Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Cardinal Star tries to connect campus

Success is hard to state and for some, can be even harder to attain; alone that is. However, Plattsburgh State has for the last academic year implemented an electronic system that aims to do just that. 

Cardinal Star notifies us when we have done an outstanding job, alerts us when we our academics are slipping, and gives us the tools to have a successful college career. 

Cardinal Star is a product of a company called Hobsons, which SUNY Albany developed a partnership with. All 64 SUNY schools have received this technology to extend to their campus populations for an 18-month free trial period as part of a grant from SUNY Systems Administration. 

Information technology employees through PSUC have been programming the software to make it unique to our campus. 

“We were thinking ‘How can we make this work for us?’,” Dr. JoAnn Gleeson-Krieg, Associate Vice-President for Academic Affairs, said. 

It is part of her job to decide whether the Cardinal Star system is worth the continued investment after the test-run period is up, which is the end of this spring semester. 

Many students may see Cardinal Star notifications lurking in their emails, but the extent of services that this program offers is not as well known. 

Senior environmental studies major Yazmina Cardona says she has used Cardinal Star several times and has seen received “kudos” from her instructors, however:

“It’s new and no one really knows how it works,” Cardona said. 

Cardinal Star, located on the MyPlattsburgh dashboard is a multi-faceted informational and scheduling platform for students that is dedicated to helping students find their “success network”. 

 “One of the key things about Cardinal Star is this ability to integrate information from various sources,” Gleeson-Krieg said. “Students might get a ‘Hey, you’re doing a good job’ from a faculty member and they might get a notification from an advisor or sports and EOP programs.” 

Gleeson-Krieg described the program as having two main functions: early alert and connect. Early alert is what many of us have seen of Cardinal Star. 

It is the emails warming someone who has missed several classes or who is falling behind before it becomes a problem too big to handle. 

Connect allows for advisors and instructors to provide solutions and resources to students who need assistance or students who are doing exceptionally well with opportunities for advancement. 

“The connect aspect is designed to help students to make appointments with faculty and advisors that can help them,” Gleeson-Krieg said.

The kudos sent to those excelling in their courses help students to feel that their hard work is not going unnoticed. 

“It’s really nice to hear good things from your professors,” Cardona said. 

 Appointments can be made with advisors and faculty members at the click of a button and the system even sends out a notification of upcoming commitments through email.

“We’re all so busy that I think getting these reminders can be very helpful,” Gleeson-Krieg said. 

 Office hours and availability of faculty is also posted onto Cardinal Star. One improvement the Department of Student Affairs hopes to see with the system is the ability for students to directly make an appointment with a tutor. 

“That will be big because it will allow students to be sitting in their dorm rooms or their apartments and they won’t have to walk to the learning center to sign up for something,” Gleeson-Krieg said. 

Cardona stated she has used the system to set up an appointment during advisement and that is was easy and uncomplicated. 

So why isn’t every student taking advantage of this online tool for success? 

“I think in the beginning we could’ve done a better job with letting students know [Cardinal Star] is out there,” Gleeson-Krieg. “It is a little odd if you haven’t heard of us yet. The more people know what it is they will understand that ‘no this is not a fishing scheme’ and that it is really designed to help students be successful.” 

Another amenity that Cardinal Star provides to PSUC students is the listing of various support services on campus and their locations and phone numbers. Student Support Services, The Health Center and the Global Education Office are just some of the places that are linked through Cardinal Star. 

On this site also exists the option to request help for yourself if you are struggling in academics or any other aspect of life, such as your living or financial situation and incidents of bias.

“I know we have students on campus who are using our food pantry or who are having significant financial trouble,” Gleeson-Krieg said. “We want students to be able to tell us ‘I am having this problem and I need help.”

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