Date of Submission


Document Type



Doctor of Education




interdisciplinarity, psychological safety, Ontario community colleges, cultural theory, adaptive leadership, distributed leadership


Central to this Organizational Improvement Plan is the desire to close the gap between a curriculum that is disciplinary-centric to one that is more interdisciplinary. This change will better prepare college graduates for the future skills required in the workplace where increasingly complex problems require interdisciplinary solutions. While this may, at first, appear to be solely about the curriculum, the problem is that moving from a disciplinary to an interdisciplinary mindset involves disturbing deeply rooted disciplinary boundaries and, in turn, challenging faculty identities. In order to influence the culture of College X towards interdisciplinarity, the cultural context of the institution – as well as of the disciplinary subcultures – will need to be considered. Interdisciplinarity aligns with key priorities identified in the current Strategic Plan of College X and is congruent with the mission and values of the institution. Schein’s (2017) cultural theory provides the theoretical framework for this second-order change. Schein’s (2017) work provides a model for change that attends to psychological safety which is critical when perceptions, values and beliefs are challenged. One of the main tools proposed for creating change is the Community of Transformation model, under the auspices of the Teaching and Learning Centre, augmented by reviewing and rebranding the activities in the Innovation Centre and Applied Research to be more explicitly interdisciplinary. Adaptive and distributed leadership approaches respect the organizational context at College X which values collaboration and consultation and, therefore, provide the leadership framework. Finally, this Organizational Improvement Plan draws upon sensemaking activities in order to ensure effective communication to various stakeholders as they navigate the change proposed at College X.