New software helps to connect and support student retention

By Morgan Bayer

Starfish and Kutztown University Logo 2022

KUTZTOWN, Pa.— On Monday, Sept. 12, KU pushed the “start” button on the computer platform called Starfish, which will allow students and faculty to connect as it relates to the academic progress of any particular student. Cheryl Brattley, Starfish program manager and part of the Retention and Student Success Department at KU, said that the platform has been put into place to help KU “provide services that will help retain students.”

Starfish will provide a channel for messages to be sent between students, faculty and the Retention and Student Success Department to help students complete coursework and earn their degree. Faculty and staff will be better able to connect a student to the resources available at KU for their academic success.

The program will roll out in phases, easing the KU community into the application. Phase one will start at the beginning of the Fall 2022 semester, and phases two and three are scheduled to go into effect in upcoming semesters. Students can either locate the program on a desktop or their KU mobile app.

Once the program goes live, professors will be able to contact students – those who have missed the first few weeks of classes, for instance – give reassuring “kudos” mid-way through the semester, and raise concerns about potentially failing a course before the “withdraw” date. Emails will be sent to the recipient’s KU email, allowing them to respond and resolve the matter.

Students will also be able to ask for help from their current professors, financial aid, academic advisor and campus life and housing (other categories may follow). The Starfish platform will link  students to the necessary departments to get the help they need.

This is only an initial look into the functions that Starfish has to offer students in accomplishing their goals at KU. In months to come, the university will see more of what the program has to offer. Brattley, expressing excitement for the implementation of this program, said on behalf of the Retention and Student Success Department, that they will provide the necessary help “to keep our students moving forward and graduating.” Further reporting will be done to assess the response and further implementation of the Starfish platform.

Video #1: How to access Starfish on desktop. Video by Morgan Bayer.

Video #2: How to access Starfish on mobile app. Video by Morgan Bayer.

Video #3: Starfish informational video on how to ask for help. Video by Morgan Bayer.


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