Library & Open Learning Services

Library & Open Learning Services

The Holland Centennial Commons
Title III Grant Coordinator

Kelly Peterson-Fairchild

Title III Director


Title III Program Manager

Rob Gray

Title III Program Manager


Matt Nickodemus

Title III Institutional Effectiveness Coordinator


Lee Yarrell

Title III Program Coordinator


Open Educational Resources Librarian

Emma Lanners

Open Educational Resources Librarian


Elizabeth Matheson

Open Educational Resources Paraprofessional


Title III


In 2023, the U.S. Department of Education awarded Utah Tech University a U.S. Department of Education Title III, Part A, Strengthening Institutions Program grant to expand our capacity to serve thousands of students by providing funds to improve and strengthen the academic quality of our institution.


The full title of our U.S. Department of Education Title III, Part A, Strengthening Institutions Program grant is “Creating Affordable and Accessible Pathways (AAP) to Success: Integrating OER and Supplemental Instruction in General Education Courses.”

AAP is designed to target the two largest reasons for Utah Tech students not retaining and graduating: financial difficulties and academic failure. Through this program, we intend to build pathways through the general education curriculum with OER and SI, which will help students overcome financial difficulties and avoid academic failure and help UT meet program objectives.

The mission is to implement pathways through the general education (GE) requirements through which students can complete a majority of their key GE courses without purchasing a textbook and by participating in SI in key, high-failure rate courses. Utah Tech University’s Title III Program is linked to the overall mission of the institution, as an open, inclusive, and comprehensive university.


The AAP program objectives and University governance share key initiatives: 1. Improve fall-to-fall retention rates for first-year students, 2. Improve three-year graduation rates, 3. Improve high failure rates for first-year students, and 4. Decrease the overall cost burden of students by offering OER courses.

With a focus on underserved, underprepared, and Pell-eligible students, the Affordable and Accessible Pathways program aims to achieve equitable retention and graduation rates and improve student success.

Supplemental Instruction (SI) Information

Supplemental Instruction (SI) is a nontraditional form of tutoring that focuses on collaboration, group study and peer interaction outside of the classroom. Its purpose is to assist students taking “traditionally difficult” courses.

With funding from the Title III Grant, the objective is to increase the number of SI course sections offered at UT to improve student success. SI instruction is now built into the student’s schedules and will be added to difficult gateway courses.

Supplemental Instruction class structure information:

SI classes will be chosen from the OER (Open Educational Resources) course offerings: high-demand, general education courses with high DFW rates. We will also look at adding SI to difficult gateway courses that have been a hurdle for some students to progress into their majors.

As part of the Title III Grant, administrators would like to integrate additional high-impact education practices into the SI sessions, which would include three tiers: collaborative learning, intensive learning, and community-based learning.

Tier 1 – Collaborative learning – The SI program will use this tier primarily for high-DFW-rate, General Education classes to facilitate deeper learning.

Tier 2 – Intensive Learning – These courses will be lower division GE courses from the OER list and will require additional instructor input into the SI sessions.

Tier 3 – Community Based learning – This will require and instructor not only to work with the SI leader to develop curriculum for the SI sessions, but the instructor will also enlist and work with a community partner.

The faculty agree to place a grading weight of 15% on the SI session. The extra points come from assignments or participation in activities that occur during the extra sessions.

Open Educational Resources (OER)

What is OER?

Teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others.


The mission of OER within Utah Tech University is to increase student academic success and remove barriers that impede access to course materials. Using OER can improve educational costs and first-day readiness for students, as well as flexibility in course curriculum and design for faculty.


The function of the OER program is to aid and support faculty and/or departments in implementing this content in their courses and to encourage sharing of OER materials and Open Educational Practices.

The OER Librarian at Utah Tech University assists faculty in converting their courses to open educational resources, providing No Textbook Cost courses for students.

OER Staff can help find material appropriate to the needs of faculty; help with importing content, editing, and layout; and help determine ownership of third-party content.

Success Stories

Student Quotes

“I think [OER] is a very powerful tool that makes education easier and more accessible.”

“In my other classes teaching isn’t done in the same order that the text book is written and the text is not straightforward or easy to read. Myself and my fellow class mates almost never use the traditional textbooks we’ve purchased unless we are required to. I wish all textbooks were like the one from this class.”

“I do have thoughts on textbooks. They are expensive and wordy. I found that most of my classes that rely on textbooks end up having lazily assigned busy work from the textbook question instead of the engaging, creative, and collaborative work I get from OER classes.”

“It was way more clear and doesn’t feel overwhelming like a textbook.”

I took an SI biology class and it was so beneficial! I was struggling a lot with the subject, and my SI leader sat with me through every assignment. She really made sure I understood the material. I wouldn’t have gotten an A without the extra study sessions. I would recommend an SI course to anyone who’s looking to get an A, and I’ll definitely take more in the future. (Katie E.)

Going back to college after 10 years of being away from school was really frightening. I was unsure if I could keep up with the schoolwork or if my essays would be up to par. Having the Supplemental Instruction with Katie has helped me get back into my writing process, and has eased my mind about being back in the classroom. Her input and advice on my essays as well as school in general has been invaluable. (Ben M.)

I like having the extra SI class, as well as having the SIs in lecture time. I have been struggling with social anxiety lately, so having people I can go to for questions is very helpful for me!

Faculty Stories

Wendy Dickie, a geography instructor, states, “I have enjoyed the SI course, and today I quizzed all my classes orally to prepare for the final, and my SI section seemed to know a lot more than the other classes, and also seemed to have a lot more fun. They were simply more comfortable with me and the topics and each other.”

Curt Walker was so happy with the scores on his class’s first exam that he asked his SI leader in the anatomy class (BIO 2320) to share the following data:

Mean Exam 1 Score ± s.e. x SI Attendance Mean Exam 1 Score x SI Attendance