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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 Four: A Holistic Approach to College Student Retention: Using a Four-Tier Student Support and Retention Model (Rebekah Reysen / Phillis L. George / Suzanne M. Dugger / Kassie R. Terrell)


chapter 4

A Holistic Approach to College Student Retention

Using a Four-Tier Student Support and Retention Model

Rebekah Reysen, Phillis L. George, Suzanne M. Dugger, & Kassie R. Terrell


In the midst of the national “college for all” movement (Carnevale, 2008), universities are challenged to recruit, admit, and support a more diverse student body than ever before. Indeed, today’s generation of incoming freshmen arrives on college campuses reflecting a wider array of academic preparedness, social capital, and cultural diversity than in past eras. The University of Mississippi (UM) is no exception. From the nationally historic moment on October 1, 1962 when James Meredith enrolled as the first African American to attend the university and “became one of the heroic figures in the American Civil Rights Movement” (Jones, n.d., para 1) to present day, UM has grown from a segregated, all-White college to a culturally diverse institution, from enrolling students primarily from well-to-do families to welcoming students from a full range of socioeconomic backgrounds, and from aspiring to admit only students of academic excellence to embracing an open access approach to admissions in which lower-performing students are also accepted. Although this diversification represents social progress toward greater equity in and access to higher education and concomitant social mobility, it also presents challenges to UM and other universities whose retention efforts have historically focused primarily on the academic aspects of enrollment and persistence rather than supporting students from the point of...

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