Denison’s Readiness and Inclusion in Science Education (RAISE) program is directed toward increasing the success of underserved students in the sciences. The transition to college is a challenging process for all students, but particularly for those who come from backgrounds that aren’t well-represented in science disciplines. RAISE initiatives are designed to help these students succeed and thrive in the natural sciences.

The Peer Learning Strategist Program

Study skills that help students do well in high school do not always translate to academic success in college. As compared to high school, in college students are much more responsible for their own learning. They spend less time learning in class and need to focus more time learning out of class. And they take fewer tests that cover more material — and are worth more points.

The Peer Learning Strategist (PLS) Program gives students in introductory science courses the right playbook to succeed from the beginning. They connect with a peer mentor who advises them on metacognitive skills to help them study more efficiently and learn more effectively. Peer mentors are often students who come from similar backgrounds and have utilized the program themselves. They understand the value of the training and encourage students to continue and succeed.

Study more efficiently and learn more effectively

Students in the PLS program gain the metacognitive skills to:

  • Identify the thinking skills built into each assignment
  • Organize their study time by thinking skills vs content
  • Connect daily in-class and in-lab content to out-of-class learning by independent study and course outcomes
  • Use reading to analyze and evaluate material
  • Enhance note-taking and broaden the scope of their notes beyond the class.

Academic tutors or the PLS program?

Academic tutors are a valuable resource for all students. They understand specific coursework and can help students learn difficult concepts and formulas, help them solve homework problems, and learn some key study skills. The Academic Resource Center can help connect students with academic tutors and other resources.

Peer learning strategists offer broader skills and techniques that help students to:

  • Maximize their study time and effort
  • Improve their academic performance across all coursework through research-based study tools and methods
  • Reduce unnecessary frustration by showing students how to recognize the information they need to know
  • Learn more efficiently, saving time and energy
  • Manage their learning, promoting independent learning and executive function skills
  • Prepare for graduate programs and future careers by helping students employ high-impact learning processes.

To connect with a peer learning strategist:

More about the RAISE Program:

In 2019, Denison University was awarded a grant of $275,000 from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation to fund a new model that welcomes and supports underserved students in the sciences. The model, designed in collaboration with Leonard Geddes of The LearnWell Projects, is rooted in inclusion and support for these students.

  • Other RAISE Initiatives:
  • Early Research Experience
  • Pathway Lecture Series
  • MLK Faculty Development Workshop