“Simply put, Starfish is a smartly-designed system that helps faculty and professional advisors foster student success.” - Sheila Riley-Callahan, Executive Director of Academic Services & Special Programs, UMass Lowell

UML’s Centers for Learning created a course-based implementation strategy for Starfish Early Alert that initially involved three “gateway” courses across several majors. After a successful implementation of Starfish in 2012, the team steadily increased the number of courses that were part of the initiative as a component of a larger student success and engagement strategy.

To manage the degree of change rolling out Starfish would involve, the implementation team positioned it as a win-win for faculty. “The overall message to faculty was the use of Starfish would enable us to deploy a team of professional advisors and support personnel to engage flagged students on time management and study skills, while creating awareness for the assistive resources available to them on campus,” said Douglas Cooper, Coordinator of Retention Initiatives.

This method helped the team at UMass Lowell to increase retention through expanded, data-driven support. Effectiveness metrics include:

  • 7% increase in retention rate since Starfish implementation
  • 86% overall retention rate
  • 85% faculty survey response rate

Download the case study to learn more about UMass Lowell's approach to student success and campus buy-in.

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