After implementing Starfish in 2013, Fort Hays State University wanted to give everyone on campus a role in making sure students succeed on campus – including students’ peers. After all, who can talk to a freshman better than a freshman, or to a grad student better than a grad student?
Fort Hays takes this idea a step further. The Student Government Association helps pay the salaries of graduate student Peer Success Coordinators. These students complete extensive Starfish and campus training, and are responsible for following up with flagged students on a more personal level.
For example, if a student has a complex administrative problem, a Peer Success Coordinator is on hand to talk them through it or, if necessary, escort them from office to office until the issue is resolved. Or, if the issue needs to escalate to the counseling or wellness center, the coordinator can facilitate the connection in a friendly and non-intrusive way.
“Student leadership is taking ownership of the project of student success,’” says Dennis King, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. “There are students who say, ‘I wouldn’t have been here if it wasn’t for [the Peer Success Coordinator].’”
Since students set such a good example, Fort Hays wanted faculty to step up as well. Each academic department has at least one faculty member who is actively using Starfish and acts as an ambassador for other faculty. They also have department chairs encouraging faculty to use the system, and have created simple training documents with best practices and tips for using features like progress surveys effectively.
Fort Hays recently implemented predictive analytics in the Starfish platform to identify struggling students earlier, build stronger course combinations, and work more effectively with Institutional Research.
Time is of the essence when it comes to increasing student retention. Fort Hays is enhancing its focus on students by “walking the walk” and recruiting all stakeholders on campus – and all their data - to make a difference for students. We’re excited to see how Fort Hays will be able to turn their insights into action and help every student on campus meet his or her goal.
We want to hear more inspiring stories like this! Contact us today and let us know your strategies for student success.