Frequently Asked Questions about SI:

What is SI?

  • SI stands for Supplemental Instruction.  Supplemental Instruction (SI) is an academic assistance program that utilizes peer-assisted study sessions.  The SI Leader attends all class sessions of the course for which he or she conducts SI sessions, and then plans and conducts two study sessions each week.  The student who is hired to be an SI leader must have excellent academic standing and must have made an A in the course for which he or she provides SI.  The SI Leader incorporates into each session methods that actively involve students in processing and learning the material.  Having completed training, an SI Leader is observed and evaluated each semester.  The purpose of SI is to:
    • To increase retention within targeted historically difficult courses
    • To improve student grades in targeted historically difficult courses
    • To increase the graduation rates of students
  •  SI is a “free service” offered to all students in a targeted course.  SI is a non-remedial approach to learning since the program targets high-risk courses rather than high-risk students.  Students with varying levels of academic preparedness and diverse ethnicities participate.  SI is voluntary, and all students are encouraged to attend. 

How is SI scheduled?

  • Every semester 45-55 SI Leaders must be scheduled for two sessions per week in rooms in the BSB and Foster.  Due to the large number of SI leaders and the limited amount of rooms, we must schedule sessions before the beginning of the semester to ensure that all SI Leaders secure rooms for their sessions.  The scheduling staff need sufficient time to schedule the session before sessions can begin.

Why do so many of my SIs overlap?

  • Due to the number of SI leaders (45-55) each semester that have their sessions scheduled in two buildings on campus, there limited on options for times to schedule sessions.  Class lectures and labs are given priority in scheduling, so rooms are only available “after hours.”  SI Leaders must schedule around their own co-curricular commitments, included their evening labs and student organization meetings.  If a student has more than one SI Leader, it is likely that a conflict will occur.  Creating a schedule that accommodates everyone schedule is not possible.

Why doesn’t my SI leader work with the professor more?

  • Professors are encouraged but not required to communicate regularly with their SI Leaders.  The SI Leaders work with their professors, but not for the professor.  Some professors prefer or have the time in their schedule to have significant contact with their assigned SI Leader and others do not.  SI Leaders are trained to be able to lead sessions both with and without professor input.

Why do we have to work in groups?

  • The SI model is based in learning theory and includes group work.  Group work with peers has been proven to be the most effective way for students to learn and retain information.  Research has shown that students who study in on-task groups retain 2.5 times more information than students who study alone.  An SI session provides a safe environment in which to review coursework with peers while having an “expert” on hand to facilitate learning.