Four years ago, the Arts & Science Program collaborated with McMaster’s MacPherson Institute (then known as MIIETL) to create an innovative “Student Partners Program” (SPP), through which McMaster students, staff, and faculty could work together on projects that would enhance teaching and learning and contribute to the development of pedagogical scholarship. While the program has expanded considerably since that time, Arts & Science continues to be a vital part of the initiative, with more than 60 Artsci students having participated thus far. These students have partnered with faculty and staff to design/re-design courses, conduct teaching and learning research, and develop pedagogical resources. Many have had their work published or presented at local, national, or international conferences. For more information about Artsci-MacPherson Institute student partners and a complete listing of the completed and ongoing projects and publications, click here.
The active involvement of Artsci students, faculty, and alumni in developing and supporting student-faculty partnerships was again in clear view in May 2017, when the MacPherson Institute hosted its 2nd annual International Summer Institute for Students as Partners in Learning and Teaching. This 4-day event, which had been conceptualized by Artsci student Christine Black alongside Drs. Beth Marquis and Mick Healey the year prior, saw students, faculty, and staff from 10 countries come together to develop or enhance their own teaching and learning partnership projects. Rafaella Shammas, an Artsci student (and now, along with Christine, recent graduate) who has been part of the SPP since its inception, co-led one component of the institute, working alongside an international team of facilitators from Canada, Australia, the US, and the UK. Rafaella was joined on the facilitation team by Sabrina Kirby, an Artsci alum and longstanding participant in the SPP, who is currently completing a graduate degree in Information Science at the University of Toronto.
Artsci students, faculty, and alumni were also to be found amongst the Summer Institute participants: a team comprised of Program Director Dr. Jean Wilson, level IV students Eamon Colvin and Mia Kibel, and recent graduates Alice Cavanagh and Sabrina Sibbald worked together to develop a plan for new experiential learning programming. Their project builds on a study conducted by Dr. Wilson and a different team of Arts & Science students, Rachel Brain, Erik Brown, Leila Gaind, Kaila Radan, and Julia Redmond (Class of 2015), who first presented their research at a Conference on The Culture of Study Abroad in Halifax, NS, and subsequently revised their paper, “Interdisciplinary Study Abroad as Experiential Learning,” for publication in Comparative and International Education (2016). The 2017 Summer Institute team’s initiative, which focuses on the intersections between place and education, will bring together Artsci students who have studied abroad with those who have not, along with international students currently on exchange at McMaster. The exemplary contributions made by this entire group offer a clear example of the exciting collaborative work unfolding within the Arts & Science community.
The Summer Institute also saw the launch of the first issue of The International Journal for Students as Partners, a new, peer-reviewed journal focusing on teaching and learning partnerships in higher education. This journal, which is published by McMaster University Library Press, is co-edited by teams of faculty and students in Australia, Canada, the US, and the UK. Varun Puri, a recent Artsci graduate who has been part of the SPP since 2013, and Dr. Beth Marquis, an Artsci faculty member who also oversees the SPP, are the inaugural Canadian co-editors. Visit https://mulpress.mcmaster.ca/ijsap/issue/view/306 to read an editorial written by Varun, Beth, and their colleagues on the editorial team, as well as a range of other articles on student-faculty partnership—including a reflective essay written by Rafaella, Sabrina, and Anita Acai about their experiences co-facilitating at the 2016 Summer Institute. Congratulations to everyone involved in this exciting new venture!