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CSUF Helps Lead the Way to Student Success

California State University Summer eAcademy Showcases ‘Proven’ Courses

July 30, 2013

Martin V. Bonsangue

Martin V. Bonsangue, professor of mathematics, who has been involved with the supplemental instruction program since 2008.

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Cal State Fullerton courses in mathematics and organic chemistry, and the faculty members who teach them, are being showcased as "proven" successes for the California State University's effort to boost student success and graduation rates and shrink the achievement gap.

The courses were chosen, in part, as a result of CSUF's Supplemental Instruction, a program of peer-led instruction in which students are achieving higher grades and passing rigorous gateway courses, said Martin V. Bonsangue, professor of mathematics and the 2011 recipient of the Outstanding Professor Award. He has been involved with the Supplemental Instruction (SI) program since 2008.

The courses are being taught in eAcademy summer institutes at six campuses, including Fullerton, for CSU faculty members. CSUF is hosting its session beginning July 31. 

Philip Janowicz, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, is teaching the organic chemistry course, and Bonsangue is working with a team of CSUF faculty members in the Mathematics Department in teaching college algebra, calculus, pre-calculus and business math.

The faculty members are: Todd CadwalladerOlsker, assistant professor of mathematics, and Ashley Thune-Aguayo, Jolene Fleming and Kathy Lewis, all lecturers. Thune-Aguayo and Fleming are former SI student leaders.

In addition to the two-day academies, lead faculty members will serve as mentors and hold weekly virtual meetings through the fall and spring with CSU faculty members who are adopting their courses. The program includes online discussions, webinars, and other professional and academic support services to foster faculty success.

Janowicz and Bonsangue are eager to share their best practices that support student academic success. Janowicz uses technology, including five-minute YouTube videos, interactive online homework with instant answer-specific feedback and Internet resources to enhance learning to help his students understand the challenging concepts of organic chemistry.

"It's like a flipped classroom; students can watch the videos and when they come into class, we work on problems. This way, they come to class prepared," Janowicz said.

For the math courses, technology is also used to engage students and enhance learning. Students have access to Web-based materials, and class instructors and SI peer leaders offer Web-based office hours and tutorial support.

These practices, combined with SI, result in higher grades and increased confidence, which enable students to progress in science, technology, engineering and math courses, explained Janowicz, who has directed the SI program in chemistry since 2010.

"There's evidence of success and effectiveness that the Supplemental Instruction program is moving the success rate in the gateway courses from 50 percent to 80 percent for those students who participate in SI," added Bonsangue.

By: Debra Cano Ramos, 657-278-4027

Tags:  Academics & Research