As part of the developing systemwide implementation of the Hobsons Starfish Enterprise Success Platform, approximately 100 colleagues from the California Community Colleges (CCC) attended Hobsons University 2016 in late July.
Hobsons U, as the annual conference is known, provided two major benefits to those in attendance. First, it allowed CCC Education Planning Initiative (EPI) pilot colleges to join together in a variety of sessions related to their implementations of the Starfish platform, the EPI's chosen education planning tool and degree audit system (EPTDAS).
Through discussing their shared experiences, the colleges recognized that technology implementations are challenging for all institutions, regardless of vendor. Attendees from the EPTDAS pilot colleges were reassured by hearing other colleges share their experiences with their implementation process and listening as others expressed the sometimes grueling but also worthwhile nature of carrying out this endeavor. Colleagues from the EPTDAS pilot colleges shared that they experienced a renewed sense of motivation to push forward and use the lessons learned to benefit their students at a statewide level for many years to come.
Colleges Share Lessons Learned
Second, Hobsons U fostered a high degree of cross-dialogue between our pilots and colleges from across the U.S. and other countries throughout the duration of the conference. Attendees from the EPTDAS pilot colleges were able to meet with each other regularly. These meetings, as a group and in smaller cohorts, allowed colleagues to discuss ongoing challenges and use the lessons learned in sessions to brainstorm solutions.
The discussions also allowed attendees to reach out to others from within the state and beyond the boundaries of California. Those who participated provided resoundingly positive feedback about the chance to participate in incredibly valuable dialogic exchanges with each other. Attendees from the EPTDAS pilot colleges stated they were better equipped to capitalize on the information learned and experiences shared as they continued working toward delivering an optimal set of tools to help ensure the success of CCC students.
In 2015, the EPI Education Planning-Degree Audit System (EPTDAS) steering committee concluded its procurement of education planning and degree audit tools. The steering committee, made up of eight pilot districts, conducted industry research, developed counselor and student-based requirements, and evaluated a competitive request for proposal including references from across the country. Three vendor finalists were invited to provide oral presentations and demonstrate their systems to the steering committee.
As a result of this process, the steering committee selected Hobsons Starfish Enterprise Success Platform to support the goals of the EPI grant. Starfish is a web-based, mobile friendly, Software as a Service (SaaS) platform that is used by counseling faculty, instructional faculty, staff and students. It comprises three key functional areas: Degree Planner for developing and maintaining step-by-step academic plans; Early Alert for student monitoring and planning; and Connect for online appointments and case management.
Hobsons University is held each summer to “provide the inspiration, education and connections [colleges] need to improve admissions, enrollment and student success at [their] institutions.” This summer, the location for the 11th annual conference was the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.
Additional EPI Resources
For more information on the implementation process for the Hobsons Starfish Enterprise Success Platform, please visit www.CCCEdPlan.org. The Resource Media page, under the Resource Kit tab, contains an article describing the implementation process as well as a short video providing a high-level overview. Visit the website often, as additional education planning resources will continue to be uploaded.
David Quintanilla is a project team member of
the California Community Colleges Education Planning Initiative