Date of Conferral







Alice Eichholz


Canadian universities are educating an increasingly diverse student body and have a role in rectifying inequities and educating students to contribute to a democratic and inclusive society, but little is known about how mainstream leaders understand such leadership. The purpose of this study was to examine how mainstream Canadian postsecondary leaders in Canada describe and understand their leadership related to social justice and educational equity. Critical social theory and applied critical leadership theory guided this study. This basic qualitative study using semistructured interviews explored how 11 mainstream postsecondary leaders have understood and promoted social justice and educational equity. Data analysis employed the use of open coding, reflective journaling, and the formation of themes. Participants found social justice and educational equity relevant to their leadership role, connecting the concepts with their values, ideals, experience, and roles. Experiences in their family of formation, formative years, the family of partnership, formal education, and scholarly discipline all contributed to disposition, capacity, and agency to promote social justice and educational equity. The leaders’ ability to self-reflect and understand their identity in managing diverse contexts for the promotion of social justice and educational equity was critical. While a positive orientation was evident, a comprehensive unified approach to social justice and educational equity in postsecondary was not. This study may assist in identifying the gaps in postsecondary leaders understanding of social justice and educational equity and may contribute to positive social change by showing potential developmental pathways for postsecondary leadership education programs.