In this program, students and faculty members work together as partners in exploring how we can create more engaging, inclusive, learning-rich environments for every student. Each week, students visit and observe their faculty partner’s class, and then they and their faculty partners meet to discuss their respective observations, insights, and wonderings. This program is premised on the idea that students and faculty members can learn much from each other regarding the experience of teaching and learning, and that it is through dialogue and sharing of different perspectives that this learning can occur.

What are the goals of this program?

This program is designed to:

  • Engage students and faculty as co-inquirers who learn and work together to analyze and improve educational practice.
  • Foster open and constructive student-faculty dialogue to promote understanding, empathy, and connection.
  • Involve students with diverse experiences, identities, and perspectives in creating an inclusive, engaging learning environment here at DU.

NOTE: Information on the rest of this page is faculty-focused; students interested in this program should go to the student information page to learn more.

How is this program structured and what is the timeline?

We currently hope to offer the program again in Spring 2021.  We will invite students and faculty to apply in early 2021, and will select participants and determine student-faculty pairings by early March (after students know their class schedules for the Spring). If you apply and are selected for the program, here is what you can expect after that:

  • In early March, we will have an orientation for all faculty participants. Also in early March (before Spring break), you and your student partner will meet with each other to plan for your Spring 2021 partnership work. This will include identifying a focus question(s) for your work together.
  • Each week of the Spring 2021 quarter, your student partner will visit your classroom and take detailed observation notes, focusing on the question(s) of interest you identified. In addition, the two of you will meet weekly to share/discuss each others’ perspectives, wonderings, and insights in regards to these observations and the focus questions(s). You will also spend some time on your own reflecting on what you’re learning from this experience.
  • Twice during the Spring 2021 quarter, you’ll meet with the program facilitator and other faculty participants to reflect on how the process is going and what you’re learning. Note: The student participants will also be meeting with each other and the program facilitator once a week to reflect on what they are learning from this experience.
  • Mid-Spring-quarter, your student partner will conduct a feedback session/focus group with the students in your class, compile that feedback and share it with you.
  • At the end of Spring quarter (or early in the summer), you’ll participate in a final debrief/reflection/celebration with the other participants, and will also have the opportunity to share your individual reflection on what the partnership experience was like, in writing or in person, with the program facilitator.

What is the time commitment for faculty members?

Faculty members who participate in this program must commit to spending:

  • 3 hours in early-March (1.5 hours for orientation activities, plus 1.5 hours to plan for the partnership/meet with your student partner)
  • 1 hour per week in the Spring quarter for meeting with your student partner 
  • 2 hours during Spring quarter for two one-hour meetings with fellow faculty participants and the program facilitator
  • 2 hours for final wrap up activities at end of Spring quarter or beginning of summer

How will you decide which faculty members will participate?

We will be seeking faculty participants who:

  • Teach at least one undergraduate class in Spring 2021 that they’d be willing to use as a context for this partnership work
  • Are excited about the goals of this program and willing to engage in a form of partnership in which they are acting as co-learners alongside the participating students
  • Are committed to spending the time required to make this program a success.

In addition, we hope to find faculty members from a range of departments and class types so that we might explore how these partnerships play out in different contexts.  Our final selection of faculty members will be determined in large part by the schedules of the student participants (we’ll need to ensure that students’ available times mesh with the class times of the participating faculty members).

What students will participate and how will you match students and faculty members?

We will be inviting applications from undergraduate students who have been at DU for at least 2 quarters.  We plan to recruit students who represent a diversity of social identities and perspectives, as our intent is to bring voices to the table that are currently underrepresented in shaping the learning environment in higher education.

In most cases, faculty members with be paired with a student partner who is outside of their discipline, the idea being that students bring an expertise in what it means to be a student, faculty members bring their expertise in the discipline, and it’s the combination of these two types of expertise (along with a mutual desire to learn and work together in creating an inclusive, engaging learning environment) that will lead to great things!

How do I learn more?

If you are a faculty member who would like to learn more about this program, have a student you would like to recommend, or are interested and would like to be notified once the new dates (and an application!) are available, please contact Virginia Pitts, who is the facilitator of this program.

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