Brad Brondsema, CASA seeks improved grades with new program

By Gus Bode

New Supplemental Instruction aids students in tough classes

Factoid:For more information about ASA Support Services, contact Beverly Shelton at 453-8870.

Ryan Humphreys stood up, paused, and slowly made his way to the blackboard with a determined look on his face.


“If you break them down, they’re not as intimidating as they seem,” said Terry Siegrist, a sophomore in aviation management from Park Forest.

Siegrist was helping Humphreys, a sophomore in electronic systems technology from Elkville, with a word problem.

That’s just one of the many topics covered in his Math 125 supplemental instruction class. Siegrist is one of three SIUC students volunteering as a teacher in CASA’s new program.

Known as supplemental instruction, the program is designed to aid students in notoriously difficult courses in the college, said Beverly Shelton, the coordinator.

“The main idea behind the operation is knowing the students can succeed,” she said. “Sometimes students need certain attention in different areas. With this program, they can get that step-by-step attention.”

Shelton said that while professors do their best to help students, sometimes the class size prevents pupils from getting the extra aid they may need.

Matthew Hayford, a sophomore in aviation management from Murphysboro, said math was always one of his shortfalls academically and that supplemental instruction has helped him succeed.


“It helps me tremendously – I can associate with Terry and he can associate with us,” he said. “I would recommend it to everybody; it’s a great program.”

Shelton said that about 30 percent of students taking Math 125 received D’s or F’s in the course in the fall of 1998. This past spring, the number dropped to 15 percent.

Shelton said that while it is unknown whether the program has had a direct impact on those percentages, she has seen fewer withdrawals from students in courses that offer supplemental instruction.

This semester there are only three supplemental instructors, a number Shelton would like to see increase. She hopes to get a total of eight teaching study groups.

“Right now some of our instructors are teaching two classes, it would help to add a few more,” she said.

Shelton said she sees the program growing in the future and more students benefiting from the advantage of having one on one instruction.

“We’re planning on adding more leaders, we’re hoping to see some new faces walk in,” she said.

Reporter Brad Brondsema can be reached at [email protected]