Maanjiwe nendamowinan where the Institute for the Study of University Pedagogy is housed at UofT Mississauga

ISUP makes significant contributions to upcoming global education conference

Carla DeMarco

Peer-mentoring support. Ways in which to provide high quality feedback to educational leaders. The shifts and the future of hybrid learning. These titles represent just a small sampling of the sessions being led by UofT Mississauga (UTM) scholars at the 12th International Conference on Supplemental Instruction (SI).

Taking place this year June 9-11 at the Westin Harbour Castle in downtown Toronto, UTM-affiliated faculty and staff are giving an unprecedented number of presentations – seven in total – over the course of the three-day hybrid event with participants joining both in-person and virtually. The conference will have educators taking part from around the world, but with a healthy Canadian representation making up roughly one-third of the attendees, to consider developments in SI as an enduring methodology aligned with student success.

“The SI international conference is an essential opportunity for bringing together SI leaders from around the globe,” says Fiona Rawle, Director of the Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre (RGASC) within UTM’s Institute for the Study of University Pedagogy (ISUP).

“The conference also helps to establish the fundamentals for the supplemental instruction community, along with providing us with the opportunity to share and explore concepts and solutions in SI.”

As an example of the presentations, one on June 10th is being led by UTM Professors Liz Coulson and Adriana Grimaldi from the Department of Language Studies on “Innovations in Transformative SI Leadership Training.” This session focuses on the history of EDS325, a course that was introduced in 2018 at UTM and has grown exponentially, and introduces students to the history of SI in higher education.

“This course was a boon for students in education studies who are going on to be teachers,” says Coulson.

“It provides context and the theory of SI and experimental learning in higher education, and helps integrate leadership theory and practice with budding educators. The course provides practical guidance for Facilitated Study Groups [FSGs] to improve their experiences and share information.”

“This is meant to not only produce FSG leaders, but to foster excellent FSG leaders, giving them the tools and the resources they need to succeed as well as the experience,” adds Grimaldi.

One of the other sessions is based on excellence in the field: on June 11th the “SI Award Winner Session: Veteran Supervisor & Leader Award – Panel Discussion of SI at UTM” features Tom Klubi, UTM Learning Strategist at RGASC within ISUP, who was recognized with the Exceptional Veteran SI Supervisor award, and Henna Salim, UTM alumna and RGASC Program Assistant, winner of the Exceptional Veteran SI Leader award.

“Our UTM team, which includes Liz and Adriana, Kerrie Martin [ISUP], and myself, as well as the RGASC program assistants, Henna, Madeleine Oman, Tulip Marawi, and Bianca Alvarenga, hopes that these presentations will provide insights into our efforts over the past several years to enhance the capacity of the SI program at UTM with an additional layer of value,” says Klubi.

“By focusing on the quality of the Leaders’ and Program Assistants’ experience within the program, as well as reframing their activities and roles in terms of a professional development opportunity – or even as a ‘placement’ – we are repurposing their work as study group facilitators and program assistants. We hope that our experiences might be helpful to other SI supervisors attending this conference, who are exploring ways to redesign their programs in order to cope with funding or logistical challenges.”

Overall, the roster of presentations at the conference puts a spotlight on recent innovations in SI but is also a lookback on the progress of the field.

Part of the theme for this year’s conference is a celebration of the “Golden Age of SI:” in 1973, what is now deemed “supplemental instruction” started to take shape via a team at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) led by Deanna Martin, who was then a graduate student. This innovative methodology was informed by best practices and learning theory, and though the SI methods have been refined over the past 50 years, the overall goal remains the same: to ensure student success by combining “what to learn” with “how to learn” and to improve student retention. As with most fields, the pandemic has had an impact on SI and the ways in which education and teaching is implemented and delivered, and so that will also be a highly charged topic of discussion this year along with future directions for the field of SI.

Running concurrently this year with the SI conference is the SI Leader Summit, hosted by UMKC’s International Center for Supplemental Instruction. It will connect SI leaders from around the world for professional development activities, as well as opportunities for networking, sharing, and collaborating. 


The full list of UTM-affiliated presentations includes the following:

  • Going Beyond Lecture Announcements: Social Media Advertising Strategies for SI Leaders presented by Madeleine Oman and Henna Salim (UTM ISUP) on June 9 at 3:30 PM in Queens Quay #2  
  • Innovations in Transformative SI Leadership Training presented by Liz Coulson and Adriana Grimaldi (UTM’s Department of Language Studies) on June 10 at 1:40 PM in Richmond Room
  • Building and Maintaining Sustained Growth for an SI Program with Volunteer Leaders presented by Kerrie Martin, Tulip Marawi and Bianca Alvarenga (UTM ISUP) on June 10 at 2:50 PM in Queens’ Quay #1
  • Session Mapping: Providing High Quality Feedback to SI Leaders in In-Person and Online Sessions presented by Henna Salim and Madeleine Oman (UTM ISUP) on June 10 at 3:50 PM in Queen’s Quay #2  
  • The Great Unscramble: A Panel Discussion on the Future of Hybrid SI in Canada presented by Ashlyne O’Neil (University of Windsor), Kerrie Martin, Tom Klubi (UTM ISUP), Agata Stypka (York University), Navneet Sidhu (University of the Fraser Valley), and Jillian Jaworski (University of Guelph)  on June 11 at 11:30 AM in Yonge Room
  • A Demonstration of Practical Hybrid Training and Mentorship Resources presented by Ashlyne O'Neil (University of Windsor), Navneet Sidhu (University of the Fraser Valley), Kerrie Martin, Tom Klubi, Tulip Marawi, and Bianca Alvarenga (UTM ISUP) on June 11 at 1:40 PM in Queen’s Quay #1
  • SI Award Winner Session: Veteran Supervisor & Leader Award – Panel Discussion of SI at UTM with Tom Klubi and Henna Salim (UTM ISUP) on June 11 at 2:40 PM in Queen’s Quay #2. 

See the full list of presentations and information on the 12th International Conference on Supplemental Instruction website.