Southern Arkansas University’s Supplemental Instruction (SI) program is proud to announce that it is now the only one in the state of Arkansas to have achieved the honor of certification by the International Center for Supplemental Instruction at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

“We are striving to achieve a high standard of excellence with our program,” said Sheffield Coulter, SI coordinator at SAU in a press release.

Student SI leaders are valuable as they pass their experience in historically challenging courses along to those who need help academically. Leaders are hand-picked by faculty to help students deal with not only content but develop good study habits and strategies and help them get to know other students. SI leaders are chosen not only because they excelled in difficult courses but often because they took advantage of SI sessions themselves.

SAU

SI sessions are available through SAU Student Support Services, a federally-funded program designed to increase the retention and graduation rates and foster an institutional climate supportive of the success of low-income and first-generation college students and those with disabilities.

Dr. Julie Collins, executive director of the International Center for Supplemental Instruction, said SAU has implemented the core elements of SI to make a positive impact and that its practices uphold the SI model.

“It is an honor for our program to be awarded this recognition,” said Eunice Walker, director of Student Support Services. “This program helps students become successful, independent learners.”

SI has been available to SAU students since 1991. Data shows that students who consistently attend SI earn a higher grade and have a higher GPA upon graduation.

Walker gave special thanks to Coulter, SI leaders, and the SAU community. “They worked diligently to garner this achievement,” she said.

“We are currently the only accredited SI program in the state of Arkansas,” said Coulter, attributing the honor to the hard work of student leaders as well as faculty support.

SI leaders persevered through a shift to online instruction due to COVID-19.

Drew Glover, director of online learning, was a huge asset in helping set up sessions through Blackboard so that online sessions could continue. No sessions were missed during the crisis.

SI programs require attention to detail, time and resources, and a superb student and professional staff. SAU’s SI leaders are engaged in rigorous planning, observed by program leadership, and provided feedback for continual growth.

The decision to become an accredited program was made after SI training in the fall. Changes were made to lesson planning, observations and end-of-term reporting. Faculty support letters were obtained, as well.

“We are excited to have our program certified!” enthused Coulter.

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