Starfish FAQs


How do I access Starfish?
Please refer to the quick guide on our Starfish How-To page for instructions on logging into Starfish.

Who can flag a student?
Only undergraduate instructors can flag students and raise kudos. However, instructors, advisors, and other academic support staff can raise referrals on students. Flags, kudos, and referrals are only utilized for undergraduate students.

When should instructors flag students?
Instructors should flag students in Starfish any time they have an academic concern or if the student needs additional support in the class. There are also flags that address behavioral concerns and student welfare. Flags of this nature are managed by the Dean of Students Office. The Students First Office and the Dean of Students Office are intentional about collaborating to best meet students’ needs. Flags and kudos can be raised by instructors when completing Academic Status Reports, which will be sent out at 4 and 7 weeks in the semester. Flags, kudos, and referrals can also be manually raised at any point throughout the semester. Flags and kudos cannot be raised during summer. Referrals will still be available for use.

What happens when students are flagged?
Please refer to the Starfish EARLY ALERT section on the Starfish for Faculty page.

What if I believe there is a student in my class who could benefit from more support than the email that is sent?
If an instructor has a particularly pressing concern for a student and does not think that an email will suffice, they are more than welcome to contact the Starfish Outreach Team in the Students First Office by emailing The Coordinator of Academic Outreach will work with the instructor to get in contact with the student.

I just raised a flag on a student. How will I know if the issue has been resolved?
At any given point, you can open Starfish, navigate to your Students tab, and see which of your students have an active flag; using the “Tracking” sub-tab, you can view which flags are active and which have been cleared. The person who resolved the flag had the option of “closing the loop” which means you receive a note via email when the issue has been resolved. At UNCG, clearing flags is still a new practice, meaning that many flags will not be cleared. Just because a student’s flag is not cleared, does not mean they have not taken steps to resolve the concern. Instructors are encouraged to raise new flags if the concern persists or worsens. Remember that with each flag raised, every student receives an email with details on how to seek support.

How secure is the data and who has access to it?
The data stored in Starfish is very secure and the data storage method passed the Data Security Committee’s inspection before being implemented. In regard to whether or not data is accessible to non-UNCG staff, access to data is highly limited. Two organizations have access: Hobsons (formerly Starfish Retention Solutions, Inc.) and their hosting provider. Starfish client account managers and escalation engineers have access to data through secure communication channels. No data is ever stored outside of the secure hosting facility. No personally identifying information is ever disclosed to third parties. The hosting provider was chosen for their security practices and reputation. They are SAS 70 Type II certified and will not directly access the data but backup/restore it in aggregate through encrypted back up.