Date of Submission


Document Type



Doctor of Education




appreciative inquiry, ethical leadership, mentorship, transformative leadership


The lack of equity and inclusion of women in formal leadership roles in Japan has been heavily criticized for years, including in higher education. This Organizational Improvement Plan presents an actionable plan utilizing an online mentorship program to address the Problem of Practice; the lack of women in positions of formal leadership and the few leadership development opportunities women have within the Learning Center of X University. Analysis identifies the institutional and cultural barriers that women faculty are confronted with, and which prevent their upward career mobility within X University. This change plan views the institution’s learning center through a liberal feminist theory lens and grounds the change solution and implementation through both ethical and transformative leadership approaches, supported by the Fifth Element framework. The Change Path model is utilized to support change with both Appreciative Inquiry and survey feedback applied in the design and implementation of the improvement plan. By mitigating the aforementioned hurdles which have promoted social reproduction, academic status based on sex can finally be addressed and resolved. Iterative cycles of the Plan, Do, Study, Act model is utilized to close the gap between the current state and desired change. The change solution, a professional online mentorship program, facilitates community building and professional development that increases institutional knowledge sharing while elevating and addressing the needs of women faculty. The online mentorship program gives voice to change recipients while mobilizing and creating awareness among change leaders, facilitators and recipients. This results in a more equitable work environment in the Learning Center of X University that improves formal leadership opportunities for not only women educators but all marginalized faculty.