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Professor Sue Marcum reflects on hosting SI in her accounting classes


Professor Sue Marcum

Accounting professor Sue Marcum has been affiliated with the Supplemental Instruction program "as long as I can remember. I began teaching at American in 1999 and started with SI then." 

For Professor Marcum, "hosting SI means a relief, not extra work. I set up a folder in blackboard for the student SI leader, who can post in the folder and send e-mails. I give time for a few class announcements." She also meets with the SI leader at the start of the semester to discuss course policies and how she and the leader will communicate during the semester.

The SI sessions, she says, offer several benefits to her students. First, SI offers a smaller venue, which can be a more productive learning environment. Students have more opportunity to ask questions, and may feel more comfortable because they won't take time away from the lecture in class. With accounting, she says, students need to be shown how to solve problems more than once. "I like the idea that leaders may have an alternative explanation," she adds. "Then students can choose which way works best for them. You can reach more students this way. SI adds value of peer language to the class, which is a good supplement."   

"It's great that AU provides this service to students," Marcum says. "They are given a lot of resources they can choose to take advantage of." Accounting is a required Kogod course; not all students plan to go the accounting route, she says. The course content is cumulative, so if students get lost early, it can be hard to catch up. "SI gives students more practice and review. The leader is another resource for students."

"SI is excellent professional experience for leaders," she adds. "In accounting, people need eventually to supervise others and explain clearly--there is skill in helping people to understand something. This skill is a valuable resource in a future in accounting." Over the years, Professor Marcum has recommended many students for the position of SI leader, many of whom are now professionals working in the field.