Structured Learning Assistance (SLA)

Program Overview 

Structured Learning Assistance (SLA) is a proactive academic support program working in collaboration with faculty to provide academic support to identified “gateway” courses with which students traditionally struggle or could use additional support to reach educational objectives.

SLA provides required supplemental support sessions with selected paired courses. All students attend the sessions until the Faculty Partner deems the students are making satisfactory progress in the course, in essence providing students and faculty a safety net. 

finish in four logoThe pilot of seven SLA courses is set for Fall 2021 as a part of a larger, inter-departmental Initiative, Finish in Four, with the goal of assisting students to reach degree completion in four years.

 

The courses and Faculty Partners identified for the Fall 2021 SLA Pilot are listed in the table below:

 

  Course

  MATH 1314 – College Algebra

  MATH 1442 – Statistics for Life

  CHEM 1411 – General Chemistry I

  BIOL 1406– Biology I

  MATH 2413 – Calculus I

  POLS 2306 – State and Local Government

  NURS 3342 - Pharmacology

 

Please review the linked document for more details.

For Faculty

Structured Learning Assistance (SLA)

As Faculty, you may be aware CASA has provided Supplemental Instruction (SI) for nearly 20 years to faculty who have requested and for “barrier” or “gateway” courses with which students may struggle for a variety of reasons.  CASA will still provide our standard SI sessions, but we are piloting Structured Learning Assistance (SLA), as part of the University’s Finish in 4 Initiative. 

SLA is very similar to SI, but with a few differences detailed below:

  • SLA is paired in the catalogue listing with the course for which it is offered
  • SLA leaders we are seeking, with faculty preference, will work even more closely with the students and the faculty to whom they are assigned in more of a TA-like capacity
  • SLA is a required component of the paired course, as listed in the course syllabus. Various options include, but are not limited to:
    • Required weekly attendance to at least one SLA session
    • Required attendance after failure to meet a minimum grade on first exam/assignment
    • Required attendance after failure to turn in a designated number of assignments, whether one or more
    • Required attendance as a percentage of Attendance and Participation grade 
    • And any other configuration which require most at-risk students to get additional, supplemental help

As mentioned, SLA is similar to SI.  The SLA leader works very closely with faculty, prepares lesson plans for faculty review, holds several SLA sessions per week outside of class time, SLA leaders hold office hours for one-on-one assistance, and SLA leaders will receive extensive training.  

Faculty Partner Agreement Form.

For questions about Fall 2021 SLA or more information about SLA in Spring 2022, please contact Ms. Leticia Villarreal or Dr. Noelle Ballmer.