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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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Foreword (Mark A. Frederick / Pietro A. Sasso)




Mark A. Frederick & Pietro A. Sasso

A Primer to the Dynamic Student Development Metatheodel

The role of the traditional American four-year institution has historically been to create and disseminate new knowledge and serve a repository for existing and historical knowledge (Thelin & Gasman, 2010). However, that historical role has evolved as the result of cultural demands, demographics diversity, and institutions’ attempts to serve multiple stakeholders while at the same time facing financial pressures caused by decreased appropriations, difficulty in creating additional revenue streams, and limits to increasing revenue from tuition and fees to satisfy budgetary needs.

Most colleges and universities still focus on serving the traditional 18–24 year-old, full-time, residential student (Thelin & Gasman, 2011). Yet, in attempting to satisfy the educational dream of their students, institutions have found their retention levels remaining stagnant despite impressive increases in enrollment over the last few decades (Seidman, 2005, 2007). Adding to their challenge, the degree of student preparation for entry to the world after graduation has been called into question by employers, legislators, and the nation’s citizens (DeVitis, 2013). This is because they are attempting to retain a specific socially constructed ideal of the contemporary college student.

Millennial students are a symbolic artifact of a continuing historical narrative. They are a part of a historical trend which is the emergence of a new class of student ←xiii | xiv→ who is professional in nature and is attending...

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