STARKVILLE, Miss.—A key Mississippi State program that helps students achieve classroom success is being recognized for excellence and reaccredited for a three-year period.
One of less than 50 accredited Supplemental Instruction programs in the U.S. and one of only two in the Southeastern Conference, MSU’s SI program is free for students and designed to help them succeed in historically difficult courses. It is directed by MSU’s Center for Student Success and The Learning Center.
The SI model involves a student who has recently and successfully completed a course and agrees to facilitate study sessions outside of class time in a comfortable setting. The voluntary sessions are open to all students and are anonymous, so faculty members are not aware of which pupils are participating. The program is a non-remedial approach in which students work collaboratively to improve retention, discuss complex topics and prepare for tests. At MSU, SI leaders are student employees who have earned an A in a previous semester, preferably under the same instructor, and want to help others excel.
“SI programs require attention to detail, dedicated time and resources, and a superb student and professional staff who are committed to student learning, and MSU’s program has demonstrated this through the rigorous accreditation renewal process,” said Julie Collins, executive director of the International Center for Supplemental Instruction at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
She said data consistently supports the effectiveness of the SI model and shows that students who regularly attend SI sessions earn a half to a full letter grade higher than students who do not attend. Participants also receive fewer D’s and F’s and withdraw from courses less frequently.
MSU courses offering SI include biology, calculus, chemistry, general psychology, modern U.S. history, among others. The complete schedule is updated each semester and may be found online at www.si.msstate.edu/schedule.
MSU was noted by reaccreditation reviewers as having excellent participation rates, expanding to multiple departments on campus, and rapidly transitioning to online SI sessions when made necessary due to the pandemic.
“It is through the concerted effort of students, current and former SI leaders and mentors, faculty, department heads, deans and our administration that the SI program has been reaccredited,” said Clay Armstrong, executive director of The Learning Center at MSU. “The Learning Center and the Center for Student Success are truly appreciative of everyone who has been involved with the SI program.”
Armstrong said he also gives a lot of credit to Chelsey Vincent, an instructor and coordinator who provides leadership for the program and shows “genuine care” for students. Not only does she provide training the SI leaders need to carry out their responsibilities, but she also creates opportunities for additional professional development to enhance their preparation for careers after graduation.
“Chelsey sets the tone, and all the SI student leaders are extremely professional and well trained. They take great pride in their work,” Armstrong said.
“It has become a point of pride among these student leaders that they pass along their high standards of excellence to the next group from year to year. It’s very impressive because they all have taken ownership of the SI program,” he said.
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.