University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-96
Number of pages26
JournalPhilosophy and Theory in Higher Education
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020


In this article we develop a philosophical understanding of student-staff partnership through a novel interpretation and development of Aristotle’s friendship arguments. In contributing to an emerging critical field of study of student-staff partnership, we begin by explaining the current state of being a student in the neoliberal university. In light of the polylithic changes neo-liberalism impresses on student being and becoming, and how partnerships are proposed paradoxically as both a counterculture and serving this agenda, we develop a typology of partnership that helps those working in, and proposing to work in partnership, to discuss their ethical basis. For Aristotle, “What is worthy of love?” in the relationship, is a salient question. Is it utility? Is it pleasure? Is it virtue and flourishing? In the typology we propose an additional form of partnership—where creativity is a central activity worthy of time, energy, and love. It is reasonable to suggest that student-staff partnerships are likely to remain, if not grow, in the future university, and are likely to have a significant impact on the being and becoming of the student. It is for this reason we develop the typology in order for participants, particularly students, to have clarity in understanding the ethical motivation and purpose of the partnership in the university. We see this clarity as enabling students to see how the partnership will contribute to their notion of the flourishing life.


© 2020 Lewis Stockwell, Karen Smith & Philip A. Woods - - The online edition of this publication is available open access. Except where otherwise noted, content can be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0).

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