Date of Submission


Document Type



Doctor of Education




Dental hygiene, higher education, complexity theory, leadership, self-organization, appreciative inquiry


The knowledge, skills, values, and confidence needed to practice dental hygiene safely, effectively, and ethically are evolving. Healthcare and the higher education landscapes are becoming increasingly complex. Despite the increased curricular competencies, emerging research about positive aspects of baccalaureate dental hygiene education, and out-of-province trends towards degree education, Bayview College continues to only offer a diploma credential that is specific to dental hygiene. Diverse views have polarized faculty on how to adapt the dental hygiene program so that it better meets professional, community, and societal needs. This Organizational Improvement Plan explores the organizational context at Bayview College and proposes a strategy to address the problem of practice, which is the lack of a shared vision about the evolution of its dental hygiene program. As a faculty member at the institution, I lay out the path to guide the change process. The plan’s overarching leadership framework, complexity leadership theory, combined with Stacey’s complexity theory, Olson and Eoyang’s conditions for self-organization, and the Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle reflect the changing environmental circumstances and complex adaptive systems that make up the Bayview College community. In addition, the selected strategy, an appreciative inquiry initiative, will foster stakeholder engagement, emergence, and creative problem solving as a means to address the identified problem of practice. I incorporate detailed plans for implementation, monitoring and evaluating, and communicating the need for change. I conclude with a path forward on how the vision can be actualized within the organization and set the foundation for future change.