Faculty Starfish FAQ

Starfish is an Early Alert Retention program used by more than 200 institutions across the country. SBCC is using Starfish as a way to identify students that are having trouble in a class or need assistance so that we can proactively provide this support and, ultimately, keep them enrolled at the institution.

Because faculty have the most formal interaction with students, you play a critical role in early identification of students that are having trouble in a course, need academic assistance, have attendance issues, missing assignments, or  low scores  Faculty are asked to use Starfish to notify student and staff of these concerns proactively so that outreach can occur.

In the Pipeline portal, click on the “Starfish” starfish icon link link on the top navigation. And in Canvas on the left hand side navigation. You can review more detailed Faculty Starfish instructions here.

Faculty will be asked to complete a Starfish Progress Survey for students in EOPS, DSPS, International and Athletics. You will receive notification of the survey via your Pipeline email around the 6th week or your course. Surveys are typically open during the fifth to eighth week of the course, but specific dates will be indicated in your email. Progress Surveys are designed to provide quick feedback on what you have observed to date in your course. Specifically, faculty are asked to indicate any of the following for a student in their course, with comments when necessary:


  • Attendance Concern – Raise this when a student is not attending regularly. Please include the last date and attendance and the number of absences.
  • Low Scores – Raise this when a student receives a poor grade on a quiz,  test or assignment.
  • Missing Assignments – Raise this flag when a student is missing or late with assignments.
  • In Danger of Failing – Raise this when a student is in danger of failing a course. This flag will trigger a response to the student from an Academic Counselor or Special Programs Advisor (SPA)


  • Keep Up the Good Work – Raise this kudo to encourage a student to continue to make good effort.
  • Showing Improvement – Raise this kudo when a student has shown improvement.
  • Outstanding Performance - Raise this flag when a student has performed well.
  • Outstanding Academic Performance - Raise this kudo when a student has outstanding academic performance.

It is essential that you complete a Progress Survey for EOPS, Athletics, Umoja, International, DSPS, and Probation/Disimissal students even if there are no issues to report in your course and students are attending and doing well so that we know the status of each student. You can do this simply by going to the survey and clicking submit.

When a flag is raised, the student will receive an automatically generated email to their Pipeline account. Any comments you enter will be visible to the student in this email as well. For the "In Danger of Failing" flag, the assigned academic advisor/counselor will also be notified and follow a protocol of outreach. 

There are many additional ways to help your students succeed and get assistance throughout the term. You can manually raise flags for students at any time during a term by going to your Starfish account, selecting a student from the Students tab, clicking on their name, and raising a Flag or Kudos.
When the "In Danger of Failing" is cleared by the academic advisor, you will receive a notification email in your SBCC Pipeline email account. The advisor’s comments will be included so that you can see the outcome of this outreach. 
We do keep track of faculty completion of Starfish mandatory surveys.
For questions about SBCC's Early Alert please contact starfish-support-group@pipeline.sbcc.edu