The ‘Partnership Identity’ in Higher Education: Moving From ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ to ‘We’ in Student-Staff Partnership
Student-staff partnerships in higher education re-frame the ways that students and staff work together as active collaborators in teaching and learning. Such a radical re-visioning of the relationships between students, staff, and the institutions within which they function is both potentially transformational and a significant challenge given the deeply entrenched identities, and attached norms, that form a part of the institutional culture. Explicit examination of the ways in which identity formation and navigation influences, and is influenced by, student-staff partnership is an important but under-explored area in the partnership literature. Drawing on structured reflective narratives focused on our own partnership experiences, we employ collaborative autoethnographic methods to explore this nexus through a social identity lens. Results highlight the need to move away from the labelling of dichotomous student/staff roles and identities in the context of partnership to a more nuanced conception that embraces the multiplicity of identity and diverse dimensions of meaning. We highlight the power of the normative conceptions that we attach to different identities, particularly where dissonance arises should those norms conflict. We discuss how this dissonance was particularly salient for us as we crossed the partnership threshold, only to find that the ethos underlying our new partnership identities contradicted the traditional hierarchical structure of the institutions within which we continued to function. Finally, we highlight the implications of these results for those engaging in student-staff partnerships in higher education and point the way toward potentially fruitful avenues of future research.
Arao, B., & Clemens, K. (2013). From safe spaces to brave spaces: A new way to frame dialogue around diversity and social justice. In L. M. Landreman (Ed.), The Art of Effective Facilitation: Reflections From Social Justice Educators (pp. 135-150). Virginia: Stylus Publishing.
Becker, S., Kennedy, L., Shahverdi, H., & Spence, N. (2015). Improving student writing: working in partnership to develop the Student Academic Literacy Tool (SALT). Journal of Educational Innovation; Partnership and Change, 1(2).
Billot, J. (2010). The imagined and the real: identifying the tensions for academic identity. Higher Education Research & Development, 29(6), 709-721. doi:10.1080/07294360.2010.487201
Borton, T. (1970). Reach, Touch and Teach. London: Hutchinson.
Bovill, C., Cook-Sather, A., Felten, P., Millard, L., & Moore-Cherry, N. (2016). Addressing potential challenges in co-creating learning and teaching: overcoming resistance, navigating institutional norms and ensuring inclusivity in student–staff partnerships. Higher Education, 71(2), 195-208. doi:10.1007/s10734-015-9896-4
Bovill, C., Cook‐Sather, A., & Felten, P. (2011). Students as co‐creators of teaching approaches, course design, and curricula: implications for academic developers. International Journal for Academic Development, 16(2), 133-145. doi:10.1080/1360144X.2011.568690
Burke, P., & Reitzes, D. (1981). The Link between Identity and Role Performance. Social psychology quarterly, 44(2), 83-92.
Chang, H., Ngunjiri, F., & Hernandez, W. (2013). Collaborative autoethnography. London: Routledge.
Churchman, D. (2006). Institutional commitments, individual compromises: Identity-related responses to compromise in an Australian university. Journal of Higher Education, 28(1), 3–15.
Churchman, D., & King, S. (2009). Academic practice in transition: Hidden stories of academic identities. Teaching in Higher Education, 14(5), 507–516.
Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (2000). Narrative inquiry: Experience and story in qualitative research. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Clandinin, J. (1995). Teachers’ professional knowledge landscapes. New York: Teachers College Press.
Colton, A. B., & Sparks-Langer, G. M. (1993). A Conceptual Framework to Guide the Development of Teacher Reflection and Decision Making. Journal of Teacher Education, 44(1), 45-54. doi:10.1177/0022487193044001007
Cook-Sather, A. (2001). Unrolling Roles in Techno-Pedagogy: Toward New Forms of Collaboration in Traditional College Settings. Innovative Higher Education, 26(2), 121-139. doi:10.1023/a:1012240505690
Cook-Sather, A. (2014). Student-faculty partnership in explorations of pedagogical practice: a threshold concept in academic development. International Journal for Academic Development, 19(3), 186-198. doi:10.1080/1360144X.2013.805694
Cook-Sather, A. (2015). Dialogue across differences of position, perspective, and identity: Reflective practice in/on a student-faculty pedagogical partnership program. Teachers College Record, 117 (2).
Cook-Sather, A. (2016). Creating Brave Spaces within and through Student-Faculty Pedagogical Partnerships. Teaching and Learning Together in Higher Education(18). Retrieved from http://repository.brynmawr.edu/tlthe/vol1/iss18/1
Cook-Sather, A., Bovill, C., & Felten, P. (2014). Engaging Students as Partners in Learning and Teaching: A Guide for Faculty. San Francisco, CA: Josey-Bass.
Cook-Sather, A., & Luz, A. (2015). Greater engagement in and responsibility for learning: what happens when students cross the threshold of student–faculty partnership. Higher Education Research & Development, 34(6), 1097-1109. doi:10.1080/07294360.2014.911263
Ducharme, E. (1993). The lives of teacher educators. New York: Teachers College Press.
Dunne, E., & Zandstra, R. (2011). Students as change agents–new ways of engaging with learning and teaching in higher education. Retrieved from Higher Education Academy: http://escalate.ac.uk/downloads/8242.pdf
Fitzmaurice, M. (2013). Constructing professional identity as a new academic: a moral endeavour. Studies in Higher Education, 38(4), 613-622. doi:10.1080/03075079.2011.594501
Flint, A. (2016). Moving from the fringe to the mainstream: opportunities for embedding student engagement through partnership. Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal, 1(1). Retrieved from https://journals.gre.ac.uk/index.php/raise/article/view/382/340
Harris, S. (2005). Rethinking academic identities in neo-liberal times. Teaching in Higher Education, 10(4), 421–433.
Healey, M., Flint, A., & Harrington, K. (2014). Engagement through partnership: students as partners in learning and teaching in higher education. Retrieved from https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/system/files/resources/engagement_through_partnership.pdf
Hornsey, M. J. (2008). Social Identity Theory and Self-categorization Theory: A Historical Review. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 2(1), 204-222. doi:10.1111/j.1751-9004.2007.00066.x
Matthews, K. (2016). Students as Partners as the Future of Student Engagement. Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal, 1(1), 1-5. Retrieved from https://journals.gre.ac.uk/index.php/raise/article/view/380/338
Merriam, S. B. (2009). Qualitative Research: A Guide to Design and Implementation San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Paterson, M., Higgs, J., Wilcox, S., & Villenuve, M. (2002). Clinical reasoning and self-directed learning: Key dimensions in professional education and professional socialisation. Focus on Health Professional Education, 4(2), 5-21.
Reed-Danahay, D. (1997). Auto/ethnography: Rewriting the self and the social. Oxford: Berg.
Reiman, A. J., & Thies-Sprinthall, L. (1998). Mentoring and Supervision for Teacher Development. New York: Longman.
Rolfe, G., Jasper, M., & Freshwater, D. (2011). Critical Reflection in Practice: generating knowledge for care (2 ed.). Basingstoke: Palgrave.
Seale, J., Gibson, S., Haynes, J., & Potter, A. (2015). Power and resistance: Reflections on the rhetoric and reality of using participatory methods to promote student voice and engagement in higher education. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 39(4), 534-552. doi:10.1080/0309877X.2014.938264
Sweitzer, V. (2009). Towards a Theory of Doctoral Student Professional Identity Development: A Developmental Networks Approach. The Journal of Higher Education, 80(1), 1-33. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/25511088
Tajfel, H. (1972). Social categorization. In S. Moscovici (Ed.), English manuscript of ‘‘La cate´gorisation sociale.’’ (Vol. 1, pp. 272–302). Paris: Larousse.
Tajfel, H. (1974). Social identity and intergroup behaviour. Social Science Information, 13(2), 65-93. doi:10.1177/053901847401300204
Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. (1979). An integrative theory of intergroup conflict. In W. G. Austin & S. Worchel (Eds.), The social psychology of intergroup relations (pp. 33–47). Monterey, CA: Brooks/Cole.
Turner, J. C., & Giles, H. (1981). Intergroup behaviour. Oxford: Blackwell.
University of Brighton. (2011). Critical Incident Analyses. Brighton: University of Brighton.
White, E., Roberts, A., Rees, M., & Read, M. (2014). An exploration of the development of academic identity in a School of Education. Professional Development in Education, 40(1), 56-70. doi:10.1080/19415257.2013.775661
a. Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
b. Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
c. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).