Starfish Retention Solutions Announces 2014 Starfish 360 Award Winners

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Innovative Institutions Recognized for Effective Student Success and Retention Programs

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Each year, the Starfish 360 Awards Program gives us the opportunity to shine a spotlight on a few of the many success stories within our client community.

Starfish Retention Solutions, Inc., a leading student success company, is pleased to recognize Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, the University of Texas at El Paso, and Youngstown State University as the winners of the 2014 Starfish 360 Awards Program™. The awards program is designed to recognize institutions in the Starfish client community that have helped students in particularly innovative and impactful ways.

The distinguished panel of independent judges included Julie Noble, Ed.D., principal research associate in the Research Division at ACT, Inc.; Janene Panfil, senior vice president for retention solutions at Noel-Levitz; and Randy Swing, Ph.D., executive director of the Association for Institutional Research (AIR).

Starfish 360 Award Winners:

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College: Since 2010, the “Dream: Learn It, Live It” program at NWTC has centered on two ideas: first, that every student can succeed, and second, that every employee can contribute to student retention and completion. NWTC credits the Starfish® platform with catalyzing positive culture change and supporting that change with straightforward tools. NWTC’s data shows that overall gateway course pass rates jumped 7.6 percent after just one year of using Starfish flags and Kudos.

The University of Texas at El Paso: UTEP’s approach to student success includes a “deep dive” into one often-overlooked feature in the Starfish platform: ZoomIn. Since 2012, the ZoomIn feaure has given UTEP’s instructors — especially those overseeing large, introductory course sections — a user-friendly and effective tool for engaging students. UTEP’s institutional research department reports that students in course sections where the ZoomIn feature was used had significantly higher pass rates than their control counterparts, and that the students previously identified as high-risk benefited the most.

Youngstown State University: YSU sees the Starfish platform as a hub for connecting all the components and programs that inform the university’s student success initiatives. Thanks to enthusiastic and wide-spread adoption of the Starfish platform by both faculty and student success personnel, YSU’s course completion rates have been steadily rising from term to term. When the Starfish platform was implemented in 2012, YSU students were completing 81.1 percent of the courses they attempted. By spring 2014, that number had increased to 85.2 percent.

The judges also selected three Starfish 360 Rising Stars. This distinction is given to institutions that have launched the Starfish platform within the past year and have already demonstrated measurable outcomes. The Rising Stars for 2014 are Philadelphia University, Ramapo College of New Jersey, and Viterbo University.

“Each year, the Starfish 360 Awards Program gives us the opportunity to shine a spotlight on a few of the many success stories within our client community,” said David Yaskin, CEO of Starfish Retention Solutions. “We are proud that the Starfish platform is helping institutions achieve these impressive student outcomes, and we hope the winners will inspire other institutions as they inspire us! Congratulations to the Award Winners and Rising Stars!”

Award Winners and Rising Star recipients each receive cash prizes to support the ongoing development of their student success programs. More information about the Starfish 360 Awards Program can be found on the company’s Web site.

About Starfish Retention Solutions
Starfish Retention Solutions is a leading provider of student success systems. The Starfish® Enterprise Success Platform™ helps institutions efficiently scale their student success programs so that more students can finish what they start. Specifically, the software identifies at-risk students in real time based on their daily course-work performance and faculty concerns and then connects them to the services designed to help (e.g., advising or tutoring), all while assessing which services and interventions are working. For more information, call 703.260.1186 or visit

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John Plunkett
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