Date of Submission


Document Type



Doctor of Education




Internationalization, COIL, Intercultural Competence, Servant Leadership, Creative Leadership, Appreciative Inquiry


Many Japanese universities have been undergoing processes of internationalization to mitigate demographic realities that conspire against robust student enrolments. These internationalization initiatives often attract students from other Confucian-based contexts who are expected to move away from their homeland and fully integrate into an unfamiliar, Japanese environment. Resultantly, international student needs are often camouflaged by cultural similarities that favour group harmony and collectivism over more equitable approaches to learning. Therefore, this Organizational Improvement Plan (OIP) aims to serve student needs by fostering the development of intercultural competencies through a pilot collaborative online international learning (COIL) project open to all students, and the creation and adoption of a context-specific rubric for intercultural competence assessment at a small, private, Japanese university to make the on-campus environment more inclusive for all students. A combined servant leadership and creative leadership approach is a foundational complement to traditional Japanese organizational practices for leading the change effort. Moreover, a context-specific adaptation of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is supported by the Change Leader’s Roadmap (CLR) in the implementation process. A context-specific, critical-theory-supported approach to AI is also fundamental to the monitoring and evaluation process. The resulting project is focused on increasing student-level intercultural interactions to better align the university’s public-facing policy documents with on-campus practices to make the learning environment more inclusive.