In my second semester of college, a professor suggested I apply to participate in a program called Students as Learners and Teachers (SaLT). This experience completely changed my life. I partnered with a professor over the course of a year, thinking deeply with her about classroom participation, access, and the process of teaching and learning. I quickly became consumed by the questions:

How do classroom practices reinforce or upend embedded social hierarchies?

Two women smiling in a selfie, with a group of people standing behind them working collaboratively at posters on a wall.
Sophia (left) with friend and colleague, Lucy Mercer-Mapstone while facilitating a workshop at the Summer Institute for Students as Partners (2017).

How do students’ identities shift and develop as a result of these classroom practices?

What can professors and students do together in teaching and learning to transform the university into a more equitable and inclusive space?

Since then, I’ve been searching for answers through partnership. Alternatively called student-faculty partnership, student-staff partnership, and students as partners, this field of work is broadly based around the principles of shared expertise, trust, and reciprocity. My colleagues’ recent editorial sums up some of my thoughts about the language of this field, and the work below sums up my published thinking and writing on the topic.

For more informal thinking on partnership, follow this tag on my blog.


The Power of Partnership

The Power of Partnership celebrates the nuance and depth of student-faculty partnerships in higher education and illustrates the many ways that partnership—the equitable collaboration among students, staff, and faculty in support of teaching and learning—has the potential to transform lives and institutions.


Abbot, S. (2023). Student-instructor partnership for curricular justice. In T. Lowe (Ed.), Advancing Student Engagement in Higher Education: Reflection, Critique, and Challenge. Routledge.

Abbot, S. (2021). The role of ignorance in student-faculty partnerships. International Journal for Students as Partners, 5(2).

Abbot, S. & Cook-Sather, A. (2020). The productive potential of pedagogical disagreements in classroom-focused student-staff partnerships. Higher Education Research & Development, 39(7).

Felten, P., Abbot, S., Kirkwood, J., Long, A., Lubicz-Nawrocka, T., Mercer-Mapstone, L.,Verwoord, R. (2019). Reimagining the place of students in academic development. International Journal of Academic Development, 24(2), 192-203.

Doktor, S., Bach, D., Abbot, S., Hardin, J. (2019). At the threshold: A case study of a partnership between a student organization and an educational development center. International Journal for Students as Partners, 3(1).

Abbot, S. (2017). Review of the book: Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom, by hooks, b. International Journal for Students as Partners. 1(2)

Mercer-Mapstone, L., Dvorakova, L.S., Matthews, K.E., Abbot, S., Cheng, B., Felten, P., Knorr, K., Marquis, E., Shammas, R., & Swaim, K. (2017). A systematic literature review of students as partners in higher education. International Journal for Students as Partners. 1(1)

Cook-Sather, A. & Abbot, S. (2016). Translating partnerships: How faculty-student collaboration in explorations of teaching and learning can create transformed perceptions, terms, and selves. Teaching & Learning Inquiry, 4(2).

A digital story on gender in partnership, produced for a doctoral course on digital storytelling, Spring 2021.

Academic Blogging

November 4, 2020: Engaging Students as Partners in Teaching and Learning: A retrospective (with Cameron Shirley, M.A.)

September 7, 2020 Ask your students: The value of student input on online course design (with Geneva Stein, Ph.D.)

May 26, 2020: The Power of Partnership, Section Three: Growing Partnership

May 12, 2020: The Power of Partnership, Section Two: The Interstices

April 23, 2020: The Power of Partnership, Section One: A Series of Partnership Acts

March 30, 2020: Generative Disagreements in Student-Faculty Partnerships

February 28, 2020: Power of Partnership Origins: “Now you know the rest of the story.”

December 4, 2019: Pedagogical Partnerships Interview with Authors

December 6, 2018: Students as Partners at ISSOTL 2018 (with Ketevan Kupatadze, Ph.D.)

November 28, 2018: A Continuum of Research: Assistants, Partners, and Undergraduate Researchers

September 27, 2018: What happens if disagreement in partnership is unevenly experienced?

A recording of Dr. Mercer-Mapstone and my keynote at NStEP Empowerment and Partnership in Student Engagement Conference, 2020.

Invited Engagements

April 2023: Uncomfortable Feelings: Embracing Circles and Being an Amateur in Partnership, Mount Royal & University of Calgary Virtual SoTL Speaker Series, Calgary, Canada. (Abbot)

February 2022: Reimagining the Place of Students in Academic Development, POD Scholarly Reads, USA. (Felten & Abbot)

July 2021: Power & Empowerment: Partnerships for Gender Equity in Higher Education, Gender & Education Association Virtual Seminar Series, United Kingdom. (Abbot)

June 2021: How do we engage students as co-researchers in storytelling and dissemination efforts? Summer Institute for Equity in the Academic Experience, Washington, D.C., USA. (Abbot, Sible, Lopez, Yen, & McGowan)

April 2021: Students as Partners in Assessment Panel, Advance HE Webinar, United Kingdom. (Bovill, Usman, Woolmer, Abbot, & Bunting)

November 2020: Provocative Partnership: Interrogating Power in Student Engagement through Student-Staff Partnership, NStEP Empowerment and Partnership in Student Engagement Conference, Cork, Ireland (Mercer-Mapstone & Abbot)

October 2019: Student-Faculty Partnerships for an Equitable and Inclusive SoTL, ROTL Summit, Kennesaw State University (Abbot)

August 2019: Engaging Students as Partners in a New Higher Education, St. Mary’s College of Maryland (Abbot)

May 2019: Learning Through Teaching: Students as Partners, Brown University (Felten & Abbot)

May 2018: Student-Faculty Partnerships for Equity in Teaching and Learning, UT Austin Faculty Innovation Center (Abbot)

July 2017: Student-Staff Partnership in Course Design, Wellington University’s Center for Academic Development (formerly Victoria University) (Abbot)

February 2017: Students as Partners in Redesigning Foundational Courses, University of Michigan’s Center for Research in Learning and Teaching (Felten & Abbot)

This interview describes my writing process with Dr. Desika Narayanan– my co-author for Chapter 12 in The Power of Partnership.