LSU Senior Hunter Chapman Wins International Award for Supplemental Instruction
BATON ROUGE – Senior biology major and supplemental instruction, or SI, leader Hunter Chapman competed with SI leaders from all over the globe to garner one the nation’s top awards in supplemental instruction. Chapman, besting SI leaders from Australia, Canada, Sweden, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States, will receive the International Award for Supplemental Instruction during the 7th International Conference on Supplemental Instruction in San Diego, Calif., May 30 through June 1.
SI leaders help students navigate historically difficult courses such as physics, chemistry, biology and accounting by leading weekly study sessions for students who want to improve their understanding of the course material.
“Hunter’s assistance as a supplemental instruction leader made it possible for me to manage nearly 750 students each semester,” said Elzbieta Cook, general chemistry instructor. “The resolve to do well by a large portion of these students came from the positive energy and wonderful learning environment that Hunter provided in his SI sessions.”
Chapman, a native of Monroe, La., was exposed to the program when he began attending SI sessions in organic chemistry.
“The SI leader for my organic class was so helpful and such a positive influence that I was motivated to pursue becoming an SI leader,” said Chapman.
After completing the Organic I SI session, Chapman went to Susan Saale, LSU SI coordinator, to inquire about teaching Organic I or General Chemistry 1201. Three semesters and more than 1,500 students later, Saale and Cook, along with Assistant Vice Chancellor Saundra McGuire; Center for Academic Success, or CAS, Operations Manager Melissa Brocato; and other LSU SI leaders nominated Chapman for the international supplemental instruction award.
“SI leaders get students involved in the coursework. We don’t re-teach the material from class, but reiterate key points from the lecture and work out problems associated with the material,” said Chapman. “This strategy helps to hone in on the more important topics of the course.”
Chapman will share some of his effective teaching and learning strategies during a presentation at the International SI Conference in San Diego.
“SI sessions are a tremendous help to students. The students can form study groups and develop effective learning strategies for current and future courses,” said Chapman. “The sessions are especially helpful for students needing a little help making the transition from high school to college course work.”
Despite the numerous accolades that he has received for his services to the SI program, LSU’s top SI leader does not consider this award an individual achievement, but feels that the recognition is a reflection of the quality people working in the University’s Center for Academic Success.
“It really has a greater effect on me because of the reward of seeing students learning and accomplishing the goals they have set for themselves,” Chapman said. “I’m so proud and privileged to work with these students. But also, SI has opened many doors for me in terms of the people I’ve met and the opportunities I have had because of the program. And it is the great people I’ve worked for and with that I will remember most about my experience with SI at LSU.”
Chapman attended and graduated as valedictorian from River Oaks School, where he was also student body president. After graduating from LSU in biological sciences in May, he will move to Memphis, Tenn., to attend optometry school at Southern College of Optometry, and plans to open his own practice after graduating. His experience as a SI leader has led him to love teaching, which he hopes to also do at some point in his career.
About the Center for Academic Success, http://cas.lsu.edu
As the university’s central learning center, the CAS enhances the learning and teaching experience at LSU by empowering individuals with effective, transferable strategies and resources. CAS offers a variety of academic support include tutoring, individual consultations and learning strategy workshops. The SI program is provided as a collaboration of the CAS and the colleges at LSU to provide students with the best educational experience possible and helps students to achieve at their highest intellectual capacity.
About Supplemental Instruction, http://www.umkc.edu/cad/si/index.shtml#
SI is an academic assistance program that utilizes peer-assisted study sessions. SI sessions are regularly scheduled, informal review sessions in which students compare notes, discuss readings, develop organizational tools, and predict test items. Students learn how to integrate course content and study skills while working together. The sessions are facilitated by SI leaders, students who have previously done well in the course and who attend all class lectures, take notes and act as model students.
SI is a free service offered to all students in a targeted course. SI is a non-remedial approach to learning as the program targets high-risk courses rather than high-risk students. All students are encouraged to attend SI sessions, as it is a voluntary program. Students with varying levels of academic preparedness and diverse ethnicities participate. There is no remedial stigma attached to SI, since the program targets high-risk courses rather than high-risk students. The purpose of SI is to increase retention within targeted historically difficult courses; to improve student grades in targeted historically difficult courses; and to increase the graduation rates of students.