Academic Resources

Guided Study Sessions

In the summer of 2018, the GSS program received certification by the International Center for Supplemental Instruction for the program’s quality and its commitment to student learning.

In the summer of 2018, the GSS program was accredited by the International Center for Supplemental Instruction for the program’s quality and its commitment to student learning.

Program Overview

The Guided Study Sessions (GSS) Program offers FREE, regularly scheduled group review sessions for students in traditionally difficult courses.

Based on the Supplemental Instruction (SI) model, our trained peer facilitators plan and hold two, 50-minute study sessions per week to help you practice and put difficult material in perspective. Our GSS Leaders have previously taken your course and earned an A, so they know what it takes to stay on track in lectures and prepare for exams. Go once, a few times, or attend every session—it’s never too late to start attending GSS. However, our data suggests that the more you attend, the higher your course grade will be.


Download and view the Spring 2020 GSS Schedule  (pdf)  

Courses Supported by GSS

  • ANSC 204
  • BCHM 463
  • BSCI 160, BSCI 170, BSCI 201, BSCI 202, BSCI 207, BSCI 222
  • CHEM 131, CHEM 135, CHEM 231, CHEM 241
  • ECON 200
  • MATH 140, MATH 141, MATH 246

GSS Staff

Danielle Pafe

Danielle Pafe, M.Ed.
Coordinator of Collaborative Learning
(301) 405-3318

Academic History: M.Ed., 2018, Secondary Education, Towson University; B.S., 2016, Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, Virginia Tech.
Professional Interests: Instructional technology, inquiry-based learning, disciplinary literacy, training and development of educators, Universal Design for Learning, formative assessment methods.
Personal Interests: Cooking, walking my dogs, reading, playing board games, hiking, pottery, going to the beach.

Ashley Clark

Ashley Clark, B.A.
Graduate Assistant
(301) 314-7698

Academic History: Masters student in Higher Education, University of Maryland, College Park; B.A., 2009, Political Science, International Affairs, Spanish, Marshall University.
Professional Interests: Higher education access and equity, college choice, rural student enrollment in post-secondary institutions, college outcomes for first generation college students, first generation college student access to nationally competitive scholarships and programs.
Personal Interests: Reading, traveling, spending time with my friends and family, dog sitting.

GSS Leader Application

Application Process

Role of The GSS Leader

The GSS Leaders serve as model students. GSS leaders:

  • Attend class, read assignments, complete homework.
  • Structure sessions to encourage group learning and student interaction.
  • Encourage students to take advantage of resources to be successful in the course.
  • Assist students in learning the course material.
  • Model appropriate learning strategies and techniques to help students become successful in the course.

GSS Leaders Have

  • An interest in helping others.
  • An "A" in the course they wish to support.
  • A 3.0 Cumulative GPA or better.
  • At least 15-credit hours from UMD at the time of application.
  • A schedule that allows you to dedicate approximately 10 hours per week to GSS.
  • Good interpersonal and communication skills.

GSS Leader Responsibilities

  • Attend their assigned course.
  • Structure GSS sessions twice a week to encourage group learning and student interaction.
  • Provide a minimum of 22 sessions per semester.
  • Participate in various trainings per semester.
  • Register for the 3 credit course HESI318N.

Who Are The Leaders?

GSS sessions are facilitated by leaders, undergraduate students who have previously taken the course and demonstrated academic competency in the subject area. GSS leaders will share their approach to success in the course and help the groups to review lecture material, work through homework and problem-solving exercises and review for exams.

Meet the GSS Leaders  (pdf)  

GSS Student Information

Why should you attend GSS?

  • Nationally, GSS participants have significantly lower rates of "D/F/W" than do non-participants.
  • Students who participate in this form of supplemental instruction receive class grades higher than those who do not participate.
  • Small, peer-run study groups provide students the opportunity to review, practice and study the course material. GSS can help you to learn how to learn the material.
  • If you have questions that do not get answered during class, GSS provides you with another opportunity to ask questions and prepare for exams.

What courses are supported by GSS?

  • View the current GSS Schedule. If you do not see a course, ask your instructor about the possibility of having GSS for your course or contact the GSS Coordinator.

What should I bring to a GSS session?

  • Bring your questions, textbook, class notes, syllabus and any homework assignments. Your GSS leader will typically prepare materials for your session as well. These might include practice quizzes, partial outlines, process diagrams, test preparation worksheets, etc.
  • GSS Leaders will also post on ELMS any handouts needed for the sessions.

GSS Information for Faculty

Guided Study Sessions (GSS) provide a structured opportunity for your students to engage in course material outside of the scheduled class time. GSS allows instructors to maintain high standards for academic excellence in historically difficult courses by providing students the opportunity to increase their time on task in an effective learning environment. Faculty members who participate in GSS benefit from students who are better informed about classroom topics and who earn higher grades.

Faculty play a crucial role in the success of the GSS Program. You will share your content knowledge and teaching expertise with the GSS leaders in order for the leader to prepare for GSS sessions and support the development of students in your course. Interactions with the GSS leader before, during, and after class model student-faculty interaction and demonstrate to students that you are the most valuable resource in the class. GSS leaders are also encouraged to provide feedback to the faculty member about the GSS sessions and areas where students may still be struggling.

If you have any questions about the GSS program, please contact the GSS Coordinator at (301) 405-3318.

Faculty Role

  • Provide recommendations for new GSS Leaders each semester
  • Introduce GSS to your students on the first day of class (and include it in your syllabus)
  • Allow the GSS leader to make periodic announcements to your class
  • Meet regularly with the GSS Leader to clarify course content and review materials for the GSS session
  • Provide the GSS leader with copies of course materials and access to ELMS documents and assignments
  • Respond to surveys regarding performance of GSS Leaders each semester
  • Share exam scores with the GSS Coordinator for the purpose of tracking student outcomes

GSS Leaders Are Trained To

  • Understand the process of learning
  • Encourage interaction between you and your students
  • Be role models for your students
  • Help your students discover and apply new learning strategies
  • Structure group activities so students will learn collaboratively

We hope you will view your GSS Leader as a resource, for your teaching and your students. They are encouraged to interact with students in class as much as possible when you feel it is appropriate for them to do so.

GSS Leaders Will Not

  • Give answers to students or do work for them
  • Teach, grade, or give the impression that they can do these things
  • Work on graded assignments during GSS sessions

For Questions or to Request a GSS Leader for Your Class Contact
Danielle Pafe
Coordinator of Collaborative Learning
(301) 405-3318