Date of Submission


Document Type



Doctor of Education




holistic sustainability, critical pragmatism, adaptive leadership, complexity leadership theory, emergence, implementation compass, participatory evaluation


This Organizational Improvement Plan (OIP) outlines a planned change to improve decision-making spaces and processes-related sustainability. The OIP details a problem of practice examining how to incorporate holistic sustainability into university governance by identifying critical values to improve processes and outcomes. This examination aligns with the university’s 2030 plans and goals. A critical pragmatism worldview underpins this OIP and applies individual and organizational reflection to support a change transition. Higher education sustainability operation systems require multiple disciplinary perspectives to engage in this evolution. The initial change is co-creating a university definition for holistic sustainability that substantiates additional framework building and policy development. The OIP presents a frames-based organizational analysis to assess university resource requirements and change readiness. Adaptive and complexity leadership theories are employed to navigate systems change and to enact the change implementation compass. Blending the change processes with the leadership theories to bolster diverse perspectives is the keystone to the improvement. Applying the change path model to the proposed three-phase solution engages various university stakeholder networks deliberately. A participatory evaluation approach integrated into the implementation compass enables assessment of the improvement process and the communication plan through cycles of quality improvement. Engaging stakeholder networks in the adaptive space to promote top-down and bottom-up ideation and information flow is essential for holistic sustainability governance to emerge at the university. The future university state is the recognition of a holistic sustainability lens on all decision-making practices and spaces throughout university operations, outreach, research, and curriculum.