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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 Two: Theoretical Foundations of the DSDM (Pietro A. Sasso / Shelley Price-Williams)


chapter 2

Theoretical Foundations of the DSDM

Pietro A. Sasso & Shelley Price-Williams


No static developmental model can be expected to meet the needs of all students. While static models inform better understanding of student development or the creation of broad supports, services, interventions, and programs (SSIPs) designed to benefit the whole, they fail to adequately address the idiosyncrasies of individual students. As such, a dynamic model must be engaged that will respond to both group and individual student needs. The DSDM is such a dynamic model as it includes the critical SSIPs development function.

While the majority of the functions within each stage (goals, role of the SO, and measures) are static, the SSIP function calls for the development of an individual action plan for each student, created by both the student and their SO and thus creates the critical dynamic aspects of the model. The SSIPs accessed by the student will serve to meet their individual needs while reinforcing the critical relationship maintained between students and their SO. While not exhaustive lists, suggested measures are given for each of the DSDM stages and can inform both student and SO as to what SSIPs are necessary to support individual GLD.

Few, if any, current student development theories or models exist which institutions can draw from to inform the holistic development of their students that positively affect both persistence through graduation and full-potential performance. Numerous studies have...

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