Date of Submission


Document Type



Doctor of Education




Academic Chair, Distributive Leadership, Professional Roles, Support, Social Justice, Preparedness


The role of Chair at the School of Nursing has been a challenge for many of its past and current occupants. Difficulties observed include a lack of departmental preparation and time allotted for a role that, spanning academia and leadership, is critical to the School’s operation. It is, therefore, also one that is ambiguous and problematic to define, a role that the Chairs themselves have difficulties understanding and fulfilling. Given the struggles observed with accomplishment of the Chairs’ mandate, and its relevance to my educational leadership duties as Associate Director, I have chosen, as my Problem of Practice, the insufficient support provided by my institution for Academic Chairs. Applying a value-based distributive leadership approach to organizational change, I hope to strengthen the support for these leaders, so they may feel empowered by, respected in, and satisfied with, their professional roles. Solutions to this end are provided by an Organizational Improvement Plan guided by Deszca et al.’s (2020) change path model, Gopichandran et al.’s (2012) ethical framework, Lavis et al.’s (2003) knowledge mobilization framework, and Markiewicz and Patrick’s (2016) monitoring and evaluation plan. Addressing this Problem of Practice will not only foster a healthy work environment, but promote social justice and academic excellence in higher education. As these leaders become increasingly vulnerable, so do the programs they oversee, leaving the institution at risk of compromising its mandate to provide its students with the best quality education.