UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

Starfish Early Alert and Connect

Holly Grabowski updates us on Starfish capabilities in helping reach out to students. She is coordinator of academic outreach and excellence in the office of Undergraduate Student Excellence:
“At-risk” students have been a focus of conversation in the higher education realm for the past few years. Often, students are marginalized based on distinguishing characteristics that supposedly place them in the category of at risk of not performing at potential (At Risk Students). What about the students who do not necessarily have these distinguishing characteristics but are struggling in an academic class? Do they slip under the radar? Unfortunately, this is often the case. At some point in their college careers, all students have the potential to be at risk. If UNCG is serious about maintaining an environment of care and comprehensive support, we have to be willing to look outside of the traditionally labeled “at-risk” students and reach out to any student who may need academic or personal support throughout their academic journey. That is exactly what Undergraduate Student Excellence (USE) and the Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) are doing.

Beginning Fall 2011, UNCG will roll out a new software solution from Starfish Retention Solutions that will make the process of reporting on the academic progress of our students as easy and efficient as possible. Starfish is an Early Warning and Student Tracking System that will allow UNCG to take a more holistic approach to student success. It will promote open communication among students, advisors, faculty, and other service providers on campus as well as ensure the success of our students by tracking their progress. Instructors will have the opportunity to raise flags of concern suck as excessive absences, low grade concern, poor participation, or general concerns so that students will be able to connect with resources that can help them early in the semester.

This is a quick and easy way for you to tell us how the students enrolled in your courses are doing. Please keep in mind that these early alert flags are neither grades nor permanent records; your responses will simply help us know which students to reach out to and offer help. Holly Grabowski in the office of Undergraduate Student Excellence will receive all of the submitted flags. She will also coordinate the outreach efforts, connecting students to resources that will contribute to their success. For more information on Starfish, please visit Undergraduate Student Excellence’s web site. Flags can be manually raised at any point during the semester; however, there will be three flag surveys sent out at 4, 8, and 12 weeks and we would appreciate your help by responding as quickly as possible. Instructors will receive the flag survey through email where they will click a link, login to Blackboard, and answer the survey found in the Starfish tab.

Starfish can also be used to easily and efficiently set up office hours and appointments. Workshops on both the EARLY ALERT and the CONNECT aspects of Starfish are available through the TLC. Online training guides and modules are available on the TLC’s website. If you have any questions or concerns, please direct them to starfish@uncg.edu or Holly Grabowski at 334-5534. Thank you for your support and cooperation as we work hard to provide students the support that they need to succeed here at UNCG.

By Holly Grabowski