Online program “Starfish” arrives to help students succeed

A new student success program has been added to Pierce College to assist in advisor-student communication.

Elissa Blankenship

Online Reporter

A student success program has been initiated for Pierce College to help students and staff strive for academic achievement.

“It’s a way for students to be connected to the people that would best be able to help them with any challenges they might face at Pierce,” says Student Success Technology Specialist Diana Ning.

Starfish, named after the phrase “start to finish,” is a program which includes an online scheduling tool. This tool provides an efficient planner for appointments and meetings. It also features an early alert system for campus emergencies and individual education-based emergencies.

Starfish also allows professors, faculty and advisors to send encouragement directly to students. Staff can present academic concerns by flagging students in need of additional support services as well.

Student success programs like Starfish, aim to help students with their education, answer questions and guide them along the pathways of their choice. The Starfish network allows students to contact professors, faculty, advisors and other personnel without having to go through the process of sending emails. With this program, students are also given access to a service catalog and can receive notifications.

“We just wanted to make it more clear for students exactly who is available to them, so they’re connected to their current faculty, their advisor if they’re in athletics, they’re connected to their athletic coaches and if they’re in running start they’re connected to the running start staff,” says Ning.

Updates are expected to be set in place for the program within the next few months to a year. Among other possible ideas, these updates will include Raise Your Hand, success plans and a degree planner. Students that are struggling—whether academically or in other ways—will be able to use the Raise Your Hand tool to ask for assistance by reaching out directly to staff members who can provide help. Success plans are to-do lists that provide the necessary steps to reach educational goals. The degree planner, scheduled to come in place within the next year, will create a course for students to follow to reach their academic degree.

A program called Kiosk is also in the works. Ning described Kiosk as a virtual check-in tool for front desk occurrences. She also mentioned other tools for employees which may be added in the future to help with case management.

“I really hope that students and employees can get the most out of the Starfish system. If anyone has any questions or feedback or suggestions they are always welcome to contact me,” says Ning.

In order to access the program, students must log in with their WiFi or Papercut credentials. The program can be found on the left-hand side of the MyPierce student portal profile under “Starfish.” Training tutorials and PDF files can be found on the page, along with the contact information for the Starfish team. These resources can provide additional information on how the program works or how to gain access to it. 

Connecting students and staff by providing a convenient, fast system for academic or personal struggles is the primary objective of the program. Students are encouraged to utilize this tool for their own educational benefits.

Contact Diana Ning at or the Starfish Team at for assistance regarding the online program.

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost

Elissa Blankenship

Online program “Starfish” arrives to help students succeed

by Elissa Blankenship time to read: 2 min