Student success is a high priority at Minot State University, and day-to-day student performance and behavior are among the most useful indicators of issues related to student success. Starfish is a tool that supports student retention and helps improve communication among students, faculty and staff regarding students’ academic progress. Students do not succeed alone but are more successful when direct faculty-student communication is combined with effective support from advisors and other support staff on campus.

Starfish is a communication tool used by Minot State University faculty, staff and students to support student academic success. Starfish enables instructors to give praise (kudos) or raise concerns (flags) regarding students’ academic performance within a course. These notifications are sent by email and can be viewed in the Starfish program by specified users. Communication is also enhanced by other Starfish features such as appointments, notes and services.

Detailed information on procedures and use of the Starfish System.

Detailed information for Students on procedures and use of the Starfish System.

Early Alert Program

The Starfish Early Alert program is a university-wide collaborative effort designed to support student learning by identifying and alerting students who may be in danger of failing one or more classes as well as exhibiting behaviors that affect academic performance. Early intervention with students may be necessary because of a number of concerns, such as poor class attendance, failure to complete homework assignments, inappropriate classroom behavior, low test grades, etc. 

MSU requests that all faculty identify students experiencing difficulties in individual classes through use of the Starfish Early Alert system. Faculty will raise flags for Academic Concerns, Attendance Concerns, Never Attended or General Concerns. Emails from the Starfish Early Alert system will be sent to the student and the advisor. The advisor should then contact the student to discuss the situation and assess action to eliminate or resolve the issue/problem. Strategies could be in the form of tutoring or an appropriate campus/ community referral.

The goals for the Starfish Early Alert program are to:

  • Reach struggling students as early in the term as possible
  • Connect students to college resources to resolve their issues
  • Help students to maintain or improve their GPA
  • Improve student retention rates

Each person involved in the Starfish Early Alert process plays an intricate role. The early alert process works as follows:

Role of the Faculty

  • Identify students who are experiencing academic/ attendance difficulties.
  • Identify students who are exhibiting behavioral/ social difficulties.
  • Submit a flag through the Starfish Early Alert system.

Role of the Advisor

  • Follow up on assigned advisees identified through the Starfish Early Alert program.
  • This is the opportunity for advisors to communicate with students that a change is necessary and to activate outreach of additional resources that can support students’ learning and goals.
  • Close the Loop and share the action that has been taken regarding the early alert flag so that faculty are aware of the situation and can assist further in the classroom environment.
Role of Support Staff
  • Visit with students regarding issues raised in flags, make notes in the Starfish Early Alert system and Close the Loop if appropriate.

Role of Students

  • Students receive email notifications regarding flags raised in the Starfish Early Alert system and are responsible to take action based on the recommendations given. These actions may include meeting with the instructor and/or advisor or seeking assistance from an appropriate campus/community referral, i.e. tutoring center, writing center, counseling, career services, etc. The purpose of this assistance is to assess the severity of the issue, accurately assess its potential impact on academic success and to plan actions to prevent negative consequences, enabling the student to realize their goals of graduating from MSU and finding meaningful employment.
  • Students may schedule appointments with individual faculty and staff within their success network who have made online scheduling available. Students receive email reminders for appointments and have the ability to easily change appointment times as needed. 

Starfish Appointments

The appointment feature helps students connect easily to the resources that can help them. Students may schedule appointments with individual faculty and staff within their success network who have made online scheduling available. This feature eliminates trading countless email and voicemail messages to confirm a student meeting time. The Starfish calendar integrates with Outlook calendars for ease of use.

Students receive reminder emails for appointments and have the ability to easily change appointment times as needed. Advisors are able to document appointment outcomes or student no-shows, prompting an email to reschedule.

Blackboard/Starfish Login Page
(Starfish works best in Chrome and Firefox)

Starfish Direct Login Page

For Starfish assistance please contact:

Tammy Wolf