FHU's Center for Academic Success Offers Students Supplemental Instruction
The Center for Academic Success at Freed-Hardeman University has introduced a new program to students this year. The Supplemental Instruction program, or SI, is an academic assistance program designed to increase student performance and retention. Developed by Dr. Deanna Martin in 1973, the SI program targets “historically difficult academic subjects.”
Students attend SI sessions on a volunteer basis, and sessions are comprised of students with varying abilities. Three sessions are conducted each week throughout the semester and are classified as either a test preparation session or study session. Students gain valuable information during these sessions as they learn study strategies, note-taking skills, graphic organization, questioning techniques and vocabulary.
SI sessions are organized by student facilitators who have taken and demonstrated competence in the course they are instructing. SI facilitators attend all class sessions, take notes and read all assigned material along with their peers.
Seth Blackwell is the SI facilitator for chemistry, while Jenny Hatfield is the SI leader for anatomy and physiology. Hatfield thought that being an SI leader would be a good job to have, saying that during the sessions, “I typically have made a worksheet for them to work on that correlates with the notes. I will then ask the students the questions and try to have them explain the process to me. I will then go over the process with them, drawing on the board if that will help and trying to give examples of the how the process works.”
Students who participate in the SI program typically earn higher subject grades and incur fewer withdrawals than those who do not participate in SI. Data also indicates that these students have a higher re-enrollment and graduation rates.
Ginger Young directs the Center for Academic Success, and Connie Pritchard is the coordinator for the learning center. Pritchard attended a conference at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, in July to receive training to become an SI supervisor; colleges from all over the world were represented at the conference.
Pritchard explains that the SI program targets the subject instead of the student. She states, “Our goal is to help the student become an independent learner.” Young adds, “The idea is that the students facilitate their own learning sessions.” Although chemistry and anatomy and physiology are currently the only subjects in which instruction is offered, Pritchard hopes to expand the program in the future.
The Center for Academic Success also offers free peer tutoring and tutoring labs. Other members of the staff include Lana Pirtle, developmental math coordinator, and Nan Raskopf, developmental English coordinator.