Where Student Engagement Meets Faculty Development: How Student-Faculty Pedagogical Partnership Fosters a Sense of Belonging

Alison Cook-Sather, Peter Felten


‘Belonging’ is widely understood to be important in both student engagement and faculty development. Only recently, however, have these two arenas begun to overlap. In this opinion piece we contend that student-faculty (student-staff) pedagogical partnerships, situated at the intersection of student engagement and academic development, are uniquely positioned to foster belonging for students and academic staff, particularly for those who have traditionally been marginalized in higher education. This enhanced sense of belonging emerges as partners engage iteratively in three dynamic processes: doing meaningful work together, creating spaces and opportunities for exploration and growth, and engaging in regular and ongoing affirmation of all involved. Through these mutually informing processes, partnerships nurture belonging for both students and faculty, fostering a reinforcing cycle of deepening engagement and meaningful development.

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