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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 Sixteen: Transformative Learning and High Impact Practices (April Perry / Lane Perry)


chapter 16

Transformative Learning and High Impact Practices

April Perry & Lane Perry


The Dynamic Student Development Metatheodel (DSDM) was born out of the need to “identify commonalities across theories to make them more useful for today’s higher education environment and to address the affective aspects of what keeps students in college and allows for student success” (P. Sasso, personal email communication, June 22, 2016). As any practitioner on the front lines knows, models and theories are only as relevant as their application to real world, real impact, and real engagement efforts. We believe that the litmus test for the DSDM is its alignment, applicability, and relevance to established practices, programs, and initiatives that seek to actively and affectively engage students in their education.

In this chapter, we are going to approach the DSDM through a transformative learning lens. With this, we review two high impact practices (HIPs) that provide examples of application to the DSDM. The HIPs we will be examining through case studies are service-learning and student transition programs. More specifically, in the first case study, we illuminate the effects of and service-learning on student engagement and its application to the model. In the second case study, we review the findings from a study on the senior-year experience/transition, and how these practices also align to and support the DSDM. We begin this chapter by providing some contextual literature on transformative education, service-learning, and the post-university transition. With...

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