Date of Submission


Document Type



Doctor of Education




higher education quality, equity, student success, social justice leadership, tempered radicalism, neoliberalism.


In 2018, the Government of Ontario introduced a post-secondary accountability framework that attributes up to 60% of colleges’ annual public funding to the achievement of ten government-directed performance outcomes. The new framework’s shift from the previous enrollment-based funding model intensifies neoliberal and post-structural policy discourses of quality and accountability, further relegating social inequities to the margins of post-secondary education. At the same time, burgeoning social movements have appealed to governments and post-secondary institutions to dismantle systemic barriers that impede students from equity-deserving communities from accessing and flourishing in college. This Organizational Improvement Plan (OIP) explores how a large urban college can reconcile neoliberal and post-structural representations of quality to develop a strategic approach to improving college-level outcomes that advances equity and promotes student success. Managing inherent tensions between government-defined quality and the college’s moral obligations to advance equity and promote student success is conceptualized using a hybrid social justice framework through lenses of moral leadership, transformative educational leadership, and tempered radicalism. Examining leadership through these lenses produces a proposed solution that reorients quality by organizational frame-bending and situates individual and organizational leadership practice towards equity and student success with tempered radicalism. Continuous negotiation of neoliberal and post-structural representations of quality is deliberately discussed as a means through which leaders and the organization can engage in an ongoing process of praxis and sensemaking to navigate an increasingly complex and competitive post-secondary terrain.