Hey Jeffrey,

Hi from San Diego!  Hope all's well up in Portland.

In my experience, from the students' perspective, adding SI to your
learning assistance program is unlikely to decrease tutoring usage; in
fact, a high-quality SI program can *increase* the likelihood that students
will seek tutoring.  At least, this was the case for us at San José State
and seems to also be the case at Southwestern College, where I am now

There are some key considerations, however, from the perspective of your
tutors and SI leaders and the tutor / SI coordinator's perspective.  These
are some quick takes based on what I have observed coordinating the
tutoring program in a learning assistance department that also had SI and
in my current role as both a writing center tutor and SI leader:

*Tutors' / SI Leaders' Perspective*

   - *Natural Limitations.*  Tutoring and SI each have their strengths and
   limitations.  Most notably, a tutor working with students in individual
   sessions cannot help students make friends (with each other) or form
   support groups the way an SI leader can in weekly sessions. (*The
   ability of SI leaders to help students form social groups that will enable
   the students to persist and pass their historically difficult courses is
   the core mission of the SI model.*)  On the other hand, an SI leader is
   dependent on the students helping one another in a group setting, and
   occasionally interjecting their own advice, rather than being able to
   devote sustained attention to a single student for a substantial period of
   time the way that I tutor can.

In other words, when I am working as an SI leader, I have different tools
that I can and can't use to assist students compared to when I am working
as a tutor.  (This can be challenging to accept, because I know that I have
the skill set to help the student, but, due to format and time constraints,
I might not be able to use the tool in that moment.)

*Tutor / SI Coordinators' Perspective*

   - *Hiring.  *You're increasing the number and variety of positions you
   are hiring for and this can impact your hiring pool (especially if it is
   small) and your interview process.

   - *Training.  *While there is some overlap, tutor training and SI
   training needs are distinct, so you are doubling your training demands as

   - *Challenges of Having Staff in Dual Roles.*  This is where it gets the
   stickiest.  I highly recommend, if possible, *not* to hire current
   students as both peer tutors and SI leaders.  If you must do this, it is
   vital to spend a substantial amount of time in training distinguishing
   between the roles and simulating scenarios peer educators will encounter in
   which the lines might be blurred.  It is hard to break the dependency
   cycle, as the SI literature talks about so much, if students see one person
   as fulfilling all of their academic support needs.

   - *Assessment.*  The format of SI makes for clean assessment data; you
   have a built-in intervention group (sections of a course with SI) and
   control group (sections without), making for the types of data
   administrators love to see.  (This is, indeed, another pillar of SI and a
   big reason for its growth as a learning assistance model since Deanna
   Martin created it in 1973.)  Next to this shiny, easy-to-understand data,
   your tutoring program data can look inexact and messy (due to the nature of
   tutoring not being as tidy); so, it is important to consider how you will
   make your tutoring program assessment data more user-friendly in comparison
   to your SI data.

There is a lot more I could say about how best to marry tutoring and SI,
including the third and distinct option of *embedded tutoring*--which is
not the same as SI!  For example, what I've written above doesn't take into
account faculty, staff, and administrators' perspectives, which are also
vital to consider before adding an SI program to your learning assistance
offerings.  I will leave it here for now, however, for the sake of time.  I
am happy to keep the conversation going here or off-list.

Rebecca Tedesco
Southwestern College
CRLA Level 3 Master Tutor
Certified Learning Center Professional - Level 2

On Thu, Feb 20, 2020 at 11:30 AM White, Jeffrey <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Hello colleagues,
> We are considering adding supplemental instruction (SI) at my institution
> to address DFW rates and to support nursing students who need to maintain
> 3.0 GPAs. We’ve only offered tutoring, and I’d like to hear from those of
> you who have added SI to a peer learning assistance program that has
> traditionally been focused on tutoring.
>    - How did SI impact the utilization of tutors in the SI subject areas?
>    How did it impact your tutor budget?
>    - Did SI leader labor come out of your own budget or other department
>    or program budgets?
>    - How did SI impact your non-tutor staffing?
>    - What collaborative partnerships did you develop to be able to
>    introduce SI?
>    - What led the addition of SI?
>    - Who championed the introduction of SI on your campus?
> Please feel free to respond to me directly at [log in to unmask]
> All the best,
> Jeffrey
> Jeffrey White, M.A., M.S.
> Learning Commons Administrator, Shepard Academic Resource Center
> Instructor of German, International Languages and Cultures
> President, Northwest College Reading and Learning Association
> Buckley Center 163, MSC 184
> University of Portland
> 5000 N. Willamette Blvd.
> Portland, Oregon 97203
> T: 503.943.7141  E: [log in to unmask]
> <>
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