Davidson County Community College Improves Student Success and Retention Through Innovative Cross-Campus Collaboration

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Starfish 360 Award-Winning Institution Recognized for Effective Use of Technology to Support First Year Initiative and Intrusive Advising Model

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Unlike many new technologies, the Starfish system has been embraced, and often celebrated, by our campus community. This is because of its ease of use, its innovative capabilities, and its swift impact on student retention.

Starfish Retention Solutions, Inc., a leading provider of enterprise student success systems, announced that Davidson County Community College (DCCC) has reported improvements in key student retention metrics through its use of the Starfish system within its comprehensive student success programs.

DCCC was recently given a 2013 Starfish 360 Award by a panel of independent judges. The Starfish 360 Awards Program is designed to highlight client institutions that are using technology to help students in innovative and impactful ways. DCCC plans to use the monetary award to implement a student incentive program encouraging students to complete their educational goals.

As one of 58 institutions in the North Carolina Community College System and a participant in Achieving the Dream and Completion by Design, DCCC is committed to partnering with its students from “the moment of connection to the moment of completion.” As part of its 2013-2016 Strategic Plan, DCCC created a cross-campus collaborative Student Success Team to oversee the integration of the institution’s student success programs. DCCC also implemented a comprehensive first-year experience program built on three components: mandatory orientation, centralized intrusive advising, and a student success course required in the first semester.

DCCC has used the Starfish system since 2011 to facilitate early detection of first-year students who exhibit indicators that they are falling behind and to foster strong campus communication strategies about working together to help those students. In a spring 2013 student satisfaction survey, first-year students rated the Starfish system the highest of all the academic resources offered by the institution.

“Unlike many new technologies, the Starfish system has been embraced, and often celebrated, by our campus community,” said Mary Rittling, Ed.D., president of the college. “This is because of its ease of use, its innovative capabilities, and its swift impact on student retention.”

When examining the overall success and retention measures over the last two years, DCCC found course retention rates within the entering term increased from 88.2 percent for the fall 2011 cohort to 93.1 percent for the fall 2012 cohort, and from 79.7 percent to 88.9 percent for each cohort’s subsequent spring term.

“The Starfish system lets students know early how they are doing in class,” said Stacy Holliday, director of campus innovation and student success at DCCC. “At the same time, it alerts advisors, so they can provide timely interventions to the students needing immediate assistance. We believe that all students should have a support network surrounding them — one that is dedicated to facilitating student success. The Starfish system facilitates communication among support professionals while targeting at-risk students as soon as they demonstrate signs of struggle.”

Starfish provides highly integrated software solutions that work across academic and student affairs departments to holistically support the success and retention of students. Specifically, the company offers two software systems that work together to reinforce the efforts of academic advisors as they help students overcome challenges. Starfish EARLY ALERT is an early warning and student tracking system that makes it possible, through data mining and friendly Web applications, for instructors, advisors, and academic staff, to identify at-risk students in real time. Starfish CONNECT, an education networking and case management system, helps students collaborate with a personalized contact list of instructors, advisors, and counselors who are dedicated to helping them succeed. Together, the systems generate valuable performance and resource utilization data, which the institution can use to help optimize future service offerings.

“The Starfish 360 Awards Program judges clearly recognized Davidson County’s commitment to student success, innovative use of technology, and proven and measurable outcomes,” said David Yaskin, CEO of Starfish Retention Solutions. “Starfish is honored to be working with DCCC to help North Carolina’s students achieve their academic goals.”

Webinar Invitation: Stacy Holliday, director of campus innovation and student success at DCCC, will be discussing the college’s student success initiatives at a Webinar on Wednesday, Dec. 4, at 2 p.m. ET. Register at https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/769251342.

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 in order 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 coursework performance and faculty concerns, and then connect them to the resources designed to help (e.g., advising or tutoring), all while assessing which services and interventions are working. For more information, please call 703.260.1186 or visit http://www.starfishsolutions.com.

About Davidson County Community College
Founded in 1963, Davidson County Community College is noted for its quality educational programs and services. As one of 58 institutions within the North Carolina Community College System, DCCC offers studies in more than 50 degree programs. A fully-accredited, multi-campus college, DCCC celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. It is committed to developing minds, inspiring imaginations, and preparing students for enhanced career and educational opportunities within a changing global environment. Visit Davidson County Community College on the Web at davidsonccc.edu.

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Terri Poindexter Smith
Davidson County Community College
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