Faculty and Staff

Working at the Academic Success Center at Clemson University, Clemson Sc

Information for Faculty

Peer-Assisted Learning is a new name for the Supplemental Instruction (SI) program. Only the name has changed. The role of the leaders and the sessions remain unchanged.

  • How should students use tutoring?

    Tutoring is an active-learning activity that can help students develop the skills, strategies, and mindset they need to master a subject. If they find the content in a course challenging, our trained peer tutors can help. Free tutoring is offered for over 100 undergraduate courses. Tutoring provides students with the opportunity to discuss difficult course concepts, ask questions, and work practice problems with a trained peer tutor who has successfully completed the tutor training course. Tutoring is offered in many disciplines including:

    • Chemistry
    • Economics
    • Engineering
    • Mathematics
    • Statistics
    • Computer science
    • Physics
    • Biology
  • What are tutors trained to do?

    Tutoring can help students learn the skills and strategies to think more deeply about course content. After a tutoring session, a student should have a greater understanding of the course material and more confidence to complete future assignments and tests. Tutors will:

    • help students work through difficult concepts
    • ask guiding questions to lead students toward solving problems on their own
    • suggest learning and study strategies.
  • How can students make the most of a tutoring session?

    To maximize their time at a tutoring session, students should come prepared by bringing anything they want to discuss, except for graded work that has not yet submitted, including:

    • class notes,
    • assigned reading,
    • practice problems/tests distributed by instructors or TAs,
    • and questions.

    Tutors cannot and will not assist with any graded assignments that have not yet been submitted for a grade. To build mastery of the course content right away, students should take advantage of tutoring early and often, rather than waiting until the night before a test or quiz. Showing up early to sessions ensures they will have enough time to ask questions and get assistance. Attending sessions early in the semester is more effective as sessions the night before a test may be more crowded and less helpful. Attending sessions often throughout the semester can help students stay on top of course concepts and assignments.

  • What is Peer-Assisted Learning (PAL)?

    Peer-Assisted Learning (PAL) is a free, peer-led support program for students in historically challenging undergraduate courses. The goals of PAL are to give students strategies for mastering course content and to help them become more confident, independent learners. PAL leaders

  • Who are the PAL leaders?

    PAL leaders serve as a resource to support your students’ learning. Their purpose is not to teach material or provide answers, but to:

    • plan collaborative study sessions on material you present in the lecture
    • use activities to enable students to learn from each other
    • ensure study sessions are productive and effective
  • How are PAL leaders trained?

    PAL leaders undergo extensive and ongoing training, which includes:

    • over ten hours of new-leader training before classes begin
    • one credit-hour of training during their first semester as a leader
    • mentoring from returning leaders
    • biweekly community of practice meetings
  • How can I involve the PAL leader in class?

    Because it is important that PAL leaders are perceived as peers, they should not proctor exams, grade, or teach. However, you can help establish the PAL leader’s credibility with your students by encouraging students to attend PAL sessions. When interacting with your PAL leader in class, we ask that you:

    • verify his or her attendance
    • permit an introduction on the first day of class
    • encourage your leader to make in-class announcements about sessions at least once a week


    If you plan to cancel class and have a class of 50 or fewer students, you are welcome to ask your PAL leader to use the class time as a PAL session.

  • How can I incorporate the PAL program outside of class?

    We ask that you ensure productive collaboration with your PAL leader by meeting weekly with him or her, preferably for thirty minutes, to do the following:

    • verify attendance in your lectures
    • clarify your expectations during class
    • ask to see content for sessions
    • talk about what students are learning and what is confusing
    • discuss preferred ways to address any upcoming difficult material


    You can also recommend promising students to be PAL leaders. Finally, please communicate with the assistant PAL coordinator whenever you have questions or concerns about a leader. You can contact BJ Wilson, assistant PAL coordinator.

  • PAL Homework Policy Form

    Download the PAL Homework Policy Form here.


For questions regarding PAL or course support, contact Laurel Whisler, lwhisle@clemson.edu, Assistant Director/Coordinator of Course Support Programs, or call 864-656-6214.