Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Uses Starfish Platform to Support a Campuswide Culture of Success

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Starfish 360 Award-Winning Institution Recognized for Innovative Student Success Strategy

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Starfish has proven an invaluable asset in NWTC’s student success strategy

Starfish Retention Solutions, Inc., a leading student success company, announced that Northeast Wisconsin Technical College’s use of the Starfish® Enterprise Success Platform™ has resulted in measurable improvements in course completion rates.

For its work, NWTC was granted a 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.

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College is one of the 16 two-year public colleges in the Wisconsin Technical College System and participates in Achieving the Dream. NWTC supports nearly 42,000 students each year on three campuses and at five regional learning centers in and around Green Bay, Wisconsin. In 2013, student success initiatives accounted for more than half of all goals on the college’s Action Plan. Today, every employee takes responsibility for finding ways to help students master their courses, remain in college and achieve a college credential.

“Starfish has proven an invaluable asset in NWTC’s student success strategy,” said Christine Lemerande, Starfish project manager at NWTC. “We are identifying at-risk students earlier in their courses, and then helping them build meaningful success plans while linking them to the appropriate resources. We’re managing communications with individual students easily and in one place, fostering a clear line of dialogue about students among staff and faculty, and motivating students through positive Kudos.”

The college reports that students identified as “at risk” through the Starfish platform who subsequently met with a counselor during the semester were significantly more likely to complete their courses and register in the subsequent semester. In addition, during the initial pilot period:

  • Faculty participation was strong. In spring 2014, 291 faculty members raised 7,363 flags and 12,250 Kudos for good performance, reaching 6,193 students.
  • Gateway course pass rates have increased to 70.7 percent in 2013-2014 (up 7.6 percentage points since 2009-2010). Overall course pass rates have increased to 81.7 percent of credit hours completed, surpassing NWTC’s goal of 80 percent.
  • The number of English Language Learner students transitioning to a degree or diploma program jumped from 21 students in 2012-2013 to 77 students in 2013-2014.

“The NWTC team successfully launched a rapid rollout of the Starfish platform with training and implementation for more than 250 full-time faculty in less than eight months,” said Lori Suddick, vice president for learning at NWTC. “Student success outcomes are improving as a result of this technology and the team is ready to broaden the use of its tools and features in the next year.”

The Starfish Enterprise Success Platform builds on the company’s mission to help students finish what they start. Comprising four distinct but connected modules, the platform enables institutions to view all their campus data and activities through the lens of student success. Starfish EARLY ALERT™ enables institutions to learn more about their students as early as possible. Starfish CONNECT™ makes it easy for students to engage with those on campus dedicated to their success. Starfish ADVISING™ gives students an academic path to follow in order to achieve success. And Starfish INSIGHT™ enables institutions to measure the effectiveness of their student success initiatives.

“Northeast Wisconsin Technical College has made a tremendous shift toward student success in recent years,” said David Yaskin, CEO of Starfish Retention Solutions. “We are impressed with their outcomes and proud to play a part in helping the college do the best, most efficient job of reaching as many students as effectively as possible.”

Webinar Invitation: Starfish, along with a team of experts from Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, will host a complimentary webinar presentation on Feb. 25, 2015, at 2:00 p.m. ET. Register at

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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