SI: A Backstage Pass to Class

Have you ever had an SI? The Supplemental Instruction (SI) Program is a free academic support service offered to currently enrolled undergraduate students at EMU through the Holman Success Center. SI works directly with numerous undergrad classes on campus. Each class for which SI is offered is supported by a trained SI Leader who facilitates weekly collaborative study sessions.

Professor Rae Labadie knows all about SI, as she has been using SIs in her Anatomy and physiology classes for years. “Originally, I inherited them, in a way”, says Labadie, “We had a huge group of students all taking Bio 251/252. Close to 300! That was too many for one professor, so the classes were split. The other professor used Sis, and it just seemed natural to keep using them when I had my own class.”

Not only is the SI program useful for students, but professors as well. Labadie notes, “It is huge to have someone else listening. I’ve taught the class dozens of times, and it is so useful every year. These are students who have made the journey, and they know what to expect.” The SI program comes highly recommended from everyone involved.

Many students seem wary about just getting rehashed the same material. This isn’t the case, according to Labadie, “They do not just repeat what I said in lecture. These students know what it takes to succeed in some of the more intensive classes offered on campus. They will take some of the basic information and present it in different ways. It is a collaborative study, you get out of it what you put in. ” Everyone has been there, you’re road blocked, trying to grasp a new concept. No matter how good your notes or how many times you’ve read the textbook, you just aren’t getting it. That is where the SI comes in. They are great to ask questions, and gain a new perspective. “For example,” Labadie remembers “I had an SI teach the jobs of the cell as if it were set up like a mafia crime family. What an unforgettable way to remember the different roles from the Godfather on down. A fun way to learn can sometimes be the best way to learn”

The SI program is free, but still many students don’t take advantage of it. “If I could offer just one piece of advice, is to try it, at least once. Just go and be open about it. Sure it’s a hour of your already busy life, but it can absolutely be worth it if it helps you grab the material like it does for so many of the students that actually try it out. The first thing I ask when someone comes to me during office hours with questions is ‘Did you go to SI?’”

The SI program is run through the Holman Success Center, and is  usually  in high risk classes such as gateway classes and some of the larger general education classes with high attrition rates. As the name implies, HSC wants you to succeed. If you are interested in finding out more about SI, attending sessions, or becoming an SI leader, contact either your course professor or the Holman Center in the basement of Halle Library. HSC will be having its SI recruitment campaign starting March 9 through March 19 for fall semester. It can be an excellent opportunity to gain some great experience and make some money doing it!



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