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Minnesota State College Southeast
A Technical & Community College
Student Affairs


What is Starfish?

Starfish Logo - GreenCollege can be confusing -- even more confusing than driving through a busy city. Starfish is like that map app on a mobile phone that helps someone know when and where there's trouble, how to find help and resources, and gives guidance on what to do next. The Starfish system's only purpose is to help students reach their goals by using Flags to warn of trouble, Kudos to encourage progress, and Notes to monitor progress.




Students, use Starfish to:

  • "Raise your hand" and ask for help
  • Connect with your instructor
  • Connect with your success network

Download the Student Getting Started Guide (PDF)
Sign in to Starfish

Student success is not one individual's job, it's everyone's opportunity. Starfish simply helps us all know who is at risk early and allows each student's support network time to intervene.

Starfish also allows the college to gather information on student performance by utilizing both people and systems to create flags (alerts), kudos (encouragements), and notes.

The purpose of Starfish is to connect everyone--the student, faculty, and staff -- and keep them on the same page.

Sign in to Starfish

Faculty, use Starfish to:

  • Complete progress surveys
  • Raise Flags
  • Give Kudos (green stars)
  • Document student interactions
  • Contact students (both email and phone)

Including Starfish in a course syllabus:

Instructors are encouraged to share information on Starfish and how it will be used in the classroom. Here is a Starfish Syllabus example:

Starfish is an early alert system used to help you succeed in this course. If you receive an email with [STARFISH] in the subject line, please see me so that I can help you succeed in this course. Starfish also lists other academic support services that you may be interested in using. To access Starfish, please log in to D2L-Brightspace and click the Starfish button in the menu bar.


Most flags in Starfish do not necessarily require outreach. Flags are mostly informational and the Starfish system notifies students of issues or problems, much like a navigation application.

The "level" of flag will determine how the student support staff are to respond. For instance, staff generally do not respond to level 1 flags. Level 2, 3, and 4 flags require specific intervention measures outlined in the Starfish Advisor Workflow Training Guide. 

The staff play a pivotal role in monitoring the Starfish Early Alert Retention System and resolving ongoing student issues related to academic progress. The best way to imagine the role of the Staff role in Starfish is to think of an OnStar operator. A student is moving down her path toward her destination but when there's troubles on the path the OnStar operator calls to notify of an emergency or ask if the student needs assistance. Staff then connect the student with resources or send help to get the student back on track.

Sign in to Starfish

Staff, use Starfish to

  • Connect to students (both email and phone)
  • Monitor student progress
  • Document student interactions
  • Look up student information
  • Manage, respond to, assign, and clear outstanding flags

© 2021 Minnesota State College Southeast

RED WING CAMPUS | 308 Pioneer Road | Red Wing, MN 55066
WINONA CAMPUS | 1250 Homer Road | Winona, MN 55987
COLLEGE PHONE | 507-453-2700 | 877-853-8324

Minnesota State College Southeast is an affirmative action/equal opportunity educator and employer. ADA accessible. MSC Southeast is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination in employment and education opportunity. No person shall be discriminated against in the terms and conditions of employment, personnel practices, or access to and participation in, programs, services, and activities with regard to race, sex, color, creed, religion, age, national origin, disability, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, or sexual orientation. In addition, discrimination in employment based on membership or activity in a local commission as defined by law is prohibited.


This document is available in alternative formats to individuals with disabilities by calling 507-453-2700.

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Minnesota State College Southeast
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