WSU Vancouver launches Supplemental Instruction space

Vancouver, Wash.—WSU Vancouver opened a dedicated Supplemental Instruction learning space in January. Supplemental Instruction offers peer-led review sessions for students in historically difficult classes—as indicated by a high rate of D or F grades and withdrawals. It’s free and open to any student who wants to better understand the course material and improve their grades.

Open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Classroom Building, Room 130, the spring schedule supports learners in History 105, Chemistry 105 and Chemistry 106. SI leaders run the study sessions. These are trained students who have previously taken the course and have a track record for success.

SI leader Rawan Tanous supports students in Chemistry 105. “Because it’s student-led, I think SI is less intimidating to some students than a professor’s office hours,” she said. “I recently took the class, and I have the perspective of not knowing the content.”

The peer-led study sessions cover readings, compare notes taken in class, predict test questions and share ideas for developing effective learning, critical thinking and study strategies.

“Over the years, WSU Vancouver has tracked the success of students making use of supplemental instruction opportunities, and those students exhibit a solid track record of success in narrowing equity gaps in courses and improving persistence in a course,” said Thabiti Lewis, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs.

Emma Gayman is a junior taking prerequisites for vet tech school. She said she comes to Supplemental Instruction to get a different way of explaining problems, subjects and topics than what she gets in the classroom.

“I like the space,” said Dante Diaz, a third-year student studying psychology. “It’s a quiet, professional atmosphere that motivates me to stay on top of my homework.”

This spring, Supplemental Instruction is offering another layer of student support through Workshops, including “Finding Secondary Sources,” “Moving from Idea to Thesis to Final Draft” and “Prepping for Midterms and Finals.”

According to Lewis, more faculty members have shown interest in adding SI leaders to their courses, and the program is expected to grow.

The Supplemental Instruction space came together thanks to the cooperation of Academic Affairs, Facility Services, IT and Student Affairs and Enrollment. Much of the equipment in the space is repurposed from other areas on campus. Domanic Vanthom, vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment, helped secure funding for additional equipment. The Supplemental Instruction space supports WSU Vancouver Strategic Plan Goal 2: Student Success.

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