SI for Faculty
What is the Supplemental Instruction (SI) Program?
The University Learning Center (ULC) works in close collaboration with faculty and various academic departments at Cal State Fullerton. Supplemental Instruction is an academic assistance program which provides weekly, peer-led group study sessions for students taking historically difficult courses– those with low pass and/or high withdrawal rates. SI is attached to a subject or course to provide students with a systematic and disciplined approach for processing the subject material assigned by the professor.
SI sessions are led by a SI leader who is an exceptional student and has already mastered the course material; the SI leader has been trained to facilitate group sessions wherein students can meet to improve their understanding of course material, review and discuss important concepts, develop study strategies and prepare for exams. The goal of SI is to create independent learners; and the SI leader is the link between the actual class and SI session; the Leader provides two or three study sessions a week during which course readings, content, and material are brought together with effective learning strategies in a collaborative learning environment.
In SI, students connect what to learn with how to learn. Students gain the ability to synthesize ideas and formulate questions regarding course content and material and, ultimately, take power over their own learning. Supplemental instruction goes beyond "group tutoring" as it is a learning enhancement program to help students learn better in traditionally difficult courses. SI is provided for all students who want to improve their understanding of course material and improve their grades; it is not just for those students who are struggling.
Objectives of SI
• Increase student skills in comprehension, analysis, critical thinking, and problem solving.
• Integrate review of course content with study skills and learning strategies.
• Increase re-enrollment and persistence of participating students.
What is the Role of the SI Leader?
The SI leaders are peer tutors who function as "processors" of course material. Their role is not to re-lecture, re-teach, "spoon feed," or give students the answers, but rather they are trained to facilitate group sessions that follow class lectures. The professor first delivers course content and material; the SI leader then helps students process that information. SI leaders bring structure to the SI session and keep students on task. Moreover, they act as model students by exhibiting successful learning behavior and strategies. They attend class punctually and regularly, and are attentive and take notes while sitting in on class lectures. Prior to conducting SI sessions, SI leaders, themselves, must have taken and received high grades for the same courses. Additionally, they are required to undergo SI training at the beginning of and throughout the course of the semester, during which they gain an understanding of teaching and learning styles and strategies.
Is SI a Remedial Program?
No. SI is not remedial for following reasons:
• SI targets high-risk courses rather than high-risk students.
• All students enrolled in SI-supported courses are invited and encouraged to attend – not just those who are struggling.
• SI starts with the first day of classes and continues to the end of the term.
• Studies show that students of all academic and learning abilities and levels benefit from participating in SI sessions and earn on average a half to full grade higher than those who do not participate.
Why was My Class Selected for SI?
SI targets historically difficult subjects. In other words, this subject contains content that students consider to be challenging. SI is designed to support faculty teaching and is assigned to a subject because of what is being taught, not because of the manner in which it is being taught.
What Will I be Required to Do?
SI is not intended to create additional work for faculty. The faculty member is asked to recommend as potential SL leaders several undergraduate students who have recently been successful in the course. Upon selection of one of these students the faculty member is asked to support SI by maintaining a working relationship with the student leader throughout the semester.
You can support SI by granting time for occasional in-class announcements and be supportive of the program by encouraging students to take advantage of SI. Faculty should avoid the suggestion that only those who do poorly will benefit.
Additionally, faculty members are asked, if possible, to send the grades after each class test and at the conclusion of the course. (Institutional approval has been given to collect this data and students' rights to privacy regarding this information will be fully protected.) This information enables us to determine to what extent students who regularly attend the SI sessions are benefiting from the sessions. At the end of the semester, a full report will be provided to the faculty member.
All SI Leaders are required to sign a confidentiality statement and understand and accept the responsibility to preserve the confidentiality of privileged information.
What Should I Expect for the SI Leader?
The SI leader will:
• Attend all class meetings
• Maintain a professional attitude about matters such as class standards, grades, and student complaints.
• Discourage students from attending SI as a substitute for class meetings.
• Share SI materials with the cooperating faculty member before use, if possible.
• Provide feedback to the cooperating faculty member if requested to do so.
What Should I Expect from the SI Program?
The ULC will:
• Place SI leaders only in courses with the approval of the cooperating faculty member.
• Train all SI leaders according to established guidelines and standards set forth by the University of Missouri, Kansas City.
• Monitor the activities and presentations of SI leaders for as long as necessary by attending class with them, helping plan sessions and supervising their performance.
• Provide supplies, training, in-service experiences and consultations for SI leaders.
What are Faculty Members Doing?
Here are some things that faculty members have done in thepast to help encourage students to attend SI sessions:
• Including information on SI in their course syllabi
• Posting announcements on BlackBoard about SI sessions
• Adding their SI leaders as an administrator on BlackBoard, so that they can connect with students
• Awarding extra credit for attendance at SI sessions
• Announcing SI results and encouraging students to attend sessions
I am Interested in Incorporating SI into My Class. Who Should I contact?
If you are interested in learning more about the SI Program at Cal State Fullerton, and about incorporating SI into your department, course or program, please contact:
Trista O'Connell at the University Learning Center: firstname.lastname@example.org or 657-278-8353.