Submitted on Monday, 11/16/2020, at 5:19 PM

In a post for the Islamic Law Blog, Assistant Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought Mona Oraby writes about participating in the Students as Partners Faculty Learning Community, hosted by Amherst’s Center for Teaching and Learning. Through this pilot program, each faculty participant chose a student partner to provide feedback on the professor’s teaching of a particular course.

“I chose to collaborate with Sophia Friedman [’21], one of my departmental advisees who has taken two of my courses,” Oraby writes. The advisee became an advisor regarding the professor’s Spring 2020 “Islamic Constitutionalism” course. “It was by working with her that I realized more fully the importance of soliciting and incorporating student feedback on how we teach, not just what we teach—as we teach. By mid-semester Sophia and I had a shared understanding of the classroom environment and the learning styles of students enrolled in the course. We developed a range of strategies for different students that would encourage each one to contribute more actively and substantively to classroom discussion.”

Oraby describes how this collaboration continued even after COVID-19 necessitated a shift to teaching the course remotely. She discusses how the pandemic and the summer’s political upheaval surrounding the killing of George Floyd both underscore the urgent need for adaptability in the quest for accessible and equitable learning environments.