UNG to host first regional Supplemental Instruction conference
In December 2018, the University of North Georgia (UNG) became the second higher education institution in the state to become an Accredited Supplemental Instruction (SI) Program. This month, UNG will digitally host the inaugural Southeastern Supplemental Instruction Conference.
“There are no SI conferences in this region, but there is a variety of SI focused conferences in other regions,” said Emily Cook, director of Supplemental Instruction at UNG. “Since we are now one of three accredited programs in Georgia, we decided to rally our partners and host a virtual SI conference.”
SI is an internationally recognized academic success program that uses a collaborative group setting to help students through difficult courses. SI provides regularly scheduled, weekly review sessions led by a facilitator, who is a student who successfully completed the course.
The Southeastern Supplemental Instruction Conference will be Sept. 18-19 via Zoom. Students, faculty and professionals may register online through UNG’s SI webpage. Registration costs $15 for students and $25 for faculty and professionals. Registration closes at 5 p.m. Sept. 17. Students may submit a scholarship proposal if they have a financial need, Cook said.
The two-day conference will feature keynote speakers, formal presentations during breakout sessions, roundtable discussions, and question-and-answer panels. Breakout sessions will last about 45 minutes while discussions will be 30 minutes.
Cook said the University of Missouri-Kansas City, home to the International Center for Supplemental Instruction, will lead three breakout sessions.
“Schools that want to become accredited need to attend those,” she said. “Faculty and students should attend, because they will discuss the innovative pedagogy for SI. It will talk about what SI is, how it is provided in the virtual environment, and how schools can raise the bar of their student services overall.”
Increasing students’ skills to help them succeed is SI’s goal. With this mindset, UNG decided its students should organize and coordinate the conference with the theme “Focus on the Future.”
“We wanted the conference to be similar to the Student Leadership Conference that UNG’s Student Involvement puts on, but we wanted it specifically for SI programs around the area,” said Emma Anderson, who is one of the senior mentors with the SI program.
Students will be the focus of Friday’s activities from 4-7 p.m. The student-only sessions will include a student keynote address and preconference activities, including a discussion on collaboration in the learning environment with UNG College of Education faculty members.
“They will have interactive and community-building sessions,” Cook said. “It will be a chance for only students to strengthen partnerships among their peers.”
Cheyenne Chester, a senior pursuing a degree in middle grades education with a focus in math and history and a SI senior mentor, hopes to learn how to improve UNG’s own SI team and share its accomplishments.
“I am excited to show off the team that has shaped me into the leader I am, as well as give back to the community that has lifted me up for so many semesters,” she said. “I truly love Supplemental Instruction and all it stands for, so I hope those attending will feel some of that love even through a screen.”
Faculty and professionals can join the virtual conference Saturday, which will run from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The day will feature keynote speaker Crystal Kiekel, director of the Center for Academic Success at Los Angeles Pierce College.
“She will focus on the virtual learning aspect and how to improve student equity and success overall,” Cook said. “She will bring in three student leaders who can relate to our students and their current environment in which they are living, guiding peers and learning.”
For more information about the conference, visit the conference webpage.
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