Cover of Pedagogical Partnerships
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doi.org/10.36284/celelon.oa1

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December 2019

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December 2019

In chapter 3 of Pedagogical Partnerships: A How-To Guide for Faculty, Students, and Academic Developers in Higher Education, we mention the approach we take to inviting student applications: that they are not intended to serve gatekeeping functions but rather to initiate the reflective process that is essential to the role of student partner. Below is the full application form:

Qualifications and Requirements

To be a Student Consultant you must

  • be a Bryn Mawr or Haverford student
  • be a sophomore, junior, senior, post-bac, or McBride
  • have taken at least one education course in the bi-co or have had experience in an educational role, such as through PLI or the Writing Center or as a Peer Tutor or a Hall Advisor, in which you critically considered and discussed issues in learning and teaching
  • be willing to commit to and follow through on the responsibilities inherent in the role (see list below), communicate with honesty and courtesy, reflect on this work using the means provided, uphold the privacy of your partner, and keep strictly confidential what is discussed between you and your partner and at meetings.

When you take on the responsibility of a Student Consultant, you commit to:

  • attending and participating in weekly, semi-structured, one-hour discussions focused on what is happening in your faculty partner’s classrooms and how to support faculty exploration, affirmation, and revision of pedagogical practices
  • visiting your faculty partner’s class once each week and taking detailed observation notes focused on pedagogical issues he or she identifies
  • typing up your observation notes each week and delivering those to your faculty partner in a timely manner
  • meeting weekly with your faculty partner
  • offering mid-semester and end-of-semester feedback

Application Process

  1. Contact Alison Cook-Sather (acooksat@brynmawr.edu) to express your interest and request a copy of the Guidelines for Student Consultants.
  2. Read carefully the Guidelines for Student Consultants to ensure that you are prepared for the responsibilities of the role.
  3. Secure two recommendations: one from a student and one from a member of the Bryn Mawr or Haverford faculty, staff, or administration who can comment on your capacities to analyze pedagogical issues and to communicate respectfully and effectively. Have your recommenders send the Director of the TLI a very brief but substantive recommendation (it can be in an email message or a phone call) explaining why you would an effective consultant. They may use the following guidelines: Please comment briefly on your sense of this student’s capacity to (1) discern and analyze pedagogical issues, (2) communicate respectfully and effectively, and (3) work with faculty members not only to identify pedagogical issues but also to brainstorm strategies for addressing those.
  4. Send a completed Application Form and a signed Letter of Commitment to the Director of the TLI, Alison Cook-Sather, Education Program, Bettws y Coed, acooksat@brynmawr.edu.

Other Important Information:

Your assignment to a partnership is subject to scheduling.  In other words, your schedule must match a faculty member’s schedule in order for you to undertake a partnership.  Therefore, although every effort will be made to match you with a faculty member if your application is accepted, a successful application does not guarantee a partnership.

Because you will be working with a faculty partner, with other Student Consultants, and with the Director of the TLI, all of whom will rely on you to meet your responsibilities consistently and thoroughly, if at any time you do not meet the responsibilities outlined above or communicate effectively prior to the occasion of any particular responsibility, your job as Student Consultant may be terminated.

Advice from Experienced Student Consultants

I would advise future Student Consultants to not think of themselves as the problem-solvers or as all-knowing counselors to their faculty partners. The focus should be on reflection and reciprocal teaching and learning. If the student consultant thinks of herself only as the teacher in the partnership, she will not gain as much as she could have from her participation in the program.

I would suggest being open and knowing that we don’t all of the answers. It truly is a partnership with a faculty member not just a place where you come and find all of the solutions.

The best advice that worked for me this semester was that I was not supposed to have the solution to every situation. Listening is essential to every aspect of my work as a student consultant. My experiences in different classes can be a great resource for a faculty partner. It is important to realize that just because the classes that a student consultant has taken may be in a different subject area or discipline does not mean that those experiences cannot inform teaching and learning across disciplines or subjects.

Remember that people have bad days. If you have a meeting with your faculty consultant that doesn’t go as well as you anticipate, that doesn’t mean that you are a failed Consultant. The professors that we work with genuinely appreciate the work that we do, and you must remember, that in the end it benefits them and their work. This job isn’t always easy, but it is always rewarding.

I feel strongly that I can’t really give too much advice to future consultants. Having seen the breadth and variety of the participating students and faculty members and their styles, I think that each individual will have a different experience. My only advice is to keep an open mind and be prepared to be wowed.

Application Form

Name:
Year:
Major, minor:
Email address where you can be reached at ALL times of year:

Why do you want to be a Student Consultant?

What do you think would make you an effective Student Consultant?

Letter of Commitment

Date: ________________

I, ________________________________, recognize that as a participant in Students as Learners and Teachers (SaLT) there are commitments and values that I must make as means to respect myself, the program, and my faculty partner(s).

I recognize and am willing to engage in a collaborative partnership focused on pedagogical issues initially identified by my faculty partner(s) and expanded upon as we agree together is appropriate.

I will respect myself and my partner throughout this project by communicating with honesty and courtesy to the best of my ability so we may meet challenges together. By making this commitment I will take responsibility to communicate with my faculty partner(s) and the Director of the TLI about challenges I encounter or that my partner and I encounter together.

I commit to communicate with the Director of the TLI if at any time I feel uncomfortable or have concerns, questions, or suggestions of any kind.

In the event that I am unable to meet one or more of the requirements for the partnership(s) (classroom observation, meeting with faculty member, meeting with Student Consultants, etc.), I will do my absolute best to communicate with the appropriate party (faculty partner, Director of the TLI).

I commit to reflecting on this work using the means provided (weekly discussions, moments of focused assessment, etc.).

I commit to upholding the privacy of my partner and to keeping strictly confidential anything discussed in weekly meetings with other Student Consultants and the Director of the TLI. I will not share information about my partner with anybody outside of these forums unless necessary, meaning that I will communicate with the Director of the TLI regarding any issues that need to be addressed.

Sincerely,

Signature: ___________________________________________

Printed Name: _______________________________________