brian cornet

Photo of Brian Cornet

By Samantha Rathbun

Students of Cape Cod Community College (4Cs) often encounter a class that they find more difficult than they thought it would be. Instead of dropping the class, there’s an alternative option. Supplementary instructors are peer tutors, specifically selected to tutor for a designated class. Their meetings are open for anyone to attend and can be incredibly helpful for students looking to improve their grades.

Christine Cogswell, the STEM Supplemental Instruction Coordinator, oversees the supplemental instruction program on campus.

“The Supplemental Instruction Program is a program that targets the tough courses rather than struggling students.” explained Cogswell. “We hire a student, or SI Leader, who has previously done well, B+ or better, in the target course and has been recommended by a faculty member who teaches the course.”

If a student is skilled in a certain class and is willing to help their peers better their education, they can become a supplemental instructor.

“Supplemental instructors have an opportunity to make a real difference by sharing their knowledge and study skills to students who are in the same place they were in a few semesters ago,” said Cogswell.

To begin the process to become a supplemental instructor, the student would have to ask the professor they wish to work with for a recommendation. It is then up to the professor to decide if they wish to place the student’s application.

“The Supplemental Instruction Program provides specialized training for students to become SI Leaders,” said Cogswell. “The SI Leader works 7 hours a week which is divided between lecture, lab, and study sessions.”

Although supplemental instructors can be compared to peer tutors, they are not the same. Supplemental instructors are more specialized than peer tutors.

“A peer tutor focuses on a particular subject, works one-on-one with the student and uses passive learning,” explained Cogswell. “And the SI Leader supports a specific course, holds group study sessions and uses collaborative learning.”

4Cs Academic Coordinator Lisa O’Halloran oversees peer tutoring here on campus.

“We have SI Leaders in Chemistry for the Health Sciences, General Chemistry, Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, Cisco 1, Cisco 2, the paired ENL 101/108, Engineering, Environmental Science and Precalculus this semester,” said O’Halloran.

Brian Cornet, the supplemental instructor for Precalculus this semester, has a lot of experience in peer tutoring as well as being a supplemental instructor.

“It wasn’t hard to become a supplemental instructor,” said Cornet. “You just have to say ‘yes’ to the opportunities you get. Say ‘yes’ when someone asks you if you’d like to be a tutor, say ‘yes’ when someone asks if you can help with stats, say ‘yes’ to scary things.”

The Supplemental instruction program on campus allows students to push their limits and collaborate with one another. If students would like to find the times that the supplemental instructor for their class has a meeting or even become one themselves, they can contact Lisa O’Halloran at or in room 111 of the Wilkins building or Christine Cogswell, the supplemental instructor coordinator at

Supplemental instructors are here to help, whether it be on a math problem that you cannot wrap your head around, or a complex topic that the professor ran out of time to explain fully. These students will help you become the best student you can become. They will help you rise to your full potential.