New mentorship program designed to help students in historically difficult courses

20160113-1_Library Renovation__0097The Center for Student Success at SUNY New Paltz will introduce a new Supplemental Instruction pilot program for the fall 2016 semester, in which student leaders will provide informal mentorship to fellow students enrolled in historically difficult courses.

This new offering is just one of a number of new Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS), a set of innovative curricular support models being developed through the Center for Student Success to provide new styles and depths of student-to-student assistance across all academic programs.

“The PASS models are consistent with George D. Kuh’s research on High-Impact Educational Practices, and support and align with institutional goals as reflected in the Strategic Plan,” said Dante Cantú, director of the Center for Student Success. “These programs strengthen our faculty partnerships in support of student learning and provide for an intentional focus on supporting students in historically difficult gateway courses, thereby supporting outcomes in the areas of student persistence, progression and on-time degree completion. Moreover, these new models will provide our students and peer leaders with a dynamic environment where they can develop their skills for college and career.”

Supplemental Instruction is an internationally recognized, evidence-backed model that targets “gateway” courses required for advancement into disciplinary programs and majors, by bringing currently enrolled students together with “SI Leaders” who have already completed the courses. Courses are considered “historically difficult” when they have shown consistently high rates of students earning failing grades or withdrawing.

These SI Leaders complete an intensive, two-day training and ongoing training through the semester in group facilitation techniques, learning methods and problem-solving strategies. This prepares them to facilitate structured, course-specific study sessions with mentees, an approach that has repeatedly been demonstrated to engender academic success for all participating students.

Center for Student Success staff prepared for the rollout of this pilot program at the International Conference on Supplemental Instruction at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in May 2016, and anticipate the development of a certified Supplemental Instruction program at New Paltz in the near future.

For more information on new student support programs at SUNY New Paltz, contact Dante Cantú at or visit the homepage of the Center for Student Success. To view a brief video about Supplemental Instruction, click here.

About the Center for Student Success
The Center for Student Success promotes student learning, academic engagement and timely degree completion through the coordination of tutoring, writing assistance and holistic academic success programs. Through collaborative efforts with faculty, academic departments and student services, the Center for Student Success provides an inclusive, student-oriented learning environment which stimulates academic engagement and the acquisition of knowledge, skills and personal attributes in support of lifelong learning.