching and learning through in-class observations or a Teaching Analysis Poll.