What is the STAR Initiative?
The STAR Initiative is an early alert and support program designed to identify students who may experience difficulties during their course work. The primary goal of the STAR Initiative is to provide preemptive academic support and holistic care to students so they may achieve academic success.
How does the STAR Initiative work?
The STAR Initiative is coordinated by the Department of Student Affairs. Jason Coley, PhD, Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs, and Katelynn Bestafka, Senior Integrative Services Advisor will monitor the progress of all students and works directly with faculty and staff to identify students who are experiencing academic difficulties or other hardships. If a faculty or staff member is concerned about a student, he or she is encouraged to file a STAR Report through the Student Support webpage.
How do I submit a report?
Reports can be submitted online via the Student Support webpage of the Maria College website or the MyMaria Faculty Portal. Simply select “File a Report” once accessed and you will be redirected to a Microsoft Form that can be completed from your computer or smart device. You may also request a link to the Reporting Form directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
When should I file a report?
The STAR Initiative aims to enhance student success and increase retention. Thus, STAR should be contacted if you are generally concerned about a student’s academic progress, pastoral need and/or overall well-being. The STAR program collaborates directly with the appropriate offices on campus to reduce the likelihood of academic failure and help the student access the resources they need to prosper as a member of the Maria College community.
Example of issues to report:
- Student is performing unsatisfactory in the course and is unresponsive to your individual assistance.
- Student displays minimal course activity and/or lack of participation in discussion boards.
- Sudden changes in frequency of access or class participation rates.
- Student expresses great difficulty in adapting to college life and/or meeting academic expectations in one or more courses.
- Student indicates they are experiencing financial hardship.
- Sudden drops in academic performance or changes in behavior.
What if I file a STAR report on a student? Will they know?
If a faculty or staff member files a STAR report, the Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs and Senior Integrative Services Advisor will carefully review the provided information to determine if any action is necessary. This usually involves gathering more information from other faculty and staff who are familiar with the student. If action is deemed necessary, the student will be contacted by the either the Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs or Senior Integrative Services Advisor to schedule a Student Success Planning Session via phone or video conference. Faculty may also elect to remain anonymous in the process by indicating so when filing a report.
Is a STAR Report the same thing as an Early Warning?
No. Though the STAR Initiative and Early Warnings serve to identify students who are experiencing challenges that pose a detriment to their academic progress, they are two different systems. However, the STAR Coordinator does monitor the early warning system and provides outreach to students who have accumulated 3 or more early warnings within a given academic sessions. Please note: If faculty would like immediate outreach or intervention for a student, he or she should file a STAR Report.
What happens to the information gathered?
All information reported to and gathered by the Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs and Senior Integrative Services Advisor will be kept on record in an individual STAR case file. These files are kept completely confidential and reviewed only with members of the STAR Case Management Team – the Dean of Students, Pastoral Care Minister, Mental Health Counselor, the Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs and Senior Integrative Services Advisor – on a bi-weekly basis. STAR Reports are not included in the student’s permanent record and are used only locally at Maria College to provide students with appropriate resources.
What is a Student Success Planning Session?
This is a phone or video conference with the singular purpose of ascertaining what challenges are impeding the student’s academic success and developing a practical strategy to overcome them. A typical meeting will involve one or more of the following:
- An overview of the STAR Initiative and introducing all available resources on Maria College’s virtual campus.
- A review of local community resources available to students near their residence.
- Development of an Individualized Student Success Plan.
- Identification of the student’s Academic Advisor.
What happens after the Student Success Planning Session?
The Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs and Senior Integrative Services Advisor will monitor the student’s progress and make contact with him or her for a brief update on a bi-weekly basis. Once the student has demonstrated significant academic progress, his or her case will be closed.
Do students have to attend the Student Success Planning Session?
No, the session is completely voluntary. However, it is strongly recommended that students attend as it is in their best interest. Review Sessions provide students with a unique opportunity to express their individual challenges and receive one-on-one assistance.
Maria College offers a wide variety of resources on campus to assist students in a variety of ways. If the resource is not available through the College, the Director will work with students to find an external agency or organization that directly addresses their needs.
What is the best way to support the STAR Initiative as a faculty member?
The best way for you to assist the STAR Initiative is to be mindful of your students and send in a report if you have a suspicion that they are facing obstacles impeding their chances of academic success. And, whenever possible, respond to requests for further information when they are received from the Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs and Senior Integrative Services Advisor in a timely fashion.
Can I request an update on a student after filing a STAR report?
Absolutely! Simply contact the Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs at (518) 861-2521 or email email@example.com or the Senior Integrative Services Advisor by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.