East Carolina University Expands Use of Starfish for Fall 2011 Academic Term to Support Student Success and Retention Efforts Across Campus

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Expansion follows successful first-year implementation in which 100 percent of participating faculty reported they would use the Starfish system again to identify students with outstanding or poor academic performance

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The Starfish team has been a great partner to ECU. We are excited to roll the Starfish system out to the full campus, helping students throughout our community.

Starfish Retention Solutions, Inc., a leading provider of student success systems, announced that East Carolina University will be using the Starfish® system campus-wide starting in the Fall 2011 academic term. For the past year, the institution has used the Starfish system to support targeted student populations.

ECU serves more than 27,000 students in Greenville, N.C. For the last 15+ years, the institution used a homegrown early alert system to identify students in academic difficulty. While helpful, the system limited faculty to reporting concerns once a semester for first-year students only. The institution wanted to support students across the institution (not just first-year students), while providing enhanced methods for referring students to the appropriate student services for help.

After evaluating the potential to expand the capabilities of their proprietary system and reviewing other commercial alternatives, ECU licensed the Starfish system in the Fall 2010 term, initially to support an identified population of 2,000 undergraduate students. Professors used the Starfish system to report concerns about students who were underperforming, as well as to commend students who were performing well.

Before deciding to expand the system to the rest of the campus, the institution conducted an in-depth user evaluation in which it collected feedback from students, professors, and advisors. Ninety-six percent of students who were flagged during the term for outstanding academic performance responded that they felt their professor was paying attention to their class performance. Of students who were flagged for underperformance, 70 percent took action, including going to tutoring (40 percent), meeting with their instructor (20 percent), and meeting with their advisor (2 percent). In addition, 100 percent of the professors who participated in the first year indicated that they would use Starfish again, citing the system’s ease of use and effectiveness at communicating with students. Based on the positive feedback, the institution has expanded its use of the Starfish system by making it available to all students and professors across the campus beginning in the Fall 2011 term.

“During our evaluation, academic advisors expressed that the Starfish system enhanced their ability to do their jobs through automatic notification of their advisees’ progress. Professors expressed their satisfaction with the system’s ease of use and particularly like being able to report students who are performing well,” said Dr. Jayne Geissler, executive director of retention programs and undergraduate studies at East Carolina University. “The Starfish team has been a great partner to ECU. We are excited to roll the Starfish system out to the full campus, helping students throughout our community.”

Accessible with a single login to an institution’s student information system, portal system, or learning management system, Starfish is a collection of two software systems. Starfish EARLY ALERT™ is an early-warning and student-tracking system that makes it possible for instructors, advisors, and academic staff to identify at-risk students in real time. Starfish CONNECT™, an education support networking and case-management system, helps students access 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 for the institution, which helps optimize future service offerings.

“At Starfish Retention Solutions, we commend the work that East Carolina University has done to introduce a comprehensive, enterprise student success and retention platform such as Starfish,” said David Yaskin, CEO of Starfish Retention Solutions. “The results speak for themselves. The ability to facilitate communication on campus, including commending students as further encouragement and offering timely services to students when they need help, is at the core of what the Starfish system enables, and we are proud to be working with ECU to make it come to life.”

Webinar Invitation. Dr. Jayne Geissler, executive director of retention programs and undergraduate studies, and John Trifilio, assistant director, academic advising and support, from East Carolina University, will lead a Webinar presentation on the institution’s experiences rolling out a student retention and success platform to its campus. The complimentary Webinar will be held on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011, at 3 pm ET.

To register, go to https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/115924862.

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 course work 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.


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