Center for Student Success

Early Alert Faculty and Staff Information

What is Starfish Early Alert?

Early Alert is designed to identify students who are having academic difficulty at any point in their education. Starfish is the early alert software system Viterbo has adopted to support our early alert efforts and is accessible through Moodle. After identifying these students, the Academic Early Alert team will attempt to address needs by providing the intervention needed to increase the likelihood of success. Faculty and staff contribute directly to retention by assisting with the early identification of students who are performing poorly in class, are chronically absent from class, or are experiencing other problems that impact academic performance.

When to make a referral?

If possible, speak to the student about the concern. If there are no signs of improvement, log into Moodle and click on the Starfish link to submit an alert. Possible reasons for a referral may be one or more of the following:

  • Performance not at course level
  • Struggles to keep pace with the class
  • Excessive absences/habitual tardiness to class
  • Not performing well on tests
  • Poor attitude and/or disruptive classroom behavior
  • Low or no engagement in the classroom (sleeping in class, talking, texting, etc.)
  • Pattern of late or missed assignments
  • Personal/health/social  concerns that impact academic performance

Starfish also allows you to recognize students for their positive work through the use of the kudos system of notifications. These notifications consist of:

  • Outstanding Academic Performance
  • Mission Moment
  • Keep up the Good Work
  • Showing Improvement

NOTE: Early Alert is not designed for urgent or emergency situations.

Who can make a referral?

Any employee of Viterbo University.

How is a referral made?

Log into your Moodle account and click on the Starfish link.

What happens after a referral is submitted?

The student will receive an email and notification will be sent to the Early Alert Leadership Team. The intervention strategies recommended will vary depending on the situation reported.

What is the Early Alert Leadership Team?

The Early Alert Leadership Team meets regularly to review referrals and develop a course of action to best address a student’s needs. The leadership team includes the director of student academic success, director of the academic resource center, director of residence life, athletics academic liaison, and the academic advising coordinator. Other university personnel may be asked to attend meetings when appropriate. In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), information is shared on a need-to-know basis and does not become part of a student’s permanent record.