Working with students

What is student partnership?

At Oxford Brookes, our chosen definition for student-staff partnership is “a collaborative, reciprocal process through which all participants have the opportunity to contribute equally, although not necessarily in the same ways, to curricular or pedagogical conceptualization, decision making, implementation, investigation, or analysis” (Cook-Sather, Bovill, Felten, 2014).

Types of partnership

Within Brookes, there are two ways in which we encourage students and staff to work in partnership.


“Classroom” is used to describe an activity which all students would encounter within their studies, within the curriculum. It may take place in lectures, seminars, academic advising or any other setting in which they find their studies. In this form of partnership, everyone present is asked to participate and provide real-time feedback.

The advantage of this type of partnership is that it is inclusive, as long as everyone feels able to contribute. It does not require any additional resource or time, so should be accessible to all involved. The disadvantage to this type of partnership is that it is less in-depth than the project approach, given the other demands on staff and student time within the curriculum. 


Broadly speaking, this is a type of partnership that is extra-curricular: it is not of direct relevance to a student’s studies and as such students must be recruited, trained and remunerated appropriately. The projects would aim to investigate and provide insight on a particular topic, most commonly associated with teaching and learning.

The advantage of this type of partnership is the rich insight it aims to gather: by providing resources for the project, students and staff are allowed to take their inquiries further than typically possible in the curriculum. The disadvantage of this approach is that, by nature, it is resource intensive. It is simply not possible for all students and staff to be involved. It also relies on time commitment outside of the normal load, which may be inaccessible for some.

Read more about the Principles of Partnership.

How to get started

Embedding partnership in your curriculum

The easiest way to get involved in student partnership is to embed activities within your curriculum.

Not sure where to start? Use the Student Partnership Activity Finder tool to identify activities that will fit your purpose and the time you have available.

View a full list of Student Partnership Activities.

Working with students during programme design

If you are engaging in a Validation or Revalidation process, please contact OCAED ( to speak with us about working with partners during programme design.

Working with students on a project

Please contact OCAED ( to speak with us about employing students as partners.