Duquesne U Adopts Online Retention Software

Duquesne University in Pennsylvania is turning to a software to help improve student retention. The private Catholic university has adopted Starfish Connect from Starfish Retention Solutions in an effort to build collaboration between students and their advisors and instructors.

Starfish Connect provides students with a directory of instructors, advisors, and counselors to help schedule time for discussion, when needed, and allows students to select both the mode and topic for discussion, such as e-mail, chat, phone, and in-person meetings. It also provides information about support services offered through a school and displays peer evaluations of an institution's support services. On the administrative side, the system also generates reports on performance data, including resource utilization.

At Duquesne U, Starfish Connect is integrated with the university's Blackboard implementation, allowing users single sign-on access to the system.

"Academic institutions must make support services easily accessible to this highly mobile, digital and diverse student population," said Keith Solarczyk, academic advisor for A.J. Palumbo School of Business Administration, Duquesne University, in a statement released Monday. "Within one week of using Starfish Connect, half of my students made appointments with me with ease. The e-mail notifications from Starfish allow me to prepare for each student appointment and understand any reasons for cancellations, which is important to me as an advisor. Starfish is clearly dedicated to making us successful so that we can focus on helping our students."

Duquesne University is a private institution in Pittsburgh serving more than 10,300 students in 10 schools of study. About 6,000 of those students are undergraduate.

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David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at He can now be followed on Twitter at (K-12) or (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at

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