ARLINGTON, VA (July 8, 2014) — Starfish Retention Solutions, Inc., a leading student success company, announced that ECPI University has implemented the Starfish® Enterprise Success Platform™ to scale its student success program in order to improve student retention and graduation rates. The platform is helping create efficiencies that lead to greater faculty participation in the student success program and enable systematic service delivery to the institution’s 9,840 students.
Founded in 1969, ECPI University is a private-sector institution serving students in both ground-based and online programs throughout Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. ECPI University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate, baccalaureate, and master’s degrees and diplomas. The institution offers degrees in information technology, health care, criminal justice, and business.
ECPI has a history of devoting significant resources to help its students be successful. The university believes that the key to delivering strong outcomes is supporting the faculty with tools both inside and outside the classroom to help them engage students and drive excellence in student performance.
Historically, faculty had access to various technologies, including Microsoft Outlook, CampusVue (the student information system), and Moodle (the LMS). ECPI did not, however, have electronic scheduling software that enabled students to make appointments with faculty and others within the institution.
In 2013, the institution deployed the Starfish Enterprise Success Platform to provide faculty with a more efficient means of documenting their student observations, communicating with their students, recording notes, and scheduling appointments. It was also believed that the platform could help the university systematize its delivery of key services across four locations in Virginia, three locations in North Carolina, three locations in South Carolina, and online.
Faculty participation in the Starfish platform varies from 90 percent to 100 percent, depending on the term and the campus. In a recent internal satisfaction survey, 90 percent of the faculty indicated that they were satisfied with the Starfish platform, garnering comments such as “Starfish is an easy way for me to keep track of my students and allows me to address issues quickly.” Another faculty member observed, “I love the versatility and transparency. It is really very valuable.” Still another wrote, “I just LOVE it! Thank you!”
“There are other systems on the market today that help you identify at-risk students or predict academic success, but they stop there,” said Maryse Levy, vice president of student development at ECPI University. “We selected the Starfish platform for its ability to also really support our faculty and help them engage with their students. The faculty responded well, and we see literally thousands of messages each semester from faculty to their students — messages that encourage, remind, guide, and, at times, restate some very serious discussions the faculty member had with the student relative to discipline. Students like these messages — particularly those that are personal messages to them from their faculty member.”
The Starfish platform is also an important part of the student services activities at ECPI. The university has career services staff in every location where it delivers programs. These teams have been able to use the Starfish platform to track students who are not yet employed. Previously, the teams used Microsoft Excel spreadsheets; now they can simply raise the appropriate tracking item in the Starfish platform, which automatically sends a communication to the university director of career services and the campus director of career services. In some cases, a communication is also sent to the student.
According to Kenton Scearce, regional director of career services, “The system is much more efficient, but, more important, it has allowed the staff to concentrate their time on student support rather than communicating upstream about results. Plus, there is great value to the real-time aspect of information. I know instantly the issue that the staff member is facing and can reach out and provide coaching or support.”
The Starfish Enterprise Success Platform builds on the company’s mission to help students finish what they start. Comprising distinct but connected modules, the platform enables institutions to view all their campus data and activities through the lens of student success. Starfish EARLY ALERT™ enables institutions to learn more about their students as early as possible. Starfish CONNECT™ makes it easy for students to engage with those on campus dedicated to their success. Starfish ADVISING™ gives students an academic path to follow in order to achieve success.
“Like other private-sector institutions, ECPI University faces interesting challenges in terms of scaling their support services to thousands of students in geographically diverse areas,” said David Yaskin, CEO of Starfish Retention Solutions. “We are proud to include ECPI in our client community. The work they are doing truly sets them apart in this era of greater regulation and oversight into how institutions are helping students achieve success.”
The Starfish® Enterprise Success Platform™ helps institutions efficiently scale their student success programs so that more students can finish what they start. Specifically, the software identifies at-risk students in real time based on their daily course-work performance and faculty concerns and then connects them to the resources designed to help (e.g., advising or tutoring), all while assessing which services and interventions are working.