Center for Teaching Excellence

Students as Partners

As part of a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Xavier University has the exciting opportunity to pilot a Student as Partners Program in 2024-2025. This initiative aims to enhance diverse student success, particularly in introductory STEM courses, by fostering collaboration between faculty members and students.

What is Students as Partners?

Students as Partners is an innovative, internationally-recognized approach to pedagogy in higher education that re-positions students as collaborators in teaching and learning.

Led by Xavier’s Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE), this semester-long partnership will match interested STEM faculty with 1-2 undergraduate students. Faculty and student partners choose an aspect of a course to focus on together for a semester. Focus areas might include:

  • increasing student engagement during in-class activities
  • codesigning activities
  • revising assessments, or
  • identifying challenges in specific content areas.

The student consultant observes the faculty partner’s classroom regularly (e.g., each week), shares observation notes, and meets with the faculty partner to discuss what is working well and what might be revised. Together, they focus on gathering ongoing student-centered feedback with the primary goal being to improve student success, with a particular emphasis on equity, inclusion, and belonging.

Benefits of Participating as a Faculty Partner?

Partnering with students in the development of the teaching and learning environment is a meaningful opportunity to foster a student-centered learning environment.

According to research, three key overlapping outcomes of partnership benefit faculty committed to improving their teaching .

  • Engagement: The bridge back to being an advocate for students and serving them well, through access to students' perspectives.
  • Awareness: An enhanced opportunity to articulate pedagogical goals and pinpoint what is and is not working the way they want.
  • Enhancement: The ability to make teaching decisions informed by evidence from students' perspectives on classroom experiences.

Through the HHMI grant, Xavier's CTE has funding to support faculty in STEM, particularly those working on introductory courses. Participating faculty will receive a $500 stipend. Faculty partners are expected to participate in a pre-program workshop, meet weekly with their student partner(s), and participate in program assessment.

To participate, complete the application form by Friday, May 10, 2024. Applicants will then be contacted for brief interviews.

Faculty Partner Application Form

Benefits of Participating as a Student Partner?

By participating in this partnership, students can gain insight into how their peers are approaching the material as students, rather than experts in the subject. Student partners gain valuable work experience, build meaningful connections, earn money, and develop communication, critical thinking, and leadership skills while playing a pivotal role in how courses are designed and taught.

For students, those key outcomes mean:

  • Engagement: Learning the responsibilities of their education.
  • Awareness: A stronger vantage point to view the experience and process of learning and a deepened understanding of the way they learn and how others around them learn.
  • Enhancement: Gaining a higher discernment of pedagogical intentions and the reasoning behind assigned work, which can lead to an improved capacity for their own responsibilities as a student.

Student Partner Interest Form


More Information

For more information about Xavier's program, contact Nykara Brown, Assistant Director for the CTE.

Helpful research on the impact of pedagogical partnerships in STEM: Humanizing STEM Education Through Student-Faculty Pedagogical Partnerships (29 June 2023).