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Arizona CC Hopes to Lift Student Success with Early Notifications, Support

Starting this fall an Arizona community college system will be automating collaboration workstreams among faculty, advisors and students to help it improve student outcomes and completion rates. Pima Community College District in Tucson will invest an estimated $423,000 over three years to implement Starfish Early Alert and Starfish Connect from Hobsons. The early alert program is intended to flag behaviors that could signal problems that a student is at risk (or the opposite — that kudos are needed). The Connect software provides a customized collection of resources a student may turn to in times of need, including faculty advisors, counselors, instructors and tutors.

The 70,000 students of Pima CC will gain access to the applications through computers and smartphones as part of the institution's efforts to provide "proactive support services," especially during the first year of students' college careers, as a written recommendation from the chancellor stated during a recent board meeting.

The Starfish programs were chosen in a purchase process that drew five proposals. An evaluation team made up of advising, counseling, faculty, IT and administration recommended Hobsons. During the rollout, the system will undergo continual evaluation during and after each semester to continue improving on its use.

"We chose Starfish to have a tool that will help advisors, counselors and faculty individualize support for students and assess which services and interventions are working," said Irene Robles-Lopez, the college system's vice president for student development, in a press release. "Our objective is to be more responsive to our students, to help support them at every point in their educational career and help them reach their goals."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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