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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 Nineteen: STEM-Based Institutions and Programs (Kevin Majewski / Tiffany Onorato / Thea Zunick)


chapter 19

STEM-Based Institutions and Programs

Kevin Majewski, Tiffany Onorato, & Thea Zunick


“Science, technology, and innovation are central to America’s 21st century diplomacy and vital to the Department’s efforts to build and sustain a more democratic, secure, healthy and prosperous world” (US Department of State, n.d.). The United States has been steadily declining in the race to produce graduates who are competitive in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. Reports show that although enrollment in STEM majors is on the rise, persistence, retention and graduation within these fields are extremely low (Eagan, Hurtado, & Chang, 2010; Thompson & Bolin, 2011; Whalen & Shelley, 2010). As a result, the US Department of Education has placed an emphasis on Math and Science education within the past decade. Federal initiatives such as the America COMPETES Act and the Every Student Succeeds Act call for the expansion and improvement of STEM education and an increase in resources (both academic and monetary) to help students become better prepared to pursue careers in STEM (Thompson & Bolin, 2011).

Characteristics of STEM Students

STEM students are characterized as students who are enrolled in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. As of 2003, they represent 14% of all undergraduates enrolled in U.S. postsecondary institutions (Chen, 2009).←309 | 310→ Approximately half of Asian/Pacific Islander students (47%) entered STEM fields, compared to 19–23% of students in each of the other racial/ethnic...

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