MavPASS Offers Alternative Study Option for Students

by EMMA GABBERT, CSU Public Relations Assistant


The Maverick Peer-Facilitated Academic Support System, otherwise known as MavPASS, provides an alternative form of tutoring that is run by a student that excelled in a “gatekeeper” course, (difficult classes required for entry to a number of degree programs), in a previous semester.

In 2019, Laura Jacobi, an Associate Professor in Communication Studies, was invited by Dr. Henry Morris, the Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, to attend a workshop by a panel of experts from the International Center for Supplemental Instruction.

Dr. Morris invited a panel of experts due to the high number of courses on campus with a high drop, fail or withdrawal (DFW) rate. Dr. Morris also wanted to address the problematic opportunity gap between diverse and caucasian students.

Morris sought to implement a program that would help to lower the DFW rates and close the opportunity gap. Inspired by Morris, Jacobi joined the effort.

Over the summer, Jacobi and Morris addressed different ways to combat this ongoing problem. Their discussions led to the use of “supplemental instruction” which, according to Texas State University, is a nontraditional form of tutoring that focuses on collaboration, group study, and interaction for assisting students in undertaking “traditionally difficult” courses.

Officially implemented in Fall 2019, the program had the goals of improving student participation and retention, overall confidence in the subject matter and ultimately, decrease the number of students dropping or withdrawing courses.

At the end of the semester, Jacobi compared the final grades of students involved in MavPASS instruction to those that did not participate.

Those in the weekly MavPASS sessions showed overall higher grades. Additionally, there were significantly higher success rates among students who attended versus those who did not attend MavPASS.”

Students are selected as MavPASS leaders after a recommendation from a course instructor. These students frequently participated in class discussions, regularly attended class and achieved a grade of B+ or higher.

Through the development of the program, MavPASS leaders create lesson plans, similar to those of a professor.

The process includes a “workout stage” where students practice the course material and collaborate on homework assignments. During this time, students are free to ask questions about concepts, however, Jacobi clearly says that MavPASS leaders do not give their peers direct answers.

“The MavPASS leaders are there to guide them, not to give them the answers. Students learn better when they figure out the problem themselves.”

Laura Jacobi, University MavPASS Faculty Liaison

Toward the end of the session, the MavPASS leader will conclude the lesson with an overview of the material covered, address difficult concepts, and ask for questions or concerns.

While the Center for Academic Success provides individual tutoring in their office, MavPASS is held in a classroom setting and is facilitated by a student enrolled in the course.

MavPASS sessions are open to all students enrolled in the following courses:

  • Financial Accounting (ACCT 200)
    • Three Leaders
  • Introduction to Programming (CIS 121)
    • Two Leaders
  • Principles of Macroeconomics (ECON 201) & Principles of Microeconomics (ECON 202)
    • Nine Leaders
  • Health and the Environment (HLTH 101)
    • Two Leaders
  • General Physics I (PHYS 221) & General Physics II (PHYS 222)
    • Five Leaders
  • Elementary Statistics (STAT 154)
    • Three Leaders

With midterms and Spring Break around the corner, Teresa Neubert, a MavPASS coach, advises students to consider attending MavPASS sessions if they are enrolled in a difficult course listed above.

‘I encourage people to attend as many sessions as they can, whether it’s through MavPASS or tutoring. We want everybody to pass their classes and have the ability to pursue their majors.’

Teresa Neubert, Assistant Director of Center for Academic Success and MavPASS Coach

For more information, contact or visit their website.

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