University of Iowa

FAQ for Faculty

FAQ for Faculty


What is Supplemental Instruction (SI)?

  • Supplemental Instruction (SI) was created at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) to support students learning by integrating "what to learn" with "how to learn". SI is a non-remedial academic support program that targets high enrollment, historically-challenging courses, in addition to "gateway courses", and not high-risk students. Gateway courses are those that students at the University of Iowa must successfully complete to advance to other courses. Research on gateway courses shows that students who do not successfully complete them are at a greater risk of attrition. UMKC is the home of the International Center for Supplemental Instruction. SI is offered to student at higher education institutions around the world. 

Why SI?

  • Research tells us that active and collaborative learning helps students better understand material covered in class. SI is structured to provide time for students to practice and engage with the material in an interactive and fun way. Due to the structure of SI, studies show that one 50-minutes session is equivalent to students studying on their own for 2 hours!1

Who are the SI Leaders?

  • SI Leaders are undergraduate students at the University of Iowa who have successfully completed the course you are teaching, whether it be by you or another professor. Although they have completed the course prior, they continue to attend your class with the students, take notes, and communicate directly with you to discuss their SI sessions and what they are hearing from students regarding the material.  

What is the role of the SI Leader in my class?

  • SI leaders will attend each class and use what is being covered to plan and facilitate group study sessions outside of class. SI leaders attend class to hear what you are sharing and to determine what to focus their future sessions on. In sessions, SI leaders focus on material that students are finding more challenging and the foundational principles to help ensure student mastery before the next topic or unit.

 What will my partnership with SI look like?

  • Faculty members who partner with our SI program are asked to promote and encourage their students to attend SI throughout the semester and establish communication with the SI leader.

How can I request SI for my class?

  • For more information about offering SI, or other academic support options for your course, contact Stephanie Preschel

[1] Johnson, D. W. (1991). Cooperative Learning: Increasing College Faculty Instructional Productivity. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 4, 1991. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Reports, George Washington University, One Dupont Circle, Suite 630, Washington, DC 20036-1183.