Lyon College has a tool to help students achieve academic success this semester: supplemental instruction, a free academic assistance program that uses peer-assisted study sessions.
Dr. Amy Schmidt, a 2005 graduate of Lyon, is the supervisor of the program. She describes SI as a “learning enhancement program that’s different from traditional tutoring.”
How it works
Rather than focusing on high-risk students, SI focuses on high-risk courses, those with a high number of D’s, F’s and W’s (withdrawals) such as English, math, Spanish, biology and chemistry.
Professors identified first-year courses that historically have been difficult for students. These courses offer an additional weekly meeting run by students (SI Leaders) who have taken these courses and done well in them. They attend the regular class sessions and consult regularly with the professors teaching the courses, letting them know when students are not grasping some lecture material.
SI leaders are not teaching assistants like those you would find in a university.
SI sessions are optional unless faculty members require them. They are open to all students who want to improve their grade, regardless of their standing in class.
The SI program is intended to improve students’ critical thinking skills, improve their study skills and ultimately their academic performance. It also increases retention within historically difficult courses, to improve student grades in those targeted courses and to increase the graduation rates of students.
The SI leaders are facilitators, not tutors, and they are chosen based upon recommendations by faculty. They attend the targeted class and then lead the peer study group for that course. The study sessions will be one and a half hours in length and are held in the classroom or nearby.
The SI leaders also have office hours and be available to help students between study sessions.