After one semester of integration of the Starfish retention module at Vaughn College, faculty and staff have expressed an appreciation for the tool in great numbers. The integrated technology platform helps students to succeed by facilitating engagement with an informed, connected campus community.

In total, 57 faculty used starfish to raise student tracking items regarding attendance and academic performance; 46 students were referred to the Writing Center, with an additional 236 referrals to the College’s tutoring services. The module also encourages students to engage more deeply in their academic lives by connecting them to the people and resources best equipped to help them succeed. More than 1300 cases of positive feedback were sent to students about their performance, which reinforced positive behavior.

“The adoption of starfish has been an excellent tool that has already improved student engagement,” said Rebekah Chow, manager of institutional assessment. “We’ve received positive feedback from faculty and staff, many of whom report that students told them how much they appreciated the outreach. Additionally, the faculty really valued the increased communication and feedback from the advisors surrounding their interventions with students. The next step will be to cross-reference student outcomes for the semester against the Starfish interventions to determine how effective we were in improving student retention and success.”

Chow will be traveling to California in July with Frank Wang, executive director of the Student Success Center, and Dr. Sundari Ramabhotla, assistant professor in the engineering department, to attend the Starfish User’s Conference. She expects to bring back best practices and tips from other schools to share with the Vaughn community.