Keynote Speaker

Dr Catherine Bovill


Dr Catherine Bovill is Senior Lecturer in Student Engagement at the Institute for Academic Development, University of Edinburgh, and Visiting Fellow (Knowledge Exchange) at the University of Winchester. Cathy is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Member of the UK Teaching Excellence Awards Advisory Panel and an Editorial Board member for Teaching in Higher Education. She was Associate Editor (Europe) for the International Journal for Academic Development from 2013-2016.

She has published and presented widely internationally on student engagement, students as partners and student-staff co-creation of curricula including her co-authored and widely cited book Cook-Sather, Bovill and Felten (2014) Engaging students as partners in learning and teaching: a guide for faculty. She also publishes work on peer observation of teaching and internationalisation of higher education. Cathy holds a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship and was based at Elon University, North Carolina for the 2019-2020 academic year.

This presentation is based on a recent article and new book Cathy has published:

Bovill, C. (2019) Co-creation in learning and teaching: the case for a whole-class approach in higher education. Higher Education.

Bovill, C. (2020) Co-creating learning and teaching: towards relational pedagogy in higher education. Northwich: Critical Publishing.


The case for whole class co-creation in learning and teaching: towards relational teaching

Kuh (2009: 31) argues that in higher education, "most institutions can increase student engagement and success by more consistently using what the research shows are promising policies and effective educational activities and practices...but at too many institutions, only small numbers of students are involved". The growth in co-creation and partnership research and practice over the last five to ten years is encouraging, but has focused predominantly on project-based initiatives involving small groups of students (Bovill 2019 & 2020; Mercer-Mapstone et al 2017; Mercer-Mapstone & Bovill 2019). In this paper, I examine the benefits of whole class co-creation, which has been somewhat overlooked within partnership and co-creation discourse. Whole class co-creation offers the possibility to overcome some of the inclusion challenges of other partnership approaches.

Positive student-teacher relationships and student-student relationships are also associated with a significant range of benefits. I argue that whole class co-creation in learning and teaching both relies on positive relationships, but also contributes to building positive relationships. I will acknowledge some challenges that arise when adopting relational teaching and co-creation, but, I argue that whole class approaches – including relational teaching and co-creation in learning and teaching – are currently under-utilised in one of the commonest places where students and teachers regularly meet, in online and face-to-face classrooms.