Starfish Information for Faculty

Starfish: Student Success Platform

Starfish is a student success platform that provides students, faculty, and staff an interconnected system to stay engaged and communicate questions and concerns more easily. The use of Starfish on our campus can help improve the efficiency and efficacy of supporting our students, connecting them to the appropriate resources, and improving student success and our overall retention.

Please check our FAQ below for more details about Starfish and the implementation project. We will continue to update this page to share with you more information about the project as it continues.

The Starfish Help Center provides information on navigating the system. The Starfish video library provides a series of video tutorials to help you use Starfish.

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Information for students can be found here: Starfish Info for Students


In July 2020, an ad hoc committee comprised of members of Retention Planning Group of the Experience St. Lawrence Task Force and other campus experts met with various vendors of student success programs. Of the five which were presented, Starfish provided the most promising approach that would integrate seamlessly with our existing systems including Colleague, APR2, and our new LMS - Canvas.

Starfish will help us provide faster and more comprehensive support to students, and it will give faculty and staff an easy way to give students positive feedback and support, and for students to request help, even when they don’t whom to ask.

It will help facilitate students utilizing their campus support network and fostering a strong sense of connection. Starfish will also help consolidate information about a student, so when they add new connections to their success network (e.g. declare a major and get a new advisor), that information will be available to those new connections.

Starfish will help the University improve student success and satisfaction, leading to better student outcomes and retention.

Starfish is for everyone! While it will be primarily used by faculty, other instructors, and student-facing staff, all employees will be part of the college-wide care team. Any concerns about a student can be shared to that student's success network, who can then help address those issues and help connect them to the appropriate resources. 

What is Starfish going to help me to do?

Starfish will save you time, by cutting down on multiple e-mail messages and phone calls to students, academic advisors, coaches, and various others, and will provide more information that you need about a student for the things you do with them. And it will help you keep track of the outcomes of concerns you raise as they are addressed by others working to support the students.

It also has an optional calendar/scheduling feature, if you wish to have students schedule meetings themselves in time windows that you designate (it would replace a product like Calendly or a Google Drive sign-up sheet, for example).

What will Starfish replace?

Starfish will not replace any other system that we use, but it will replace a lot of e-mail messages, Qualtrics surveys (including the Early Warning survey from Academic Support), and spreadsheets, and it will allow us to get and use information more quickly than we do now to address urgent concerns.

How will Starfish fit in with my teaching and advising?

Starfish will make it easy for you to share concerns about a student’s performance in your classes with the student and their support network (e.g. Academic Advising, Residence Life, academic advisors, athletic coaches). You can also use the “kudos” function to give a student positive feedback.

The Early Warning survey will be replaced with a Progress Survey, which will allow you to provide quick feedback on all students in your classes. Similar to the Early Warning survey, the feedback you provide will be shared with the student and their support network. In addition, you will be able to see the outcome of student outreach for a concern you raised.

As an advisor, you will be able to see all notes of concern and kudos for your advisees and if you wish, you will be able to put notes about a student or from a student meeting on their Starfish record.

You can also use the scheduling feature to schedule advising meetings with your students. The scheduling feature integrates with your Outlook calendar, only showing to the student the times you set available to them.

  • Students of concern may be reported into Starfish at any time of the semester through flags, and twice during the semester through the use of progress surveys.

    • Progress surveys will replace the Early Warning Qualtrics and allow for faculty to provide feedback on all students, not just the ones who are struggling. An additional progress survey will be sent after midterm warning grades are due.
    • Flags allow faculty to bring attention to a particular concern about a student. When a student is flagged, their advisor and the Advising Team (A-Team) will be notified of the concern and can directly address the issue with the student.
    • This will also decrease the delay in which A-Team reviews the early warning reports and provide students and advisors with a more immediate report on the student’s progress in the course.
    • Faculty and staff can "close the loop" which informs all who are involved to know when an issue or flag has been resolved. 
  • Faculty will be notified when advisees are noted as students of concerns, can read the details about the concerns, and can reach out to their advisees right away.
  • Canvas will be fully integrated into Starfish, meaning that if you keep attendance in Canvas, Starfish can “raise a flag” on students who have missed a number of class sessions and alert them and their success network. Starfish can also utilize your Canvas gradebook information.
  • Students can see their entire success network in Starfish, making it easy for them to connect to campus resources. Their success network includes current instructors, advisors, coaches, and offices with which the student works (e.g. Academic Advising, SAS, HEOP, Student Financial Services, Financial Aid, Residence Life).
  • Students can use the "I Need Help" button when they need help or have questions and Starfish will direct students to the appropriate resources and offices to help. This will decrease the number of emails, trying to connect students to the right resources.
  • Faculty can send “kudos” or short and encouraging messages to students who have done good work in their classes.
  • Faculty and staff can direct students to use a scheduling system in Starfish, if they wish, eliminating the back-and-forth emails in scheduling meetings.
    • Faculty and staff can record notes on their meetings with students. This can be expedited through the use of SpeedNotes, or checking off a list of common reasons that students may meet with you. These notes can be shared with the student or can be shared with only the appropriate staff who need to know that information.
  • Starfish will also allow student-facing staff to see information relevant to the students with whom they work.

The Starfish Help Center provides information on navigating the system. The Starfish video library provides a series of video tutorials to help you use Starfish.

We have also curated a list of some of the most important videos to start familiarizing yourself with Starfish.

If you still have questions after checking out these resources, don’t hesitate to reach out to Elun Gabriel, Associate Dean for Academic Advising Programs and Associate Professor of History (, x5149, Fox Hall 101) and Tina Tao, Coordinator of Retention and Academic Support (, x5134, Fox Hall 104).