Academic journal article Research & Teaching in Developmental Education

The Benefits of SI Leadership after Graduation

Academic journal article Research & Teaching in Developmental Education

The Benefits of SI Leadership after Graduation

Article excerpt


The benefits of Supplemental Instruction (SI) and subsequent clone programs have been well documented in many professional journals in terms of increased in retention and academic performance above expectations (Blanc, DeBuhr & Martin, 1983; Burmeister, 1996; Congos & Schoeps, 1993; Congos, Schoeps & Langsam, 1997; Hodges. & White. 2001; Kenny, 1989; Lundeberg, 1990; Martin, Blanc, DeBuhr, Alderman, Garland, & Lewis, 1983; National Center for Supplemental Instruction, 1997). Anecdotal reporting, descriptive statistics, and inferential statistical research support most of this promising documentation. However, the benefits of SI leadership to undergraduate SI leaders after graduation have not been heralded thus far but the potential has not gone unnoticed. Former SI leaders were surveyed on the benefits of the SI leadership experience after graduation. The instrument used to gather this information was purposely left open-ended to allow for freer expression of opinions without the limiting effects of forced, guided, or channeled responses. Former SI leader responses have been grouped for easier analysis as categories revealed themselves. The responses contain a variety of glowing comments as well as some unexpected benefits.

As experienced SI practitioners, we have focused on establishing and administering SI programs to deliver the best possible service to students. Many SI administrators barely have time to perform the responsibilities essential to a healthy SI program let alone have time to conduct a research study. But occasionally, ideas lead to new research opportunities in the SI field that do not demand large amounts of time. One of those ideas led to this research.

In small bits of time during the workweek and evening and weekends at home, we developed a simple survey for gathering the views of SI leaders on what they see as the benefits of SI leadership after graduation. While the limited resources prevent a long-term study, the information gathered herein does provide a sketch of a myriad of benefits from SI programs beyond those to students and institutions via articles in professional journals.

The Survey

We began this whole idea for this research with a series of 6 questions:

1. Are there benefits to SI leaders after graduation?

2. If so, what are they?

3. How can we ascertain what those benefits are?

4. Would we be able to gather enough data to draw any reliable conclusions?

5. Could we find an organization or publisher interested in including this information in a journal?

6. How could we disseminate the information to college and university administrators who may see value in training undergraduate students in leadership skills?

7. How could we disseminate our findings to benefit our colleagues in SI who are looking for support to promote the expansion of SI programs and to those who may wish to establish SI new programs?

The Instrument

We felt that asking former SI leaders their views, with as open a field as possible for expressing their views would be an effective means for gathering their perceptions in the manner that they choose to present them. Surveys with forced-choice options risk contaminating responses with the limits of our expectations, biases, and brainstorming choices as we formatted questions and a listing of possible responses. Therefore, the questions and statements on the survey were aimed at minimizing our influence on responses. We sought to limit our input to through open-ended questions and statements with the goal of allowing as much freedom for respondents as possible.

The survey consists of 2 main statements and follow-up prompting allowing the former Sl leader the freedom to expand their responses as much as they wish. The first statement was "Please list up to 10 qualities, skills, attributes, knowledge, etc. that you received from SI leadership that have benefited you after graduation. …

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