Manhattanville College Implements the Starfish System to Enhance Campus Communication and Improve Student Success and Retention

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System Integrates with Noel-Levitz CSI Student Survey, Incorporating Non-Cognitive Predictive Analytics to Prioritize Real-Time Student Performance Data and Drive Interventions

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Before we implemented the Starfish system, our students would get frustrated with so many people trying to help but not knowing the whole picture.

Starfish Retention Solutions, Inc., a leading provider of student success systems, today announced that Manhattanville College has successfully completed its second academic term using the Starfish® system to support its efforts to improve campus communication. The strategic program enables the institution to more efficiently determine which students need additional help and then effectively address any issues in order to improve student retention.

Manhattanville College is an independent, coeducational liberal arts institution. Located just 30 minutes from New York City, Manhattanville serves 1,700 undergraduate students and 1,000 graduate students from 51 countries and 33 states. Founded in 1841, the college offers more than 50 undergraduate areas of study in the arts and sciences and specializes in graduate programs in education, business, creative writing, and continuing education.

As a small institution, Manhattanville offers its students an open-door policy with faculty, advisors, and student services readily available to assist students in any way possible. This flexibility, however, had sometimes led to confusion on the part of both students and faculty/staff members because they did not have a way of centrally recording the various conversations that took place and what follow-up actions were agreed upon. “Before we implemented the Starfish system, our students would get frustrated with so many people trying to help but not knowing the whole picture,” said Megan Stanton, retention coordinator at the college.

As a result, the institution sought a solution that could foster a more strategic communications approach among faculty, administrators, staff, and students. The Starfish system, including Starfish EARLY ALERT™ and Starfish CONNECT™, was implemented to ensure that the whole campus community was on the same page in terms of what the concerns were, tracking progress on the particular issues, and ultimately seeing resolution.

A primary reason that the institution selected the Starfish system was its ability to seamlessly integrate with the Noel-Levitz College Student Inventory™ (CSI) predictive instrument. The institution has used the student surveying tool for the past six years to gather incoming students’ perceptions about their own strengths and challenges and their receptivity to receiving help. Through the integration, Manhattanville imports the results of the CSI survey into the Starfish system to automatically raise flags on individual students who are predicted to be at risk. The flags then enable the advisors to know more quickly which students may need particular attention. In addition, the individual student reports that are generated by the CSI are uploaded into the student folder within the Starfish system, providing advisors with easy access throughout the academic term.

“When students are flagged in the Starfish system based on Noel-Levitz data, they are automatically sent a referral encouraging them to schedule time through the Starfish system to meet with their advisors,” said Stanton. “This connection makes students aware of any concerns as quickly and as appropriately as possible, so that they can share ownership and help to address issues. As a result, we can work together to keep them on track.”

Advisors are pleased with the enhanced convenience of accessing the Noel-Levitz CSI data from the Starfish system. Specifically, advisors can spend more time connecting with students and less time analyzing the data. In addition, the Noel-Levitz data is augmented by the real-time data collected by the Starfish system, including classroom performance as reported by the instructor or automatically from the learning management system, as well as academic flags, attendance concerns, and notes. With the data brought together, advisors are provided a holistic view of how each student is doing.

The institution has configured the Starfish system to survey faculty three times throughout the academic term. The first survey is completed in week one to confirm student attendance. The second survey is designed to reconcile the student roster following the add/drop period. The third survey collects mid-term grades. Faculty participation in these surveys has increased by 80 percent from the fall 2011 to the spring 2012 semester.

The Starfish system is an enterprise solution comprised of Starfish CONNECT and Starfish EARLY ALERT. Specifically, Starfish CONNECT offers online appointment scheduling as well as the ability for student services staff to document their interactions with students via success plans and other case management features. Starfish EARLY ALERT identifies at-risk students based on the reported observations of advisors, instructors, and other student services staff members and based on data within each institution’s academic and administrative systems. The systems then work together to resolve the issues and assess the effectiveness of the process of helping students. A unique design component of the Starfish system includes Intelligent Data Integration™, offering a seamless, fully automated, and centrally managed integration with the learning management system and student information system.

“It is very common that a lack of campus communication and data sharing is a major roadblock in an institution’s efforts to improve student success and retention. There are often so many different groups and departments playing a role in each student’s success that they need to be able to securely and efficiently coordinate with each other,” said David Yaskin, CEO of Starfish. “Starfish Retention Solutions is proud to be working with Manhattanville College to provide an effective communications platform so that more students can get the help they need in order to achieve their academic goals.”

Webinar Invitation. Megan Stanton, retention coordinator at Manhattanville College, and Naomi Aiken, manager, client relations at Starfish, will be co-presenting a complimentary Webinar presentation on Thursday, Aug. 1, at 2 p.m. ET. The presentation will include an overview of the Starfish system. To register, click

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

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