Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges partners exclusively with Starfish to advance statewide student success program

Lauren Williams's picture
Thursday, August 15, 2013

Starfish Retention Solutions, Inc., a leading provider of enterprise student success systems, announced that the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges has partnered with the company to advance the Commission’s statewide efforts to improve student success outcomes at its member institutions.

For 50 years, Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges have provided an affordable and accessible higher education choice for Pennsylvania residents. The Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges is a nonprofit, volunteer membership association and the primary advocate for Pennsylvania’s community colleges. The Commission, whose members are college presidents, members of the colleges’ boards of trustees, and key college administrators, provides leadership on issues and represents the collective needs, vision, and values of the colleges to state and federal policymakers.

“For the past two years, we have been looking at ways to be more responsive to our students and to improve their ability to be successful,” said Diane Bosak, executive director of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges. “The Commission determined that our institutions would benefit from implementing a robust system that provides early detection of at-risk students before the students’ problems become insurmountable. At the Commission level, we needed the same system to be able to provide common data across the state — giving us better analytics about how our collective efforts are making a difference.”

Through a competitive evaluation process, the Commission selected the Starfish system as the exclusive early warning solution for its member colleges, which can independently procure and implement the Starfish system. The system was selected because it can be integrated with the broadest set of core technologies in place at the respective colleges, including the student information system, portal system, and learning management system. In addition, the Starfish system can replace a number of commercial and homegrown early alert solutions in place at the colleges and enable the institutions to keep track of their student intervention efforts.

To date, three of the Commission’s member colleges have joined the Starfish community, including Montgomery County Community College, Harrisburg Area Community College, and Northampton Community College.

“The Starfish system will help us better engage and track first-time students, thus improving student retention and graduation rates,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, president of Montgomery County Community College. “Students will have access to academic planning tools and real-time feedback on their academic progress, while advisors will have the tools necessary to monitor and identify at-risk students for early intervention.”

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 academic plans, 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 work together to resolve the issues and assess the effectiveness of the process of helping students. A unique design component of the Starfish system is Intelligent Data Integration™, offering a seamless, fully automated, and centrally-managed integration with an institution’s learning management system and student information system.

“We are honored to be selected by the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges to support its goal of improving student success at its member institutions,” said David Yaskin, CEO of Starfish Retention Solutions. “For a variety of reasons, community colleges face an uphill battle when working to help their students achieve success. The Starfish system has been proven to make a difference in the student success programs at our client institutions — and as a result make a difference in the lives of their students.”

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 www.starfishsolutions.com.