Additional instruction not used by students

Jeff Russ

Sophomore nursing major Stephanie Cooper attended her first supplemental instruction session for her structure and function class Wednesday.

“I’m so busy in the nursing program, and I don’t have time to attend.” she said.

Many students in classes with supplemental instruction are not taking advantage of the opportunity to get the extra help, said Diane Munson, Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Studies. And Munson isn’t sure why.

One possible explanation is the ability to find the time to attend these free study sessions. According to numerous student sources, time is a factor in many people’s decision not to attend. Freshman pre-nursing major Jenni Williams attends the supplemental instruction for her structure and function class, but said she knows people in class who do not attend because they cannot fit it into their schedules. Williams said her grades in the class have improved because of the extra help.

“I’m getting an A in the class because of the supplemental instruction,” Williams said.

Supplemental instruction is a national program from the Academic Success Center that offers extra instruction to students. The program is offered to students in classes who have a D, F or withdrawal rate of at least 30 percent. The instructors are students who have taken the class and received an A or B and attend the class along with the students. Student participation in supplemental instruction is voluntary.

In Courtney Roberts’ Fundamentals of Chemistry supplemental instruction class, only three or four people attend the instruction. Roberts, a junior biochemistry major, said last semester only five or six people attended the session she teaches. No one showed up to her supplemental instruction class yesterday.

But she said the students who do attend her class have seen their grades improve.

“Last year there were girls in one class that came once or twice a week and they got A’s in the class.”

She said another student showed up with a bad grade and worked it up with supplemental instruction.

“One kid showed up with a D-plus in the class,” she said, “but he attended the session and got an A in the class.”

According to the supplemental instruction Web site,, students who attend supplemental instruction get higher grades in the class. In chemistry classes, (Fundamentals of Chemistry, Introduction to Organic Chemistry and General Chemistry I), students received .46 higher GPA in the class. In economics classes, students received .36 higher GPA in the Principles of Microeconomics and Macroeconomics.

In psychology classes, students who did not attend supplemental instruction classes received an average 2.76 in class, but students who attended four or more classes averaged a 3.44 GPA in the class.

Some people think the instructors help pick up where professors leave off.

“The instructor is really good,” sophomore nursing major Jessica Felton said. “Our teacher speaks a different language.”

Felton attends supplemental instruction for her structure and function class.

Roberts said she gets more people in her class right before and after grades and tests come out. She also said she tries to eliminate the problem of time.

“I try to make the times good for everyone, but people are more motivated around test time,” she said.

Munson said most students attending are doing OK but want to do better. She said she knows people are struggling but they don’t look for help and should not take it for granted if they need help.

“Could we accommodate more? Absolutely,” she said. “Do we want more? Absolutely.”

Contact Student Recreation and Wellness Center reporter Jeff Russ at [email protected].