From Assistants to Partners

A Framework for Graduate Students as Partners in SoTL Research


  • Jennifer Lock University of Calgary
  • Carol Johnson University of Melbourne
  • Laurie Hill St. Mary's University
  • Christopher Ostrowdun University of Calgary
  • Luciano da Rosa dos Santos Mount Royal University



Students as Partners, Graduate Student, Research Collaboration, professional identity


Student-faculty partnerships are a growing practice in scholarship of teaching & learning (SoTL) projects. They can foster greater student engagement in higher education and help advance teaching & learning experiences. For graduate students, in particular those pursuing academic careers, such partnerships can offer opportunities for development of their professional identities as emerging SoTL scholars. In this article, we expand upon previous theorizations of partnerships to include the unique attributes of graduate student partnerships, such as in terms of longer timeframes, increased complexity, and long-term goals. Drawing on a two-year SoTL study, we present a three-layer framework characterizing key attributes for a successful graduate student-faculty partnership: 1) individual attributes in a partnership, 2) collective attributes for a partnership, and 3) outcomes of a partnership. The framework is grounded in literature and illustrative examples from our experiences as graduate students and faculty members working together in partnership with a SoTL project. This framework offers a structured mechanism to inform, create, and enhance the capacity of student-faculty partnerships in SoTL research.


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How to Cite

Lock, Jennifer, Carol Johnson, Laurie Hill, Christopher Ostrowdun, and Luciano da Rosa dos Santos. 2021. “From Assistants to Partners: A Framework for Graduate Students As Partners in SoTL Research”. Teaching and Learning Inquiry 9 (2).