Student Records Supports BlueStar Implementation

BlueStar in Campus Connect, DePaul’s new online system that supports academic success, launched campus-wide this fall. Over the past year, EMM’s Student Records, along with Information Services (IS), has led the technology-side of the BlueStar implementation.

Identifying the Best Tool for Students' and Advisors' Needs
The process started in spring 2013 when Student Records and Caryn Chaden, associate provost for student success and accreditation, directed conversations with lead advising managers and assistant deans from all of DePaul’s colleges about the effectiveness of the advising dashboard and other tools within PeopleSoft. The consensus was that the tools were not meeting advisors’ needs. Among the complaints was a slow system response time, due in large part to dated technology meant for faculty advisors with limited case loads, not staff advisors. They were not widely used and therefore never properly maintained.

Given the broad scope of issues with the advising tools in PeopleSoft, a new technology solution was necessary to address advisors’ needs. Enter BlueStar: an automated student advising system with a proven impact on student retention from Starfish Retention Solutions. Now, DePaul’s former advising dashboard, academic progress report and attendance verification are centrally located in BlueStar, which also allows for online scheduling of appointments with students.

Along with presenting a streamlined, integrated online advising solution, the implementation of Starfish (branded by DePaul as BlueStar) holds promise for better student service and student success. Advisors and instructors can now identify a concern about a student and automatically notify the student and those who can best assist.

Positive Preliminary Results
Early outcomes are encouraging. One example is the attendance verification process. Instructors are required to verify student attendance/participation each term for financial aid compliance.  The new attendance survey administered to all instructors with BlueStar access had a 62 percent completion rate, more than double the rate of any previous quarter.  Ninety-five percent of the surveys that were viewed by instructors were completed, generating 1,139 flags for students who never attended/participated in a course.

Future Plans for Expansion
After conducting an analysis of the information and system needs for effective advising, Student Records configured BlueStar for all college advising offices and 11 offices that provide student services university-wide. An additional four offices are currently in the process of finalizing their BlueStar access and plans are underway to continue to expanding access to the system. Moving forward, Student Records is actively involved in ensuring that data between BlueStar and Campus Connect is properly transmitted, processed and stored.

For more information about BlueStar, contact Ruben Picazo, associate director for Advising Support, or Michael Wright, senior director for Records and Technology.