supplemental instruction (SI)

Supplemental Instruction (SI) refers to organized study sessions that are led by a qualified and trained facilitator (SI Leader) and offered in conjunction with a specific course. SI sessions are held three times each week outside of class for 60 minutes. Attendance is voluntary and students can attend as often as they like. SI leaders plan activities that allow students to collaborate, share notes, develop study skills, prepare for exams, and apply course concepts using sample problems and exercises.

Online and In-Person SI

Some SI sessions are in-person this quarter, while other sessions will take place on Zoom. Students enrolled in a designated SI course have been added to a SI Canvas page that includes Zoom links and session information. If you are enrolled in one of these courses and are having difficulty accessing the SI Canvas page, please email

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What is Supplemental Instruction (SI)?

SI refers to organized study groups that are led by a facilitator (SI Leader) and are offered in conjunction with specific courses. SI targets historically difficult courses (courses with high withdrawal and failure rates) rather than high-risk students. SI sessions are held three times each week outside of regular class time and generally focus on the most recent class session(s). Attendance is voluntary and students can attend as often as they like and at any point during the quarter. Sessions emphasize peer-to-peer collaboration and allow students to share notes, discuss course concepts, develop study skills, and prepare for exams.

Who are the SI Leaders and what do they do?

SI Leaders are students who are knowledgeable about the SI subject area and have previously completed the course with a B (3.0) or better. They are recommended for the position by faculty and complete an intensive two day training program before beginning in this role. SI Leaders receive regular guidance and feedback from the SI Supervisor(s). Leaders attend all class sessions so they know exactly what information is covered each day, how concepts are explained in class, and they hear student questions. SI Leaders determine which concepts or problems the SI sessions will focus on and develop activities that will help students better understand this information.

What kinds of activities are used in SI sessions?

Activities touch on a variety of learning styles and approaches (auditory, visual, written, independent, small group, etc.) and emphasize effective strategies for studying course materials. For example, students may work in small groups to define terms or solve problems, play Jeopardy-style games that cover course content, or brainstorm possible exam questions. SI Leaders focus the sessions on particularly difficult concepts or problems discussed in class, and all activities emphasize peer-to-peer interaction. The SI Leader does not lecture or reteach.

What are the benefits of SI?

Studies show that students who attend SI are more engaged in class sessions and earn higher overall course grades than those who do not attend. SI sessions also focus on developing effective study habits, so students gain skills that can help them throughout their academic careers.

How is SI Different From Traditional Tutoring?

Traditional Tutoring

  • Students receive one-on-one help from a tutor
  • Tutoring sessions focus on student's immediate questions or concerns. Tutors do not "plan" sessions.
  • Tutors may reteach course content or information
  • Tutoring takes place as needed during the Math and Writing Center hours of operation
  • Tutors have content area knowledge, but are not familiar with what occurs in a student's class on a day-to-day basis
  • Tutors do not work with a student's instructor

Supplemental Instruction

  • Students work alongside peers in SI leader facilitated group study sessions
  • SI Leaders plan activities for SI Sessions and designate (with some flexibility) which topics will be covered, focusing on particularly difficult concepts or problems from recent class sessions
  • SI Leaders do no lecture or reteach
  • SI sessions are scheduled in advance for fifty minute blocks of time and take place three times per week
  • Because SI Leaders attend all class sessions, they have firsthand knowledge of what is covered day-to-day in a student's class in addition to content knowledge
  • SI Leaders receive guidance regarding course content and expectations from a student's instructor

Requesting Disability Accommodation

If a student would like to request that any branch of tutoring services provide an accommodation due to a disability, they should work directly with Disability Student Services (Student Accessibility Services) to complete the accommodation application paperwork. Information about this process is available on the Student Accessibility Services webpage. Once this step has been completed, tutoring services will work with Student Accessibility Services to determine a reasonable accommodation for the student. Accommodations are generally made on a quarter-by-quarter and class-by-class basis. This means that most arrangements pertain only to a specific class and quarter.

Please note that tutoring services cannot work directly with students to make accommodations as we are not qualified to evaluate individual disabilities. To ensure that student requests are handled in a manner that is informed, consistent, and in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), accommodation requests must come to us directly from the Student Accessibility Services office.

Become a SI Leader

Selection Process

To be considered for a SI leader positions, prospective applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Enrolled in at least 6 credits at Cascadia College or the University of Washington for the quarter they will serve as SI Leader
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 for all college coursework
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 in SI discipline coursework
  • Completion of SI course with a 3.0 or above. Applicants can apply while currently enrolled in their intended SI course, but a job offer would be contingent upon their completion of the course with a 3.0 or better before the position begins.

The SI leader selection process generally starts 4-8 week before the quarter begins. Prospective SI leaders are often recommended by faculty who have taught the SI course, but any student who meets the minimum requirements may apply. Interested applicants should review the job description in its entirety. Required application materials are listed at the bottom of the job description. If questions remain after reviewing these materials, contact SI Coordinator Sarah Tsai at

Training Requirements: New SI leaders are required to complete an intensive two day training session before beginning this position. Trainings will be scheduled prior to each quarter that SI will take place. Those who do not complete this training are not eligible to work as an SI Leader.

Time Commitment: SI leaders work 10-12 hours each week during the regular quarter:

  • 4 hours/week attending their SI class
  • 3 hours/week of SI sessions
  • 3 hours/week of planning time for SI sessions
  • 0-2 hours/week meeting with the SI faculty member or SI supervisor and/or attending SI leader

Hours may fall below 10 hours during exam weeks or weeks when classes have been cancelled.

How to Apply

Supplemental Instruction Job Description

Supplemental Instruction Leader Application

You will notice in the job description that a reference is required. We ask that recommendation writers address the following in their letter:

  1. The applicant’s academic potential in their proposed SI area. In your experience with the applicant, what is their knowledge and skill level in this area?
  2. The applicant’s ability to work with peers in the classroom. Do they collaborate well with others in a group setting? Do they demonstrate leadership potential?

Cascadia faculty can submit a formal letter or send an informal email to Sarah Tsai at Non Cascadia faculty should submit a formal letter.