Using Scenarios to Explore the Complexity of Student-Faculty Partnership




scenario-based learning, scholarship of teaching and learning, language, partnership pedagogy, students as partners


In this paper, we present and reflect on using scenarios and role-plays as an effective approach to engaging in the often complicated conversations about student-faculty/staff partnerships, particularly those involving the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL). Students as co-developers of pedagogical processes, as well as co-researchers in SoTL, has become an increasingly valued practice in higher education institutions around the world, one that promises to be transformative in its pursuit to break down the traditional hierarchies and establish more democratic and equitable relationships between faculty/staff and students. While there is a growing body of evidence that demonstrates the value of creating spaces and processes to enhance teaching and learning, it can be challenging to know how to develop and implement partnership in SoTL. How do we actually do it? Many of us need guidance for where and how to get started, how to build effective partnerships, how to work through difficulties, how to share our experiences, and how to invite others into this practice. Informed by our own experiences of engaging in pedagogical SoTL partnerships and drawing upon materials developed for a conference workshop we delivered at the 2019 International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) conference, we argue that scenarios and role-plays, when informed by the principles of Scenario Based Learning (SBL), are effective tools that help explore partnership experiences of faculty/staff and students. We offer considerations for how readers can adopt and adapt scenarios in their contexts and invite further research on the ways SBL contributes to SoTL and partnership.

Click here to read the corresponding ISSOTL blog post.


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Author Biographies

Cherie Woolmer, Mount Royal University

Cherie Woolmer is assistant professor and Canada Research Chair (Scholarship of Teaching and Learning), based at the Mokakiiks Centre for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at Mount Royal University, Alberta, Canada. At the time of developing the scenarios outlined in this paper she was a postdoctoral research fellow at the MacPherson Institute at McMaster University, Canada, where she co-led the university’s Student Partners Program and worked with students in her current research on pedagogical partnerships and change.

Nattalia Godbold, University of Queensland

Nattalia Godbold is a PhD candidate at the University of Queensland’s Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation (ITaLI). Alongside her doctoral research examining teaching focused academics identities and practices, she has worked in partnership researching curriculum co-creation in undergraduate education courses.

Isabel Treanor, Elon University

Isabel Treanor graduated in 2019 from Elon University where she participated in a number of student-faculty partnerships. In 2021, she received a master’s in International Education from Universidad de Alcalá de Henares where she studied the challenges and benefits surrounding bilingual education programs. She currently works in Spain as an English teacher and uses SBL often in her classes.

Natalie McCray, Trinity University

Natalie McCray was the post-baccalaureate fellow for the Collaborative for Learning and Teaching at Trinity University at the time of writing. There, she led the Tigers as Partners (TaP) program which facilitates semester long student-faculty partnerships. She is now a graduate student studying law at the University of Illinois College of Law.

Ketevan Kupatadze, Elon University

Ketevan Kupatadze is a senior lecturer in the Department of World Languages and Cultures at Elon University and an associate editor of TLI, the ISSOTL journal. From 2017–2019 she was Elon’s Center for Engaged Learning scholar, working on student-faculty partnerships. She has organized reading groups and workshops on students as partners and partnered with students numerous times on instructional design and curriculum development.

Peter Felten, Elon University

Peter Felten is executive director of the Center for Engaged Learning and professor of History at Elon University (US). He often partners with students in SoTL research and publications. He also is a past president of ISSOTL and, (as of June 2019) is chair of ISSOTL’s Publications Advisory Committee.

Catherine Bovill, University of Edinburgh

Catherine Bovill is professor of Student Engagement in Higher Education and co-director, Institute for Academic Development at the University of Edinburgh. She is visiting fellow, University of Bergen, Norway, principal fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and previously a Fulbright Scholar. She has published widely on co-creation of the curriculum.


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Three white jelly fish swimming in a bright blue ocean.




How to Cite

Woolmer, Cherie, Nattalia Godbold, Isabel Treanor, Natalie McCray, Ketevan Kupatadze, Peter Felten, and Catherine Bovill. 2023. “Using Scenarios to Explore the Complexity of Student-Faculty Partnership”. Teaching and Learning Inquiry 11 (September).