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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 Fifteen: Student Leadership Programs (Kristen L. Tarantino / Madeline Smith)


chapter 15

Student Leadership Programs

Kristen L. Tarantino & Madeline Smith

According to the results of an annual survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) (2015), over 80% of employers of college graduates indicated that they seek candidates who are able to demonstrate leadership skills. Colleges and universities across the U.S. have been preparing students to meet these expectations for years in part through the offering of student leadership programs (SLPs). Although the structure of SLPs varies by institution, the National Clearinghouse for Leadership Programs (NCLP) broadly defines such programs as being “based on the fundamental belief that leadership can be learned and refined through education, training, and development” (Owen, 2012, p. 3). More specifically, the aim of SLPs is to teach students how to engage in leadership rather than how to be leaders (Komives, Dugan, Owen, Slack, & Wagner, 2011).

In this chapter, we will provide an overview of SLPs as well as how the Dynamic Student Development Metatheodel (DSDM) applies in the context of such programs. As a central purpose of the DSDM is to bolster student development, we will focus on how SLPs can support and further this purpose through relationship building as students grow and learn while transitioning from states of dependence and independence to interdependence (Center for Learning Outcomes Assessment [CLOA], n.d.; Frederick, Sasso, & Barratt, 2015). Our discussion includes a brief review of the literature related to SLPs as well as an...

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