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Saipan Tribune: NMC launches student mentoring system called ‘Starfish’ (September 26, 2019)

The Northern Marianas College has launched a newly-designed internal network called the “Starfish,” which is a dedicated student mentoring system that directly connects students to instructors, academic advisers, and student support staff.

This system is currently operated by NMC’s Learning and Student Support Services.

The Starfish system was in development for over a year and was tentatively set to launch during NMC’s spring 2019 semester but, with the destruction caused by Super Typhoon Yutu, they had to reschedule and decided to launch this fall.

The system is currently administered by the LSS counselors.

LSS counselor Kaelani Demapan presented the new system to the NMC board of regents last Friday on how it works and what it has done to further advance the college’s goals.

“Starfish provides transparency for our students, our faculty, and staff,” Demapan said.

As a student monitoring system, it raises flags if a student may need additional or personal support or if students have questions but do not know where to go or where to start. LISS counselors monitor the system and are tasked to assess all the flags provided by both students and faculty.

This is an opportunity for students to discover programs and services available to them on campus. This also provides students an online approach to reach out to their instructors or other NMC staff regarding student concerns.

The previous systems had flaws, as students were unable to get the needed help in time. The new system provides a quicker and more effective channel for everyone at NMC.

As the college works on recruiting more students to attend, it is hoped that this new system will help the college retain its students.

NMC reports that, as of Sep. 21, 2019, a total of 457 students and 57 faculty have used the new system and it is currently running with little to no errors.

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