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SI Educator and Staff FAQ

Professional staff are always available to answer educators or staff questions, receive feedback about students' SI experience, or listen to ideas on how to improve the program. Educators or staff may also request SI for courses where they are currently not offered. You can reach the SI Program staff by sending an e-mail to or go to our team page to find AAH professional staff information

What is SI?

The Supplemental Instruction (SI) program supports students enrolled in courses that have been typically challenging and/or foundational to their majors. The sessions promote students working as a community of learners and active engagement in study skills and strategies to master the content knowledge. Undergraduate students are hired as facilitators of the sessions. Their formal titles are SI Leaders. These students receive an initial 10-hours of training in facilitation techniques and collaborative learning strategies along with weekly follow-up training during the quarter. We regularly invite faculty for which we are supporting their course to our training to observe and understand the program components.

SI Leaders facilitate sessions and have already completed the courses at UC San Diego. All Leaders are trained in collaborative learning techniques, promoting community, and developing a safe and respectful environment for learners. Some SI Leaders are required to attend all lectures each week whereas some Leaders attend lectures one time per week or as needed upon instructor request. Instructors work with SI professional staff to arrive at the best option for lecture attendance. Sessions are held weekly for 80-minutes.

How can I inform my students about the SI Program?

AAH professional staff support a number of ways to assist you in informing your students about participating in SI and the benefits. Visible support of the SI program by the instructor encourages students' participation in this academic support resource as determined by program evaluation.

  • Provide a link on the course web site to the AAH main web page. 
  • Create announcements for instructors to deliver on their course sites, websites, or in lecture slides about the SI program. 
  • Provide an opportunity for the Leader to make an in-class 1-3 minute announcement of their sessions.
  • Inform course TAs about the program and encourage them to make announcements in their discussion sections.
  • Refer students to the program during office/student hours.

Do Course Instructors and SI Facilitators interact during the term?

We respect faculty time, but we do encourage instructors to interact with the Leaders if they wish. Here are some ways that faculty may interact with SI Leaders:

  • Ask the Leader to meet with them and their TAs in their course weekly meetings
  • Meet with the Leader at the beginning of the term to provide an overview of the course
  • Look for messages from SI program staff with program updates
  • Request from SI program staff for Leader feedback
  • Post lecture conversations with the Leader for updates on participating student session takeaways
  • Add Leaders to the course Canvas sites to make SI session announcements

Why do SI Leaders need access to my course website or other online tools?

Leaders are expected to promote small group learning through engaging facilitation. It is important for them to be current with the course content and schedule by having access to the course syllabus and content notes that you may put on your learning management site. This helps the SI Leaders prepare for their sessions. Their session plans are designed to support the lecture material. Leaders gain credibility by ensuring that their sessions are relevant and timely. 

How can SI be requested if it is not currently offered for a course?

To request SI for a course, please e-mail us at The SI Program Staff will evaluate the request and the feasibility of offering additional groups. We often meet one-on-one with the faculty and the Vice-Chair of Undergraduate Education for the department to learn more about the course and the needs for academic support. It is ideal to request SI before the start of the term, but requests will be accepted at any point in the term. While the AAH would like to honor all requests, it may not be possible in all cases. However, we are able to consult on options that would be mutually supportive in place of SI.

What feedback have educators provided about the SI Program?

  • I have had the pleasure of having the support of the SI Leaders inside and outside of my course this half of a year. I have noticed a significant difference in students’ questions; both quantity and quality, as well as a much friendlier atmosphere in the lecture and between the students themselves. -- Physics Instructor
  • To myself and many students, the games and puzzles actually provide a fresh approach to challenging concepts in mathematics and allow students to view mathematics with a more positive outlook. -- Math Instructor
  • I wish all Instructors for all courses that are perceived as difficult by the students were able to get this type (SI) of support — it is extremely beneficial to both me as an Instructor and to the students taking the course. Clearly, it helped students get a higher grade in the course. -- Engineering Instructor

Who facilitates the SI sessions?

SI Leaders are undergraduate students who have successfully completed the course in a previous term who are trained in collaborative learning and facilitation techniques. Their primary responsibility is to help participants work together and learn from each other. Leaders do not teach, tutor, or lecture. Leaders are hired at the beginning of the academic year, or term, as the need arises.

Who should participate in SI?

All students enrolled in the course are eligible to attend SI sessions. Students of all ability levels are encouraged to participate. SI provides a great opportunity to have a set study time each week and the opportunity to work with peers to master course material. However, it may not be a fit for all students. Students should participate if they are interested in working each week with their peers, are willing to actively participate in meetings, and enjoy studying in a small group environment.

SI helps students learn the material in a deeper, more concrete way. Sessions that are effective generate positive energy, encourage active participation, teaches discipline, and requires commitment from participants. These skills are all important criteria for life-long learning. These learning skills are transferrable to other courses and/or content.