Date of Submission


Document Type



Doctor of Education




student-centredness, intersectionality, social identity, registrar, student development, authentic leadership, transformative leadership, organizational structures


With an increasing number of students with diverse and complex identities attending colleges and universities, higher education institutions (HEIs) need to adapt to better serve their intersectional lives. At the centre of service delivery at most HEIs is the registrar’s office (RO), often offering services from before a student’s arrival right through to graduation. This Organizational Improvement Plan (plan) explores building a student-centred service delivery model in an RO at a large comprehensive university in Ontario. Organizational structures in HEIs are commonly vertically based on the specialty of work of the staff member rather than the horizontal crosscutting needs of the student. Students’ questions are often not isolated to a single issue and are informed by standard aspects like their degree program, and unique aspects like their racial identity, sexual orientation, or financial status. Taking a student-centred approach means taking into consideration a student’s social identity through an intersectional lens. The plan is executed through an authentic transformative leadership lens and is grounded in student development theory, the concept of intersectionality, and social identity theory. It suggests a path forward that is guided by a multistage approach to bring about substantive organizational change, uniquely different than a traditional one-stop-shop model, and instead equipping skilled professionals at the first point of contact to support students, minimizing referrals, and maximizing holistic support. The change recommended in this plan is multilayered, complex, and unique, but will systemically change the way service is expected by, delivered to, and engaged with students—for the better.