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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 Seventeen: The DSDM in the American Community College Setting (Needham Yancey Gulley / Carolina B. Angelo)


chapter 17

The DSDM in the American Community College Setting

Needham Yancey Gulley & Carolina B. Angelo


Community colleges have a long history of serving unique and individual needs of learners. They have traditionally been educational centers that focus on the personal goals of learners, creating personal learning plans to support the acquisition of knowledge and credentials that are significant to each specific student (Cohen, Brawer, & Kisker, 2014). The current environment of the American higher education system is challenging this focus and pushing community colleges to attend to more collective numerical outcomes such as graduation and retention rates. This shift pushes these institutions accountability to the bottom line—increased numbers of Americans with Associate degrees—in order to assist in the economic viability of the new job creation expected and needed in the nation. However, what are being lost are the individualistic outcomes that have traditionally been associated with community college attendance. The Dynamic Student Development Model (DSDM) encourages, actually demands, that focus be given to the individual student development in terms of both academics and individual personal growth (Frederick, Sasso, & Barratt, 2015). When this model is applied to the community college setting it re-affirms the traditional mission of these institutions while simultaneously problematizing the current outside forces that are altering that mission.

The American Community College has a long history of providing higher education access to a diverse segment of the country. Open access has been...

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