MavPASS program goes beyond learning to encourage community 

Since 201, students at Minnesota State have been able to utilize the MavPASS program to help boost their grades when taking historically challenging courses.

Through MavPASS, students are able to learn course material in a more informal learning environment compared to a typical class session. In one MavPASS session students played an online game called a Kahoot before tackling sample problems while the MavPASS leader handed out lollipops.

“Students can really benefit by asking questions to us instead of the professor if they’re kind of nervous about making mistakes in front of the professor,” said Elena Windels. Windels is a MavPASS leader who facilitates MavPASS sessions for Chemistry 111.

MavPASS leaders are students who previously took the course and showed a high level of proficiency, who are then selected to facilitate sessions in order to help their fellow undergraduates.

“When students come to MavPASS it’s very much them doing the problems, them doing the work and the MavPASS leader facilitates that learning process so they get a deeper understanding of the material,” said Dr. Laura Jacobi, program director and faculty liaison for the MavPASS program.

There are many benefits for students who attend MavPASS sessions, the most immediate being improved academic performance.

“Semester after semester after semester, the data trend is the same. That the more students who attend regularly the higher their average course GPA, the lower the equity gaps, the lower the DFW rates,” said Jacobi. DFW rate refers to the percentage of students who earn a D, an F or withdraw from a course.

“We have a really good track record of lowering the DFW rate, I don’t want to say for harder classes, but just these more challenging classes,” said Windels.

Another important benefit those involved in MavPASS emphasize is the community building they claim MavPASS helps facilitate.

“It really decreases the amount of time you have to be studying by yourself so I think that’s one of the really really big benefits of coming to Mavpass,” said Windels.

“It also provides community. A lack of a sense of lack of belonging sometimes happens, especially for freshman when they are new here and they don’t know a lot of people. These group study sessions are very interactive. MavPASS leaders try to make learning fun. Students have told us they have made friends in MavPASS sessions,” said Jacobi.

Header photo: Students at Minnesota State have been able to utilize the MavPASS program to help boost their grades when taking challenging courses. (Dalton Grubb/The Reporter)

Write to Jeremy Redline at

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