Whatcom Community College Embraces Starfish Degree Planner to Improve Student Success

BELLINGHAM, WA, JULY 6, 2017– Whatcom Community College announced today that it has expanded its use of the Starfish Enterprise Success Platform in partnership with Hobsons. After completing a phased rollout of the full suite of Starfish capabilities this spring, all 11,000 enrolled students are now able to actively plan and explore degree options and receive informed, personalized advising that puts them on track to complete their education goals.

“The Starfish platform is critical to implementing a Guided Pathways approach at Whatcom,” said David Knapp, Director for Academic Advising and Career Services at Whatcom Community College. “Starfish gives us a platform for collaborating across campus, providing academic maps, and outfitting our advisors, coaches, and faculty with tools to provide proactive academic and career advising for our students.”

Whatcom has been using the Starfish Enterprise Success Platform to identify at-risk students in real time, pinpoint areas of concern, connect students with valuable services, and assess which services and interventions will keep them on track. Starfish Degree Planner makes it possible to efficiently provide each student with a proactive, personalized, step-by-step roadmap for the courses they need to take to complete a credential. Students are also connected to the guidance and support they need to help them stay on plan.

“Students come first at WCC. Every strategy we implement and every advancement we make is to better serve our students and to leverage their own skills, strengths, and abilities while navigating the college experience,” said Luca Lewis, Vice President for Student Services. “We see the integration of technology as a powerful tool to develop stronger relationships across the campus community and to create a more empowering experience for students and faculty. Since Whatcom began working with Hobsons, we’ve seen notable gains in faculty participation in early alert student progress reporting and the prevalence of students with online degree plans. It’s a win for us, for students, and for faculty.”

A recipient of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s IPAS grant in 2013 and member of Achieving the Dream’s network of community colleges, Whatcom has been at the forefront of innovative approaches to student success in higher education.

“We know students succeed when they are empowered to take action and plan for what is next,” said Howard Bell, Starfish General Manager at Hobsons. “We’re pleased to support Whatcom’s efforts in designing their student success efforts to help all students advance and achieve their goals.”


About Whatcom Community College 
Whatcom Community College is a regionally and nationally accredited two-year college with an accomplished faculty and staff who serve 11,000 students annually. On its campus in Bellingham, Wash., and through online courses, Whatcom offers transfer and professional-technical degrees as well as basic education, job skills training, and community and continuing education classes. The College will offer a BAS degree in IT Networking, beginning fall 2017. Based on student outcomes, the Aspen Institute recognizes Whatcom as one of the top community and technical colleges in Washington and among the nation’s leading two-year colleges. For more information, visit whatcom.edu.

About Hobsons 
Hobsons helps students identify their strengths, explore careers, create academic plans, match to best-fit educational opportunities, and reach their education and life goals. Through our solutions, we enable thousands of educational institutions to improve college and career planning, admissions and enrollment management, and student success and advising for millions of students around the globe. Hobsons works with more than 12,000 schools, colleges, and universities and serves more than 13 million students.

About the Starfish Enterprise Success Platform 
The Starfish Enterprise Success Platform™ helps hundreds of colleges and universities efficiently scale their student success programs so that more students can achieve their academic and life goals and finish what they start. Hobsons’ Starfish platform supports more than 4.5 million students each term, using its analytics solution to identify at-risk students in real time, pinpoint areas of concern, and connect student with valuable services. It also helps higher ed institutions use reliable, actionable data to assess which services and interventions are working to keep students on track.


Media Contact:

Patty Reinert Mason




Follow Starfish on social media:


Visit the Resource Center