Learning in community

Student-staff partnership schemes at two UK universities


  • Tim Herrick University of Sheffield
  • Jasper Shotts University of Lincoln


This paper analyses a model of student observation of teaching at the University of
Sheffield, inspired and directly shaped by an earlier scheme at the University of
Lincoln. Student observation of teaching does what it says on the tin; it places staff
and students into dialogue with each other about teaching practices, and offers a
space outside of conventional approaches to evaluation where meaningful dialogue
can be fostered. The paper outlines what each scheme does and how it operates,
evaluates the success of the Sheffield scheme through data gathered through two
instances of the project, and relates these insights to the existing literature on studentstaff partnership. Themes derived from the data identify changes to student and staff
participants’ identities, their relationships with one another, and a deepening sense of
solidarity between students and staff. A secondary finding focuses on the value of
cross-institutional collaboration in projects such as this, where work may challenge
conventional institutional expectations. We end by exploring the risks and
opportunities for aligning this work with contemporary mechanisms of quality
assurance, and policy discourses around teaching excellence.


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How to Cite

Herrick, T., & Shotts, J. (2024). Learning in community: Student-staff partnership schemes at two UK universities . Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal, 5(3). Retrieved from https://sehej.raise-network.com/raise/article/view/1132