Foundations of Student-Faculty Partnerships in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
The authors begin by outlining some of the shortcomings of the traditional instructional model in higher education, arguing that in this model students feel powerless, as if decisions were made for them instead of by them. Professors are viewed as the only experts in the room, developing in students a fundamental misconception about teaching and learning as a process through which knowledge is transferred from one to another, rather than a process during which meaning is co-constructed. Such misconception also devalues the opinions and the input of their peers, whose thoughts are dismissed as irrelevant and unimportant. All of this in the end translates into student disengagement with the process of learning, with the material and with their peers.
This traditional model of education is challenged by student-faculty partnership on the scholarship of teaching and learning. Through partnership, students acquire voice and with it, a greater responsibility for their education. Simultaneously, faculty is prompted to listen to student voices and accommodate them, relinquishing the authority that was previously assumed and unquestioned. Hence, partnership causes decentralization and disaggregation of the classroom as power is now shared between the instructor and the students, which in itself, fosters a more democratic model of teaching and learning.
From the SoTL perspective, student-faculty partnerships shift the focus from teaching (faculty) to learning (students) and allow students to ask questions related to SoTL research.