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The Dynamic Student Development Meta-Theory

A New Model for Student Success


Edited By Mark A. Frederick, Pietro A. Sasso and José Miguel Maldonado

The Dynamic Student Development Metatheodel (DSDM) is a meta-theory based on empirically based inferences drawn from a national survey entitled the University Learning Outcomes Assessment (UniLOA). The UniLOA’s current dataset consists of over 500,000 college student participants and has supported impressive findings that allow for the reconceptualization of long-held cultural artifacts and assumptions regarding the way students grow, learn, and develop (GLD) and how decision makers within postsecondary education have selected to engage the domains of student development measured by the UniLOA. This book champions a model of student success. The DSDM was developed from common factors identified in multiple theories and models within the areas of human and student development as well as empirically based theories and models of education. By first defining complementary elements within the theories and models then establishing accurate operational definitions, the planning and engagement of appropriate services, supports, interventions, and programs (SSIPs) and the active assessment of their outcomes can lead to a more effective response to current challenges faced by higher educators. As a metamodel, the DSDM reconceptualizes student success within higher education that is disruptive to the current accepted paradigm of student learning and engagement. This book is intended for faculty and staff interested in critical debate about issues in higher education and for deliberation by graduate students in college administration programs.

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Chapter One: Dynamic Student Development Metatheodel: A Superstructure for Informing Higher Educators (Pietro A. Sasso / Mark A. Frederick)


chapter 1

Dynamic Student Development Metatheodel

A Superstructure for Informing Higher Educators

Pietro A. Sasso & Mark A. Frederick


American postsecondary education institutions are loosely coupled through peer-reviewed accreditation, best practices, and continued partnerships in research. It is additionally coupled through its common mission. The notion of a common mission is somewhat of an artifact given the evolution of the American university into a multiversity, a term coined by Clark Kerr in the 1960s and referring to institutional evolution to large universities focusing on research at the undergraduate and graduate levels (Kerr, 2001). The role of the traditional American four-year institution has historically been to create and disseminate new knowledge and serve a repository for existing and historical knowledge (American Council on Education [ACE], 1949). However, that historical role has evolved as the multiversity has taken new form in an attempt by colleges and universities to serve an increasing number of stakeholders while at the same time facing financial pressures caused by decreased federal and state appropriations and the inability to create additional revenue streams to satisfy budgetary needs.

Whether it is as an economic engine or an entrepreneurial endeavor, the traditional college and university still serves the traditional 18–24 year-old, full-time enrolled, residential student. In serving the traditional college student, colleges and universities have been the purveyor of the middle class and a certifier of the professions as a continuation of being connected to the...

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