YSU recognized for student success initiatives

logo-starfish-master-RGBYoungstown State University is among three schools nationwide to receive 2014 Starfish 360 Awards from Starfish Retention Solutions Inc. for helping students succeed.

“Each year, the Starfish 360 Awards Program gives us the opportunity to shine a spotlight on a few of the many success stories within our client community,” said David Yaskin, chief executive of Starfish. “We are proud that the Starfish platform is helping institutions achieve these impressive student outcomes, and we hope the winners will inspire other institutions as they inspire us.”

The panel of independent judges that selected the winners said YSU “has done its homework on student retention.”

“The initiatives selected, the timing of those initiatives, combination of professional staff and peer mentors, and the data analysis of retention outcomes closely follow best practices for improving student success. “

YSU began using Starfish software in 2011. The program allows faculty to flag students who are falling behind academically and to route those concerns to the students’ peer mentors and student support staff in the YSU Center for Student Progress.

Jonelle Beatrice

Jonelle Beatrice

“Starfish also allows us to provide kudos for good performance in the classroom,” said Jonelle Beatrice, executive director of Student Life. “Kudos have been very popular with our students and our faculty who provided over 7,000 positive comments to their students during our last survey. Starfish at YSU has united our campus student success efforts. It allows faculty, advisors, and academic coaches to collaborate in their support of students.”

The results: In Spring 2014, YSU undergraduates completed 85.2 percent of the courses they attempted, up from 78.4 percent in Fall 2011. The fall-to-fall retention rate for first-time, full-time students in Fall 2014 was 68.9 percent, compared to 67.5 percent in fall 2011.  The fall 2011 cohort completed 77.3 percent of attempted credit hours and had a cumulative GPA of 2.68. By Spring 2014, that number increased to 85.2 percent completion and a cumulative GPA of 2.76.

Other award winners were Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and the University of Texas at El Paso. The panel of independent judges included Julie Noble, EdD, principal research associate in the Research Division at ACT, Inc.; Janene Panfil, senior vice president for retention solutions at Noel-Levitz; and Randy Swing, PhD, executive director of the Association for Institutional Research.

Award winners receive cash prizes to support the ongoing development of their student success programs. More information about the Starfish 360 Awards Program can be found here .