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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 Eighteen: Student Learning at Small Colleges: Size Does Not Matter! (Denise Balfour Simpson / Tourgeé D. Simpson / Sara Kupferer)


chapter 18

Student Learning at Small Colleges

Size Does Not Matter!

Denise Balfour Simpson, Tourgeé D. Simpson, & Sara Kupferer

In the culture of large colleges and universities with extravagant residential facilities and superior athletic complexes, it is more crucial than ever to articulate the importance of small colleges and universities on the impact on student growth, learning, and development (GLD) and their contributions to higher education. In this chapter, we explore how commitment to student GLD is cultivated at small colleges and universities through providing a brief history of student learning within the small college and university setting and the relevance of the DSDM domains to the small college experience. From this foundation, the authors will also provide practical application with examples and techniques that allow small college administrators and educators to frame the student GLD process.

Small colleges and universities, characterized as institutions with 5,000 or fewer fulltime undergraduate students, typically private, are suited for strong levels of student engagement, as their smaller class sizes, hands-on learning opportunities, focus on teaching and student development, and individualized majors and advising allow for an intimate connection to the community and sense of belonging. Students who attend small colleges also tend to live on campus, are enrolled fulltime, are more academically and socially motivated, and have parents with at least some exposure to higher education (ACUI, 2012; Carnegie, 2012; Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005; Pascarella, Wolniak, Cruce, & Blaich, 2004).←291...

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