Mizzou’s Student Success Technology Receives National Recognition

Loren Nikolai works with a student.

MU Connect, an online application which supports student success and retention, has been named a finalist for the Hobsons Education Advances Award. The award recognizes the “innovation that is possible when an institution combines people, process and technology to make a difference in the lives of students.”

MU Connect enhances advising and communication across departments and provides a platform that assists students in connecting with campus resources. It also enables a proactive approach for identifying and working with students at risk. Starfish, which Mizzou has branded as MU Connect, is a product of Hobsons.

“The University of Missouri was selected as a finalist for the Hobsons Education Advances Award due to its unique ability to improve communication among all stakeholders, especially students, faculty and administration,” said Stephen Smith, President of Advising and Admissions Solutions at Hobsons. “Mizzou met the challenge to overcome the hurdles of implementing a comprehensive program across multiple locations and was able to garner support across the system to implement the program in a holistic, engaging manner.”

MU is one of three finalists in the Admissions and Student Success category. The winner will be announced at Hobsons University, an annual national higher education user conference sponsored by Hobsons, July 25-27.

“The success we have seen with MU Connect has come because of the work of our faculty, advisers and staff at Mizzou,” said Tina Balser, coordinator of Student Success Initiatives at MU. “This has been a collaborative effort by so many people on our campus in an effort to promote and foster student success. It is exciting to see MU Connect become a staple technology on our campus.”

MU Connect promotes student success in a number of ways. The system provides students with a “My Success Network” which is tailored to each student and includes the student’s academic adviser and home college or school, along with other campus resources. MU Connect helps students resolve an issue by pointing them to the appropriate services on campus and the central appointment scheduling allows students to schedule appointments with people and offices across the MU campus 24-hour a day, seven-days a week.

The Early Alert component allows faculty to identify students at risk and share concerns about the student’s academic progress. Information provided by faculty allows for key academic support areas to provide outreach to students that are not performing well. Early Alert also allows faculty to send positive feedback in the way of “kudos” to students who are achieving outstanding performances or showing improvement.

“Our student success approach is designed to work proactively to provide students with the foundation to build a successful and thriving experience as they work to complete their degree,” said Jim Spain, vice provost for undergraduate studies. “MU Connect allows us to better meet the needs of our students and provide them the best opportunity to succeed at Mizzou.”