Students as partners in a Social Justice learning environment

The Initative Team

Initiative Lead
University College Dublin

Primary Contact
Judy Walsh

Initiative Budget


Initiative Type


Social Justice is a new, interdisciplinary university subject, with two undergraduate programmes at UCD. Student participation is crucial to the programmes’ ethos but is under-developed in practice. This T&L initiative employs the DELTA framework to systematically reflect on and enhance Social Justice teaching and learning practice pertaining to students as partners (SAP). It is structured around the Teaching and Learning Practice, Design of Learning, and Evidence-Based Approach pillars.

The initiative will co-develop curricular partnership resources with student peer researchers over an eleven-month period. It focuses on SAP in two areas: curriculum design and fostering an inclusive learning environment. Our project team comprises all Social Justice faculty, a research assistant, and ten student researchers.

During Phase 1, the research assistant, Head of Subject and Undergraduate Programmes Coordinator, will conduct a literature review; lead research methods training for student researchers; assist students with focus group facilitation; and, conduct a focus group with faculty. Expressions of interest will be sought from Social Justice students to act as peer researchers. Successful applicants will undertake research methods training, equipping them with the knowledge and practical skills required to facilitate a focus group with their fellow students.

The project team will meet on a monthly basis to analyse the evolving evidence base. Across Phase 2, a working group comprising the research assistant, faculty (including senior management), and student representatives, will produce two resource guides. The resource guides will, inter alia, set out recommendations on embedding SAP initiatives in institutional structures at programme and School level.