DENTON, Texas (UNT) -- UNT's Learning Center was honored with an award for outstanding innovation at the International Conference for Supplemental Instruction at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) on May 25-27. The event took place in Kansas City, where Supplemental Instruction began. The award also included an opportunity for UNT's Learning Center to showcase the partnership between Supplemental Instruction and the Texas Success Initiative.
The UNT Learning Center has 18 years of experience offering academic support to undergrad students who may not meet college requirements, including those not meeting state designated requirements for proving college readiness. Joining with the Texas Success Initiative in the fall of 2015, UNT's SI program has been able to provide students with resources to improve their success in reading, writing and math. The Texas Success Initiative requires that students who are not deemed college ready in reading, writing and math are provided an education plan for their specific needs.
Roxanne Davenport, director for UNT's Learning Center, said SI is an established resource available to all students. The program specifically assists students in becoming college ready at a faster pace.
"The program utilizes student peers for facilitating group study sessions outside of the classroom to enhance content-based knowledge while role-modeling successful student behavior," Davenport said. "Peer learning is helpful so that no student is made to feel stigmatized or labeled as not capable of succeeding in college."
Those study sessions are informal gatherings between interested students in which they can compare notes, discuss curriculum and develop tools from one another. It promotes organization, communication skills and improves comprehension. Students gain support from their peers, in addition to faculty, in their classes.
Supplemental Instruction was developed at the University of Missouri- Kansas City in 1973 as program designed to increase student success and retention where it pertained to courses that were historically seen as difficult. An academic model was implemented for students in undergraduate, graduate and professional school levels. It targeted courses considered as high-risk for students. During UNT's first semester of implementing SI with individuals who were TSI incomplete, 98% of students who attended the required number of SI sessions met their college readiness requirements, as well as avoided remediation. Due to the initial success of this partnership, Supplemental Instruction and TSI will continue to expand and refine their collaboration moving forward.
"I've found SI extremely beneficial in helping me attain and maintain the level of success I've reached as a student, UNT student and SI leader Victor Musasia II said. "In chemistry, I went almost every week and I was sitting at a high A by the end of the semester. Later on in my music theory, SI helped me secure an A in the class while also providing me a place to ask questions and make sure I understood the material."