Student Information and Application

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 from each other 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 student-focused; faculty interested in this program should go to the faculty information page to learn more.

What’s in it for me?

Through participating in this program, not only will you be paid (see below for more on that!), but you will:

  • Play a significant role in creating a more inclusive, engaging learning environment here at DU
  • Gain practical experience in voicing your perspective and advocating for change
  • Develop personal connections with fellow students and your faculty partner
  • Build your leadership, communication, and dialogue skills
  • Gain a whole new perspective on teaching and learning that will allow you to be more successful in your time at DU and beyond

How is this program structured and what is the timeline?

We are currently inviting students to apply for the Spring 2021 program, and are accepting applications through Tuesday, February 16, 2021.  We plan to select participants and determine student-faculty pairings by early March (after students know their class schedules for the Spring). 

Last spring, we conducted this partnership work virtually – with all meetings happening via Zoom and students reviewing/observing their faculty partners’ online classes – and it was a great success! So, we are excited to share that we will be continuing to offer this virtual format in the coming quarter, though student partners may have the opportunity to observe an on-campus class in-person if they are interested.  

If you apply and are selected for the program, here is what you can expect (please note that we anticipate all meetings below will be happening online via Zoom):

  • In early March, we will have an orientation for all student participants. Also in early March (before Spring break), you and your faculty partner will meet with each other to plan for your Spring 2021 partnership work and identify an area of focus for your work together. 
  • Each week of the Spring 2021 quarter, you will visit your faculty partner’s classroom and take detailed observation notes related to the area of focus you and your faculty partner identified.  Then, you’ll write up your observation notes to share with your faculty partner, and you and your faculty partner will meet to discuss with each other your perspectives, wonderings, and insights in regards to your observations and the focus question(s). You will also participate in weekly meetings with the other student participants and the program facilitator so that you might support each other in learning from this experience and in figuring out how to best work with your faculty partner.
  • Mid-Spring-quarter, you’ll conduct a feedback session/focus group with the students in your faculty partner’s class, compile the feedback, and share it with your faculty partner.
  • At the end of the Spring quarter, 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.

How will student participants be compensated, and what is the time commitment?

All students who participate in this pilot will receive $15/hour for their time. We estimate that the time commitment will be as follows:

  • 2 hours in early March for orientation activities
  • 2 hours in early March to plan for the partnership
  • 6 to 9 hours per week in the Spring 2021 quarter for observing your faculty partners class, writing up your notes/reflections, meeting with your faculty partner, and meeting with the other student participants (will depend primarily on how many hours/week you observe)
  • 2 hours for end-of-quarter wrap up activities at the end of Spring quarter or beginning of summer

How will you decide which students will participate?

We are seeking students who:

  • Are undergraduates who have been at DU for at least 2 quarters
  • Represent a diverse range of social identities and perspectives, particularly those identities/perspectives that are currently under-represented in shaping the higher education environment
  • Are excited about the goals of this program
  • Are able and committed to spending the time required to make this program a success

We anticipate having more qualified applicants than we will be able to accept. Our final selection of student participants will be determined in large part by the schedules of student and faculty applications (as we’ll need to ensure that students’ available times mesh with the class times of the participating faculty members!).

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

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. In most cases, faculty members will be paired with a student partner who is outside of their discipline, as the idea is 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 apply and learn more?

If you are a student who would like to participate in the Spring 2021 program, please fill out this application as soon as possible, as we will begin reviewing applications immediately.  The application deadline is February 16, 2021. We will send all applicants a message in mid-February to find out when you might be able to observe, and will let you know whether or not you have been selected for the program by early March.

Please note:  Filling out the application does not guarantee you a slot in the program, as we anticipate we will have more qualified applicants than there are available slots. Our final selection of participants will be determined in large part by the schedules of student and faculty applicants (we’ll need to ensure that students’ available times mesh with the class times of the participating faculty members!) and the areas of inquiry the different faculty members are most interested in focusing on.  

If you would simply like to learn more about this program, or can’t participate this Spring but want to be on the mailing list for future quarters, please contact Virginia Pitts, who is the facilitator of this program.