CSUF News Service

Supplemental Instruction Program to Receive International Recognition

 

Learning by Leading

Supplemental Instruction Senior Leader Nick Minyon will be receiving this year’s Outstanding SI Mentor Award at the International Conference on Supplemental Instruction.

The graduating business administration-economics and entertainment and tourism management major was approached about becoming a SI leader by his history teacher following his completion of two world civilizations courses — both required for a bachelor of arts degree in history.

“He knew I had a passion, even though it was not my major,” explains Minyon, who continues to serve as a leader for the class, as well as a senior leader for the Department of History. In addition to his leadership for the world civilization classes, he supervises the other leaders in the department, running pre-semester training programs and leading weekly meetings. “I see people start to understand the subject, putting things together and am thrilled that I had a direct role in their success.

“SI is truly about students gaining an understanding of the material by working with other students and not just with a leader,” he says of the program. “I think that’s what makes it truly special.”

But it’s not just what he has done for others but what he has learned himself. He says there is much that he will be able to utilize in his future business career, including being a leader, presenting material and training others, developing plans and setting goals for the team and himself.

“I have been lucky to be a SI Senior Leader for two years. To see my work recognized at an international conference is just beyond anything I could am imagined. I’m so grateful for this experience.”

Minyon will begin an internship with Disney following graduation.

A campus program that helps students successfully complete historically difficult courses is being recognized for not only meeting its core mission but increasing retention and graduation rates.

Cal State Fullerton's Supplemental Instruction Program, an academic assistance program that provides weekly, peer-led group study sessions for students in key gateway, bottleneck or historically difficult courses across 15 departments and five colleges will be honored May 25 with the 2018 Outstanding SI Program Award during the International Conference on Supplemental Instruction in Seattle, Washington.

Begun in 2007, the program initially focused on STEM courses and majors. Since then, it has grown to include coursework and areas of study from business to the humanities and kinesiology. This year, more than 330 course sections have or are being supported by SI and approximately 20,000 students have access to SI-supported courses.

It has received National Science Foundation and Department of Education funding and been recognized by the California State University as a Center for Excellence. It also has been named a Certified Supplemental Instruction Program by the International Center for Supplemental Instruction at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

"Our program is recognized for our commitment to excellence in providing a large-scale, quality SI program, and the impact we have been able to make on student learning and development," says Trista O'Connell, assistant director of the program.  "It is an experience that affects all it touches: students, faculty, staff and administrators."

And the program works: data shows that students who participate in the program pass the gateway courses at a rate of 83 percent, compared with 76 percent of those who do not take part in the program. In chemistry classes, the rate is higher: 85 percent completion rate vs. 76 percent for non-SI participants, says O’Connell.

What makes it the program succeed is the collaboration between faculty, staff and administrators and the strong, positive working relationship between the divisions of academic and student affairs, O'Connell notes. "A unique component of the program here is the position and role of SI faculty liaison. These are faculty members who lead the groups of SI leaders. They are responsible for coordinating and leading weekly meetings with the leaders, which aid in the further development of the leaders."

What also is responsible for the program's success is the active participation of its 120-130 SI leaders — students that work with a specific course section and professor for the semester. "They attend nearly all of the course lectures, serve as model students, facilitate weekly SI study sessions, conduct peer observations and attend weekly leader meetings.

"Throughout their service these student leaders provide support and mentorship to their peers while gaining experience in leadership, organization and teaching," O'Connell explains.

"These students truly make the program a success by their diligent efforts with their peers," says O'Connell. "And there is plenty of growth as they move from the first tier, the SI internship program, to the Senior Leadership Program. Their experiences truly aid many leaders in their academic and professional futures."

"The SI Program at CSUF is a team effort across the campus," says O'Connell. "It is through collaboration and communication that all voices are heard, and the needs of students, departments and greater campus community are met."

 

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