What is Starfish?

Starfish is a retention tool facilitating communication among students, faculty and staff. It provides an easy way for students to reach out for assistance; for faculty to provide feedback to students; and for all users to actively engage in a student’s opportunities for success. 

Why EMU is Using Starfish

Based on experiences from other universities, Starfish is expected to:

  • Enhance communication between instructors, advisors and staff
  • Ensure students receive the help they need
  • Provide an intuitive and easy to use website
  • Save faculty time coordinating student support resources
  • Improve student and program success
  • Increase the number of students successfully completing courses
  • Improve graduation rates

The Starfish Story

A young man is walking along the ocean and sees a beach on which thousands and thousands of starfish lay washed ashore.  Further along he sees an old man walking slowly and stooping often, picking up one starfish after another and tossing each one gently in the ocean.

"Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" he asks.

"Because the sun is up and the tide is going out and if I don’t throw them further in they will die."


"But, old man, don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it! You can’t possibly save them all, you can’t even save one tenth of them. In fact, even if you work all day, your efforts won’t make any difference at all."

The old man listened calmly and then bent down to pick up another starfish and threw it into the sea. "It made a difference to that one."


G04 Halle Library
Ypsilanti, Michigan 48197
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