Date of Submission


Document Type



Doctor of Education




online continuing education, adjunct faculty, organizational culture, distributed leadership, social constructionism


Lifelong learning equips members of society to face their greatest challenges, which is the moral purpose of higher education. Online continuing education (OCE) serves this purpose well. In recent years enrollments for OCE have outpaced enrollments for more traditional education and the number of adjunct faculty facilitating OCE continues to rise. However, these adjunct faculty do not enjoy the comfortable respectability afforded to faculty facilitating full-time education. The organizational culture in higher education institutions (HEIs) is bifurcated between continuing and full-time education, with OCE assumed to be a poor substitute for full-time education. Consequently, adjunct faculty receive inadequate and inequitable support compared to the support offered to their full-time counterparts. This organizational improvement plan problematizes higher education’s organizational culture in relation to its failure to equitably support adjunct faculty. Upside-down change originating from the bottom of the hierarchy is adopted as a solution to the problem of practice, built upon Kotter’s change framework and the Plan-Do-Check-Act/Adjust framework for continuous improvement. Leading change by distributing leadership among the adjunct faculty with an ethic of community will result in faculty support initiatives that enact strategic, socially just, and substantive change. The change initiatives will be communicated using knowledge mobilization; measured using specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals; and evaluated using mixed methodology. In the context of community, adjunct faculty will engage in socially constructing the envisioned future and generate momentum to change the organizational culture locally and across HEIs.