Student success program allows students to stay connected

Starfish, a Pierce College student success program, is utilized during COVID-19.

Launched during fall quarter 2019, the Starfish program for Pierce College has gained traction as a tool for student success.

Students can access academic alerts and success plans within Starfish, among other features that provide an alternative option to making phone calls or emailing faculty within their success network.

“Raise Your Hand is a feature where students can finally ask for assistance via starfish,” said Diana Ning, the student success technology specialist.

Raise Your Hand is the latest feature added to Starfish, being added on April 21. This feature allows students to type up a question or concern and automatically have it routed toward the correct person in each field for quick and informative replies.

Another feature, called Kiosk, was recently added specifically for employees and faculty to act as a check-in system. Kiosk is a way for faculty to record the number of times students visit the front desk or financial aid system.

Ning says the most popular feature, by far, is the appointment scheduler. In it, students can create appointments with the associated faculty and their success network of people. 

Since October, there have been about 1,500 appointments in the records, and now, the number of meetings between students and staff is up to approximately 8,000.

Roughly 3,600 student profiles have been created so far, an increase of about 2,000 students since October. Ning mentioned that this is still low-balling the number of active students on Starfish, since some users don’t actually edit their profile and others face technical issues.

The majority of emails that Ning receives from students are regarding login issues. To combat this, the Starfish team recently launched a bug fix update for hyphenated last names, though additional repairs will continue to be made.

Another problem students have faced relates to the active directory system, which the Starfish team hopes to resolve soon. The active directory is the way Starfish authenticates student credentials, and students who aren’t currently enrolled often face login errors.

Faculty have also experienced technical issues, like finding a student in the system or setting up office hours. They’ve also, typically, had questions about how to add notes, send messages or Kudos to students.

Kudos is one of the features that allow faculty to congratulate a student and recognize their academic accomplishments. The student Degree Planner is still in the works to track college degree progress, and its release date is currently unknown.

During the COVID-19 pandemic and the obstructions presented before students and their college education, faculty and students rely on the internet to connect them to ensure success.

“I hope that students know that Starfish is an option for them,” said Ning.


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

Student success program allows students to stay connected

by Elissa Blankenship time to read: 2 min