University of Sunderland Annual Learning and Teaching Conference

Students as Partners in learning and teaching: The pedagogical case for learning and working as partners

3rd July 2015

Location: St Peters Campus, University of Sunderland

Price: Free

This call asks for contributions to the Annual Learning and Teaching Conference to be held at the University of Sunderland, St Peters Campus on the 3rd July 2015.This year we are exploring “Students as Partners in Learning and Teaching” in Higher Education.


One of the University of Sunderland’s Learning and Teaching Plan aims is to “Promote learning partnerships in which innovative, supportive and challenging practice inspires students to approach their course and careers with curiosity, enthusiasm and creativity”.


According to Healey, Flint and Harrington (2014) engaging students and staff effectively as partners in learning and teaching is arguably one of the most important issues facing Higher Education in the 21st Century. Wider economic factors, policy changes and demographics are influencing the environment where students are often assumed to be passive consumers, it is therefore timely to take stock and explore the nature of partnership working and how it can impact and enhance the experiences of those involved.


The University recognises that students have a voice and already engage in a number of ways. We also acknowledge that ”partnership is essentially a process of engagement, not a product. It is a way of doing things, rather than an outcome itself. All partnership is student engagement but not all student engagement is partnership”. Therefore, in order to explore and share partnership practice the conference is open to staff and students, and invites submissions for a variety of presentations under the following topics:


  • Students as partners in learning, teaching and assessment
  • Relationships and role modelling in learning partnerships
  • Students as partners for securing futures
  • Students as partners in curriculum design and pedagogy
  • Students as partners in research



Session formats


Proposals for workshops, Ignite and poster sessions are invited which address the conference theme and topics. The emphasis could be reflection, exploration, scholarship as well as description of activities and technologies. The aim is that this Learning and Teaching conference will include sessions that involve delegates in active participation, discussion and development and this approach will be actively sought for all workshops, Ignite and poster proposals. Co-created sessions with students are also encouraged.


Workshops (1hour): allow for discussion of topics, but also critique, analysis, development and action planning by and with participants. Sessions can integrate both presentation and discussion.

Ignite (20 minutes): sessions are fast-paced designed to generate awareness and stimulate discussion. Speakers are given a 5-minute slot to present on a specific theme while their PowerPoint presentation automatically advances every 15 seconds, creating a truly energetic and dynamic session. A perfect introduction for first time speakers, yet also great for experienced speakers, the session is designed to provide an engaging platform for speakers to exchange their ideas based around a specific topic. At the end of each session a chair will encourage and facilitate a question and answer session (15minutes). Groups of staff are invited to propose session themes and participants.

Posters are a chance to present project and/ideas in progress. The maximum size of a poster should be A1. Posters will be available for participants to view throughout the conference. Additionally, there will be a timetabled poster session when presenters should be available to discuss the content with conference participants.



Criteria for acceptance of proposals


Each proposal will be reviewed for acceptance at the conference against the following criteria:


  • Active and productive engagement of participants
  • Relevance to the conference title and themes
  • Clarity and coherence of the proposal, including title
  • Contribution to scholarship and evaluation of educational development in further and higher education, reflecting on and informing the future of educational development
  • Appropriateness of proposal structure and specified timings in relation to session type (or poster)
  • Likely value of session/poster to the participants



Submitting your proposal


Proposals should be submitted electronically to Academic Development  using the proposal form , by 10th May 2015 at 5pm. It is normal practice to accept only one contribution per individual so as to provide the opportunity for as many people to contribute as possible. It is a requirement that all presenters register as conference delegates for the whole event.