Open Menu Close Menu

Interventions | News

East Carolina U Taps Early Alert System To Aid Retention

Following a test run with 2,000 undergraduate students last year, East Carolina University in Greenville, NC, will deploy Starfish systems campuswide to its 27,000 students beginning this fall semester.

Before making the decision to expand Starfish across campus, the university conducted an evaluation with input from students, professors, and advisers. Of students who were flagged as under-performing, 70 percent took action, including attending tutoring (40 percent), meeting with their instructor (20 percent), and meeting with their adviser (2 percent).

In addition, 100 percent of the professors who participated in the first year reported they would use Starfish again.

"During our evaluation, academic advisers 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 Jayne Geissler, executive director of retention programs and undergraduate studies at East Carolina U.

Starfish, which includes software systems Starfish Early Alert and Starfish Connect, provides a single login through an institution's student information system, portal system, or learning management system.

Starfish Early Alert is an early warning and student tracking system that identifies at-risk students. The software reviews existing data about student performance. Instructors can raise concerns they observe, such as missing class, challenges with a particular subject, or disruptive behavior. Then, the concerns are routed to the appropriate administrator or instructor.

Starfish Connect facilitates online student scheduling for meetings with departments at the university, for example, a disability specialist, or a financial aid counselor. The software provides e-mail, text, and Facebook message reminders, and offers two-way integration with Microsoft Exchange and Outlook. Each student receives a searchable electronic Rolodex of every person and service on campus.

East Carolina University, which has 27,000 students, will hold a webinar on Starfish Thursday, Oct. 13, at 3 p.m. Eastern time. To register, go to

For more information, visit the Starfish Web site.

About the Author

Tim Sohn is a 10-year veteran of the news business, having served in capacities from reporter to editor-in-chief of a variety of publications including Web sites, daily and weekly newspapers, consumer and trade magazines, and wire services. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @editortim.

comments powered by Disqus