Chapter 2: From Novelty to Norm

Sean Wilson, Julie Phillips, Helen Meskhidze, Claire Lockard, Peter Felten, Susannah McGowan, and Stephen Bloch-Schulman

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In this chapter, we follow two student-faculty projects, focusing on the students’ experiences therein, to surface ongoing concerns about the full inclusion of undergraduate students in the scholarship of teaching and learning. We then turn to the notions of internal exclusion and double justification to explore how those who are included in the conversation may still not fully be heard and how students and student-faculty partnerships are often met with skepticism and thus face a justificatory burden that other research does not. We conclude with a call to shift the frame from the question asked or implied of student-faculty partnerships: “why are students involved in this research?”; instead, we call for us to collectively ask those projects that do not include students “why aren’t students involved with this research?”

Reflection Questions for Readers

Taking “How can SoTL practitioners make SoTL more welcoming to student researchers?” as our main question, we suggest our readers consider the following sub-questions:

  • For students: Can you think of a time when you were taken seriously as a researcher? What happened to allow your inclusion, and how might that situation be replicated?
  • For faculty: Can you think of a time when students were, from your perspective, taken seriously as experts and researchers? What happened to allow their inclusion, and how might that situation be replicated?
  • For students: What are some ways that student SoTL researchers can encourage one another either at conferences or during the research process? What are some ways that faculty and staff SoTL researchers have encouraged you?
  • For faculty: What resources does your institution have to help you improve your collaborative practices in your SoTL research? What resources might you help develop further?


Postscript by Stephen Bloch-Schulman

In this post-script to “From Novelty to Norm,” I raise some ethical and political questions about the ways we understand the equity of these partnerships. This post-script began with comments by the editors about how, in “From Novelty to Norm,” students were speaking in the first person, about events that were quite upsetting and challenging to them, whereas faculty never appear vulnerable. I use this comment as an opportunity to ruminate on some of the multiple ways equity and partnership might appear, and to think about how, because partnerships are unlikely to meet all of these goals, we who engage in partner work need to think carefully about which goals we take (and which we thereby leave behind).

Reflection Questions for Readers
  • What are the possible separate educative goals for different people in student-faculty partnerships?
  • How should we, and who should, decide which of these goals we should value and strive for?