Relational Pedagogy: Cathy Bovill Visits Georgetown on 1/27!

When the first day of class comes around, you’ve reflected on your course goals and structure, gathered your syllabus together, shared materials in Canvas, and prepared your first day of class presentation. How do you then establish a relationship with your students? How do you talk with them on the first day? How do you set the tone?

In Cathy Bovill’s latest work, she examines these questions as part of an approach to “relational pedagogy” built on years of research on student-faculty partnerships, starting with her co-authorship of Engaging Students as Partners in Learning and Teaching: A Guide for Faculty. Partnerships between students and faculty are defined as a “greater collaboration between students and [faculty] in recognising the added value of bringing student and staff perspectives together to enhance research and practice” (foreword to Mercer-Mapstone & Marie, 2019). It might be common practice for faculty to ask students for feedback on their course or else rely on course evaluations; it is yet another practice to partner intentionally with students to design courses or to ask them to act as consultants on programs. This type of partnership necessitates trust, reciprocity, and a shared responsibility to ground teaching and learning in relevant, meaningful experiences. In other words, a relationship needs to be forged in order to change current practice.

CNDLS is pleased to welcome Dr. Bovill from University of Edinburgh to campus on Monday, January 27 at 11:00am in McShain Lounge in McCarthy Hall to discuss partnerships and relational pedagogy with faculty, staff, and students. She will make the case for co-creation of learning experiences, examine her typology for partnerships, and discuss her approaches to relational pedagogy.


Bovill, C. (2019). A co-creation of learning and teaching typology: What kind of co-creation are you planning or doing?. International Journal for Students As Partners, 3(2), 91-98.

Cook-Sather, A., Bovill, C., & Felten, P. (2014). Engaging students as partners in learning and teaching: A guide for faculty. John Wiley & Sons.

Mercer-Mapstone, L., & Marie, J. (2019). Practical Guide: Scaling up student-staff partnerships in higher education. Institute for Academic Development: University of Edinburgh.