In my second semester of college, a trusted professor suggested I apply to participate in a program called Students as Learners and Teachers (SaLT). It 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 some big questions:

  • How do classroom practices reinforce or upend embedded social hierarchies?
  • 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.

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

Academic Blogging

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?


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

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).

Cook-Sather, A., Abbot, S., & Felten, P. (2019). Legitimating reflective writing in SoTL: ‘Dysfunctional Illusions of Rigor’ revisited. Teaching & Learning Inquiry, 7(2).

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.

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

Invited Engagements

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.