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Student Partnership

Playing a key role in helping faculty to create high quality educational experiences for students, the CTL works closely with faculty in their design and implementation of evidence-based strategies, by offering trainings on educational technology, consultations on syllabus design, and advice guides on specific instructional techniques. 
To present student voices to showcase excellence in teaching as well as to empower students to be more active agents in their own learning experiences, we initiated the pilot of Undergraduate Student Partners of Teaching and Learning Initiative in 2019. So far, we have worked with over 10 undergraduate students (see below) as partners, and engaged them in pedagogical dialogues and course development projects. 

What is Student as Partner (SaP)?

Engaging students to play a significant role in educational development is supported by prior research (Healey, 2014; Cook, 2016) and cases in other institutions around the world, such as the Student Partners Program at MacPherson Institute and the StudentShapers Program at Imperial College London.
Students as partners in learning and teaching in HE (Source: HE Academy [2015] adapted from Healey et al. [2014, p. 25])  

Healey et al. (2014) mapped out multiple ways of student involvement. In reality, though student course evaluation is weighted and student-faculty collaboration in subject-based research is common, very limited opportunities have been provided to stimulate intellectual conversations about teaching among these stakeholders. This Student Partnership initiative is to fill in the gap by engaging students in teaching and learning.  

What have previous Student Partners contributed to DKU teaching and learning?

Continuing our tradition of sharing excellent teaching stories, student partners helped to interview faculty members across divisions, researched pedagogical approaches, collected student feedback, and collaborated with faculty to tell their stories. 
Student panels
During the annual Learning Innovation Fellowship (LIF) open to new faculty, we collaborated with faculty representatives and student partners to offer a panel to discuss the key considerations in course design. 
Close to the end of the semester, we may also invite students to celebrate their professors’ excellence in teaching by sharing their learning experiences and expressing gratitude to their professors in person. 
Teaching showcase
At the annual teaching and learning showcase, faculty are encouraged to present their innovative teaching practices and conceptualized recommendations. Student partners have been actively involved in the showcase, by co-presenting with faculty, engaging in education-related conversations in panels, or co-facilitating workshops about pedagogy or educational technology
CTL founding student partner Lingli Tang '22, presented with Prof. Nellie Chu at 2019 Teaching with Technology Showcase
Alberto Najarro '22 (top left on the screen), Spencer Reeves '22 (bottom left), and Henry Stevens '22 (bottom right) joined the Student Panel remotely at 2021 Teaching and Learning Showcase
Zezhen Wang '24 (first from the right), Christine Sui '23 (in the middle), and Prof. Floyd Beckford in a panel about education transformation at 2021 Teaching and Learning Showcase
Sebastián Portilla '25 (forth in the first row) led a workshop about international student learning experiences in 2022 Teaching and Learning Showcase
Ying'er Yang (intern, first from the left) and Zhixian Zhang '23 (second from the left) were the hostesses in the 2022 Teaching and Learning Showcase. Lunji Zhu '23 (second from the right) joined the faculty and student panel
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Course development 
When faculty design new courses, we provide an opportunity for them to hear from students, by inviting student partners to comment on the syllabi with faculty’s permission. 
This also applies to the occasion when faculty or major clusters revisit and redesign the courses. Some faculty have already collaborated students in assisting the development of course materials, reflecting on the effectiveness of interdisciplinary learning, and contributing to resilient teaching preparation under crisis.


Cook-Sather, A., Bovill, C., & Felten, P. (2014). Engaging students as partners as learning and teaching: A guide for faculty. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Healey, M., Flint, A., & Harrington, K. (2016). Student as partners: Reflections on a conceptual model. Teaching & Learning Inquiry, 4(2).
Wu, J. & Zhou, H. (2020). Engaging students as partners in learning and teaching. ETH Learning and Teaching Journal, 2(3).

Current Student Partners

Muhammad (Ajlal) Ajlal

Class of 2026

Xinyue Liu

Class of 2025

Sebastián Portilla

Class of 2025

Tianyu Xu

Class of 2025

All Student Partners

Founding partners: Alberto Najarro’22 (Environmental Science and Public Policy), Lingli Tang’22 (Global Health and Public Policy), Spencer Reeves’22 (Political Science), Jasmine Xiao’22

Shang (Irene) Li’22 (Applied Math), Yihao Zhong’23 (Data Science), Zhixian Zhang’23 (Media&Arts), Wanying (Christine) Sui’23 (Psychology), Zezhen Wang’24 (Sociology), Yutong Shi’24 (Cultural Anthropology)

Lunji Zhu’23 (Applied Math), Sebastián Portilla’25 (Institutions and Governance, public policy track)

Tianyu Xu’25 (Psychology), Xinyue Liu’25 (Molecular BioScience)