The University of Chicago Streamlines Student and Faculty Interaction with Starfish CONNECT

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Institution Deploys Technology to Reinforce Commitment to Student Engagement and Success

Our students and faculty rely heavily on the Blackboard course management system. By offering Starfish CONNECT as a link from the course environment, we hope to simplify the task of scheduling office hour appointments with faculty

Starfish Retention Solutions, Inc., a leading provider of student success systems, today announced that the University of Chicago has licensed Starfish CONNECTâ„¢, educational support networking software intended to enhance collaboration between faculty and students, with the goal of improving student engagement and success.

With an annual enrollment of nearly 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students and more than 2,100 faculty and academic personnel, the University of Chicago has long been globally recognized as a leading research and teaching institution. With a clear commitment to student achievement, the university made available for the last three years a locally developed scheduling system that enabled students to secure dedicated appointment times with their instructors. Although the system was valuable, the community desired more advanced functionality from the proprietary system, including the ability to synchronize appointments with their electronic personal calendars (e.g., in Microsoft Outlook).

"Our students and faculty rely heavily on the Blackboard course management system. By offering Starfish CONNECT as a link from the course environment, we hope to simplify the task of scheduling office hour appointments with faculty," said Ken Sadowski, director of instructional technology and design for the University of Chicago. "We know from our experience with our proprietary system that faculty want to avoid the dreaded sign-up sheet on their office doors. And students want the flexibility and convenience of Web-based self-service."

Accessible with a single log-in to an institution's course management system (e.g., Blackboard), Starfish CONNECT enables students to access a personal Rolodex of instructors, advisors and counselors who are dedicated to helping them succeed. The system places these people and services at the students' fingertips, offering self-service scheduling at times that are convenient for both parties. Starfish CONNECT also helps students overcome the natural reluctance to engage with new people and campus services by letting them learn more about the support services available and making available endorsements from other students who have benefited from the services. In addition, the system generates valuable performance data, including resource utilization that helps optimize future service offerings.

"Starfish Retention Solutions is honored to include the University of Chicago as part of its community of institutions that are using technology to drive greater student success," said David Yaskin, CEO and founder of Starfish Retention Solutions. "Simplifying the way that students and faculty connect with each other has such a powerful effect on a student's ultimate success. We look forward to a strong partnership with the University of Chicago to meet the needs of their students, faculty and academic staff."

About Starfish Retention Solutions
Starfish Retention Solutions is a leading provider of student success systems. The company offers a collection of software solutions that harness the power of the campus community to engage, motivate and graduate more students - securing valuable tuition revenue through student retention. Specifically, the solutions help institutions identify at-risk students in real time, based on their daily course work performance, and then connect them to the resources designed to help (e.g., advising, tutoring) - all while assessing which services and interventions are working. For more information, please call 703.260.1186 or visit http://www.starfishsolutions.com.

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John Plunkett
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