The Pedagogical Partnership program pairs a faculty member who is teaching a course with a student partner (who has taken the course before) who sits in on the course and serves as a trusted ally who meets regularly with the faculty member to provide frequent, unguarded feedback about the student experience in the course. This allows the instructor to identify the parts of the course that are working well and the parts that students are struggling with, equipping the instructor to make informed mid-course adjustments to best support their students.
The purpose of this program is to invite students and faculty to be a part of Brandeis’s present and to shape its future. This program is a way for us all to get better by engaging student voices by giving students a nonthreatening conduit to provide instructors with feedback that can allow instructors to make small tweaks to help their students be and feel more successful. Pedagogical partnerships are a great way to receive feedback on changes that have been made or that a faculty member is considering making to their course.
The program is designed to foster collaborative and enriching dialogues between the faculty member and their student partner about teaching and learning that benefit both the faculty member and their students. As a result, students in a class with a Pedagogical Partnership are more engaged and feel a greater sense of belonging and purpose in the classroom because they feel like their voices are being heard, resulting in improved learning and end-of-semester teaching evaluations. Ultimately, the goal of the Pedagogical Partnership program is to cultivate a communal environment around teaching and learning in which both students and faculty feel invested in a collaborative partnership.
As one of the purposes of the program is to increase inclusivity in the classroom, we encourage faculty to choose student partners whose voices may have been historically underrepresented.
Student partners are trained how to collect classroom data, lead informal listening sessions to hear from the students outside of class, and to share their observations with their faculty partners through weekly meetings led by the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). Similarly, the faculty partners meet with the CTL two or three times throughout the semester to help determine how to respond to the student feedback.
In recognition of how important Pedagogical Partnerships are in the University’s mission of pursuing academic excellence and for the additional time involved, faculty members are compensated with a $1,000 stipend and their student partners are paid $1,250 for the semester.
If you choose to enter a Pedagogical Partnership, your student partner will be an extra pair of eyes and ears in the back of your class PLUS a willing and supportive dialogue and reflection partner. Faculty at all ranks and in all disciplines have found the experience incredibly helpful and constructive. Student partners respect faculty confidentiality, and the work they do with you is completely separate from the promotion and tenure process.
What might a Pedagogical Partner do for YOU?
- Help you brainstorm and be a constructive sounding board for your ideas;
- Offer a supportive student perspective on your class;
- Help you observe your own habits as a teacher (including everything from body language to the way you call on students);
- Help you to think through issues related to equity and inclusion in the classroom;
- Help you track in-class discussions and small group activities and discuss strategies for improving participation;
- Help you monitor blow-by-blow responses to your lectures and discuss strategies for improving engagement and attentiveness;
- Collect midterm student feedback for you and use it to prepare an analytical report for you;
- And more!
By signing up, you agree to meet with your student partner once a week for 30-60 minutes, at a time that is convenient for you both and three times throughout the semester with the CTL and the other faculty members involved in the program to discuss how to respond to the student feedback.
If you are interested, can you please consider which prior student of yours you’d like to work with as a student partner? We ask that you choose your student partner because we know it can be important to work with someone with whom you already have a relationship.
Application and questions
If you are interested in working with a student partner during Spring 2023, or if you have any questions about the program, please email Kim Godsoe (firstname.lastname@example.org) or email@example.com by Friday, December 16th.
- The University aims to support 6 Pedagogical Partnerships each semester. (Both STEM courses and non-STEM courses are eligible.)
- The 6 faculty members and their 6 student partners all attend a kick-off meeting at the start of the semester to introduce the program, to establish a shared set of goals and expectations, and to address any concerns.
- The 6 student partners meet once a week with the CTL throughout the semester to learn how to observe student behaviors during class, how to lead open listening sessions to hear from a multitude of student voices, how to collect data via anonymous polls, and how to share their observations with their faculty members.
- The 6 faculty members meet with the CTL three times throughout the semester to discuss how to respond to the feedback provided by the student partners.