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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.

“The DSDM, as presented, is a very impressive and thorough framework that puts into words what many separate theories have articulated in a single easily applicable model. This metatheodel allows researchers and practitioners to draw conclusions on students’ experiences as it relates to behavior, cognition, and affect. These three domains affect students’ meaning making of their experience and with the DSDM and evidenced-based model, higher education is able to improve the growth, learning, and development of students.”—Matthew Varga, Assistant Professor of Counselor Education and College Student Affairs, West Georgia University

“The notion of a metatheodel is pioneering and it is a disruptive paradigm shift within higher education. The DSDM attends to meeting the affiliation and belonging needs of students. The DSDM text informs the co-curricular experience, engages the student experience, and provides new ways in which to improve student success through the affective domain of student development.”—Karrisa Merkel, Assistant Dean for Student Development, Agnes Scott College