This coming fall semester, Terra State Community College students, faculty and professional advisors can look forward to being virtually connected to each other beyond the classroom setting.  The college will be launching Starfish, a resource that will allow those with access to have information at their fingertips about all the different people they are connected to on campus.  The launch of Starfish has been in the planning for about two years and has been made possible by the Title III grant Terra State received.

“It allows you to have access to information all in one place,” Kristen Lindsey, Terra State Director of Advising and Student Success/Title III Project Director, points out.  “Currently, in Banner, if you go to your student information page, all you can see is your faculty advisor.  In Starfish, they can see their faculty advisor, professional advisor, the dean of the program they are connected with, all of the current faculty members they are working with and their success coach, if they have one.”  Students will also have easy access to information on different services they may need, such as financial aid.

Faculty will also benefit from the launch of Starfish.  They, too, will have access to information on all of their students.  “Professors will be able to see the faculty the student is working with,” Lindsey says.  “Or if they want to send the student a message, they can do so directly to their e-mail.”

One of the best features of Starfish that will be advantageous is integrating the software with the Early Alert process.  Early Alert allows faculty to flag a student who may be struggling in the classroom.  Starfish will simplify this process when it is initiated by a professor or even a student.  “Professors will be able to enter a student into the Early Alert process and have that information go directly to the person who would be responsible to getting the student help,” Lindsey explained.

Users of Starfish should not worry about not being able to navigate the system.  Lindsey is hoping to offer training classes in the fall.