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Learning, Unlearning, and Relearning Together: Unmasking Power in a Students as Partners Program using Collaborative Autoethnography

Abstract

We interrogated a students as partners (SaP), co-curricular program that focuses on supporting student learning. To center power and equity in SaP, the program was grounded in social design-based experiment methodology. We considered the manifestation of power and equity beyond higher education, to that of broader socio-political contexts. Collaborative autoethnography (CAE) was used to garner a richer understanding of student-staff experiences of the program. Through CAE, power emerged as central to our collective experiences, and a recognition that power asymmetry in students as partners programs is complex and multi-layered. We found that to address power imbalances in these programs requires considered strategies and intentional designs. Further, CAE, in and of itself, can be a powerful way to foster self-awareness, mutual trust, respect, and the acknowledgement of others in student-staff partnerships. We conclude by recommending the importance of deliberate design for equity and power towards consequential learning and transformational change.

Published: 2021-08-03
Pages:38 to 50
Section:Articles
How to Cite
Alhadad, S. S. J., Vasco, D. ., Williams, J. C. ., Dizon, P. ., Kapnias, R. L. ., Khan, S. B. ., Payne, H. ., Simpson, B. C. ., & Warren, C. D. (2021). Learning, Unlearning, and Relearning Together: Unmasking Power in a Students as Partners Program using Collaborative Autoethnography. Student Success, 12(2), 38-50. https://doi.org/10.5204/ssj.1934

Author Biographies

Griffith University
Australia Australia

Sakinah Alhadad is a Lecturer in Learning Innovation working at the intersection of psychology, higher education, and the learning sciences. She is passionate about educational justice, evidence-informed practice, and research methods. As an immigrant woman of colour in Australia, her professional and personal endeavours are underpinned by equity and social justice.

Griffith University
Australia Australia

Daniela Vasco is a PhD candidate at Griffith University. Her thesis is on applied statistics to education, with particular focus on disadvantaged students and educational testing. Her research interests are in using statistical models to answer complex research questions, in particular in the social and natural sciences.

Griffith University
Australia Australia

Jude Williams is an Adjunct Fellow at Griffith University.  Jude has worked in multiple international education sectors.  Regardless of the country or sector, she has applied learning centred pedagogy to her practice. Jude’s PhD thesis explored the transition of academic staff from teachers in traditional classrooms to facilitators of active learning.

Griffith University
Australia Australia

Pauline Dizon is a Biomedical Science undergraduate at Griffith University. She is involved in medical science research, with an interest in cancer and immunology. Pauline is engaged by various departments in the university to support student learning and retention in her role as Student Mentor. She also facilitates training sessions for future Student Mentors in the university.

Griffith University
Australia Australia

Rachel L. Kapnias is an Honours in Psychology student at Griffith University. She is involved in anxiety research, with an interest in childhood anxiety, prevention programs and early interventions. Rachel has participated in a variety of programs that support student learning in roles such as, Millennium Fellowship Campus Director and Peer Mentor.

Griffith University
Australia Australia

Saira B. Khan is an urban and environmental planning master’s candidate with undergraduate qualifications in law and international business. Her areas of interest are: sustainable and affordable housing for multicultural communities, climate change adaptation, empowerment of women of colour, and the sustainability of postgraduate education in Australia. She has worked in administrative law, property law, governance, and management roles across multiple sectors.

Griffith University
Australia Australia

Hayley Payne is a global development master’s candidate with undergraduate qualifications in communication and international relations. Her areas of interest are the inclusion of youth and women in peacebuilding, education equity, modern slavery and climate justice. She has also worked in research, strategic policy, communication, and community engagement roles across multiple sectors.

Griffith University
Australia Australia

Bronte C. Simpson is an Honours in Design student with undergraduate qualifications in Business and Design. Bronte is passionate about providing assistance and support to people with mental health illnesses and disabilities through the power of design. Her main design practices are: product, interior, fashion and graphic design. Throughout her undergraduate studies Bronte was involved in peer mentoring, collaborative projects and academic events.

Griffith University
Australia Australia

Chantelle D. Warren is a registered psychologist with post-graduate training in clinical and organisational psychology. She is a PhD candidate exploring psychological wellbeing in the workplace, a Learning and Teaching consultant supporting programmatic curriculum design and a clinician in private practice.

Open Access Journal
ISSN 2205-0795