Students as Engaged Partners in Directed Research Courses


  • Jodi Benenson University of Nebraska Omaha
  • Skylar Johnson



collaborative research, students as engaged partners, civic engagement, directed research courses


This report from the field reflects on the authors’ experiences in a directed research course on the topic of youth civic engagement in Canada. A literature review was co-written as part of a directed research course where the instructor was a visiting professor from the United States and the student was an undergraduate student in Canada. The content of this report was gathered during various stages of the directed research course and is informed by literature focused on students as engaged partners in teaching and learning in higher education. Specifically, we reflect on the ways viewing students as engaged partners can leverage their knowledge and lived experiences when engaging in directed research courses, especially when the student and faculty member may be coming from different countries in North America. In addition, we reflect on how designing a directed research course that views students as engaged partners can provide a rich ground for the redistribution of power in higher education and strengthen the quality of research through the co-creation of new knowledge and ideas. 

Author Biographies

Jodi Benenson, University of Nebraska Omaha

(she/her) (corresponding author) is an Associate Professor in the School of Public Administration at the University of Nebraska Omaha and the 2023-24 Fulbright Canada Research Chair in Governance and Public Administration at the Centre on Governance at the University of Ottawa. Her research and teaching interests are in the areas of civic engagement, social policy, nonprofit organizations, and social equity. Email: 

Skylar Johnson

(she/her) is a fourth-year student majoring in Communications and Sociology at the University of Ottawa and a participant in the Fall 2023 Directed Research Course offered through the Centre on Governance. 


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Moore, S. E., Hvenegaard, G. T., & Wesselius, J. C. (2018). The efficacy of directed studies courses as a form of undergraduate research experience: a comparison of instructor and student perspectives on course dynamics. Higher Education, 76(5), 771-788.

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University of Ottawa. (2023). Directed research in social sciences course outline–FSS 4150 [Course handout]. University of Ottawa.




How to Cite

Benenson, J., & Johnson, S. (2024). Students as Engaged Partners in Directed Research Courses . Engaged Scholar Journal: Community-Engaged Research, Teaching, and Learning, 10(1), 25–33.



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