Alumna Dissertation Examines Higher Education’s Immunity to Change

Dr. Brittany MotleyDirector and Principal Consultant at the Education Advisory Board (EAB) in Washington, DC. and PhD in Leadership and Change recent alumna Dr. Brittany Motley has published her dissertation entitled, Higher Education’s Immunity to Change: Understanding How Leaders Make Meaning of Their Student Success Landscape. The research looks into equity amongst higher education with the goal to provide scholarship to the field which informs the closing of long-standing gaps in the sector. Dr. Motley employed participatory action research coupled with a modified approach to immunity to change (ITC) coaching framework to assist student success stakeholders referred to as “ITC participants. This qualitative research approach revealed three key findings: (a) understanding problems that relate to equity requires disaggregating data; (b) staff who are on the ground are key in understanding student success and creating a student-centered culture; and (c) leaders’ beliefs are translated into actions and demonstrated in structures and policies created. Dr. Motley’s expertise ties closely with this new dissertation in that her extensive experience focuses on cultivating partnerships between higher education institutions to optimize their student success efforts to close equity gaps finding innovative ways to create access and remove barriers for underserved students. She has spent her career working in the higher education sector specializing in holistic student support, change management in higher education, advancing equity, and creating inclusive cultures.