Azusa Pacific University’s progress toward student support and completion goals

Executive Summary

Azusa Pacific University’s core focus has always been to provide a top-tier student experience and usher students toward long-term success. Driven by their strategic vision surrounding completion pathways and advising, APU turned to Stellic, which would provide a robust, common medium for students, advisors, and staff to engage with the journey to degree completion. 

APU felt the impacts within just one semester. With a remarkable 93% first-year adoption rate, students now have a defined route to their degrees—something that wasn't previously available. Advisors and staff have also observed a substantial transformation as new tools for guiding and engaging with students have significantly expanded the breadth of their support measures. 

“Throughout the project, our focus was doing what is best for our students, and Stellic was going to make the student experience better.” - Carmen Fairley, Academic Systems Coordinator, Azusa Pacific University

Below, we describe how APU’s vision came to life and what it has meant for their campus thus far. Additionally, we’ll share the ripple effect of the APU partnership, which has broadened Stellic’s scope to support students across various other institutions.


A faith-based and Hispanic-serving institution, APU deeply integrates the student experience into its core values and overarching vision. As part of its comprehensive long-term plan, the University laid out initiatives to bolster access and support for students. One initiative was to establish clear pathways toward degree completion and provide resources to empower and support students wherever they need it.

APU’s leaders soon recognized Stellic’s potential to achieve those goals, which offered students dynamic, requirement-aware degree pathways and an easy way to communicate with their advisors about their journey. To the same goal, the platform could help APU’s various student support touchpoints (such as faculty, advisors, coordinators, and coaches) to identify students who need additional guidance and to collaborate across departments.

Preparing for Change

The project team recognized that laying the groundwork for student success and meaningful support started with empowering advisors and staff. And since Stellic was poised to connect students with multiple touchpoints across campus, it was important that folks saw its potential value and impact.

As their first step, they embarked on a "tour" where they discovered the processes that faculty and staff hoped to improve. Learning the desired outcomes of campus constituents would help the team find and present solutions in the product that addressed specific needs.

“When we went to them and explained how to use Stellic, we came up with direct solutions to their problems. Knowing Stellic could solve their biggest pain points has eased them into asking ‘what else Stellic can do’ and it’s increased their comfort level with the change.” - Carmen Fairley

Throughout the tour, the project team made sure each department was heard. They listened closely, noted their suggestions, empathized with their challenges, and regularly invoked their main objective: to enable APU students to thrive.

The last, crucial element was communicating to students. The team decided to first focus their attention on the underclassmen who were still early on the journey. By leveraging student workshops, videos from student leaders, social media, and handouts, the project team managed to explain how Stellic could provide them value, which motivated them to explore the platform.

Post-launch, the team continues to encourage adoption by hosting refresher courses for students, building and maintaining an internal Google site that houses Stellic resources, and sending a monthly newsletter to faculty and staff to highlight the platform’s impact on campus and make them aware of new features.


The effort to put Stellic in the hands of students was well worth it – resulting in 93% adoption of incoming students. Where those students would’ve otherwise not had a plan, they now have a clear way to understand the path ahead. When they need help on an individual issue, they can find the right person for support and message them directly or schedule an appointment right in the platform.

Before, advisors were creating pathways in spreadsheets, but dynamic pathways in the platform are effectively off-loading this task, allowing them to reinvest effort into deeper advising. 

“There’s been an incredible adoption from the students. Advisors’ workload has been slashed to roughly 10% of what it was before. Giving advisors time to do other things at the beginning of the semester was a huge selling point for Stellic.” - Carmen Fairley

Bringing Student Support to New Depths

To achieve the current impacts and forge the way for further success, APU worked with Stellic to tailor the product along three key student success and advising areas. So far 92% of advisors (and the appropriate staff and faculty) are leveraging the tools and resources to help students – who now receive support from multiple angles on campus. 

1. Student Success Network

APU makes full use of the Success Network capability, making it possible for a host of roles to support individual students, including librarians, gen ed specialists, core directors, coaches, and counselors.

This has enabled any relevant staff member to use Stellic as a medium for communication and information-sharing. For instance, APU’s advisors are heavily leveraging notetaking from the platform. Depending on the context, they often choose to share notes with other support roles (such as pastoral care or an athletic coach). This gives them a more holistic understanding of each student and it provides students with care from various perspectives. 

APU also worked with Stellic to deepen the Success Network. Now, students who come to an advisor with a problem are guided to the appropriate office that can help them.

2. Appointments

Along the same lines, the platform allows students to independently schedule an appointment with anyone in their Success Network, something that was a multi-step process before. 

“It makes me so excited to tell students that all they need to do is click on someone’s name in their Success Network to schedule an appointment.” - Carmen Fairley

They’ve also begun to analyze appointment data to better understand the effectiveness of advising and appointments.

3. Search, Signals, and Early-Alerts

Advisors and faculty would struggle to just find individual students in their previous tools, typically needing a student’s ID to access key info about them. Now, they quickly find individual students with ease, and they also filter across different criteria, such as GPA, program, or requirements to find subsets of students. 

Even further, APU pioneered LMS integration into Stellic so that grades and last login can serve as additional signals of a student’s engagement in the reporting. 

Advisors then transform these reports into early-alerts, which notify them whenever new students match a set of criteria. All these measures have helped proactively find and connect students to the right resources early.

“Not only can they find those students in Stellic, they can refer them to another user or write them a note. I will forever brag about that. The impact of connecting students to resources all in one tool is immense.” - Carmen Fairley

Taking a step back

APU has made major strides toward empowering the campus with tools to keep students supported, engaged, and on-track toward degree completion. Continuing to establish Stellic as the centralized hub for all things degree progress and student support, the project team actively seeks user input to make sure the platform actualizes its full potential impact on student success. And Stellic supports that ongoing journey. 

“The Stellic team listens to us, and I see product updates appear a few weeks after they are requested, if not sooner. That shows our staff that their feedback isn’t falling on deaf ears and creates more confidence in the product.” - Carmen Fairley 

Looking at the bigger picture, APU has made just as big of an impact on Stellic and the institutions it serves. Their partnership helped shape new functionalities that would strengthen the way any advisor and student success staff support their students. They advocated for robust functionality and integrations that would better serve their campus. And in doing so, APU has paved the way for Stellic to more deeply impact countless other students both now and in the future.

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