Partnerships for Learning and Belonging in Tertiary Education: A Social Capital Analysis

  • Andrea ChesterEmail author
  • Alexandra Johnston
  • Angela Clarke


Social capital refers to the benefits that accrue from social connections and networks. Most frequently linked with the work of Bourdieu and Putnam, the concept has found expression in the disciplines of sociology, political science and economics. In this chapter, we explore the application of social capital to tertiary education practices. Specifically, we examine the ways in which bonding, bridging and linking social capital can be applied to the common academic practices of student peer mentoring and staff peer observation of teaching. Findings from a range of studies show that the explicit development of trust, reciprocity, information sharing and cooperation in student and staff networks can improve learning experiences and enhance belonging. A social capital analysis of these partnerships suggests that investing in these types of partnerships amongst students and staff offers scalable, sustainable and cost-effective opportunities to strengthen tertiary education.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Chester
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alexandra Johnston
    • 1
  • Angela Clarke
    • 1
  1. 1.School of EducationRMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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