On July 24, 25, and 26, 2013 The Skyline College Learning Center hosted a series of Supplemental Instruction (SI) training workshops for student leaders, faculty, and staff. These trainings covered the key concepts that have made SI successful at other colleges, the roles and responsibilities of student SI leaders, SI faculty, and SI program staff, and some very helpful examples of approaches and materials.

The trainings were led by Janice Levasseur, SI coordinator at Mt. San Jacinto College, and based on the model of SI developed at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC). Twelve faculty members from the Math, English and Biology departments were in attendance, as well as twelve current and prospective student SI Leaders who will be paired with each instructor for fall 2013.

The response from participants was very positive, both faculty and student participants left the training with a solid understanding of SI and the key concepts that guide it.

“I have a much better idea of what SI is, I only knew a few things about it before this training” – faculty participant

“I have a much clearer understanding of my role as an SI leader now than I did before, I know what my job is and what it is not” – returning SI Leader

Nationally, established SI programs aligned with this model have shown improvement of one half to a full letter grade for students who participate – this is significant given that student persistence and success rates have been a challenge to improve throughout higher education in spite of many approaches and efforts.

The goal of Skyline College’s SI program is to significantly improve student completion in “gatekeeper” courses – so called because they often determine the ability of students to complete critical transfer requirements, advance from below college-level to transfer level, or move from ESOL to regular English.

Other key elements of the SI program include peer-to-peer learning and active learning, both of which are proven methods of increasing students’ understanding of course content and key concepts.

SI1  SI Leaders used their imagination for the “Human Machines” exercise


SI Faculty and SI leaders honed their dramatic skills in the Friday session icebreaker exercise “All the World’s a Stage”


SI leaders Jennifer Montanez and Jessica Belluomini led an excellent mock SI session

Article submitted by David Reed, Learning Center Director.