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The gaps in graduation and retention rates between ethnic and gender groups continue to be a foremost area of focus at Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC), The City University of New York (CUNY). Equity and inclusion is also a critical concern as it relates to faculty and staff. At BMCC, a college-wide initiative, Designing for Success, is seeking to improve declining retention and graduation rates. At its core is the question, “Have we designed our operations to produce these results?” The answer is, “Yes”. BMCC’s Designing for Success strategic planning process seeks to re-design administrative processes and teaching in an effort to eradicate these gaps through efforts which include a community-wide discussion and action planning on equity and inclusion inspired by the charrette process. The charrette creates small groups that meet on more than one occasion to identify critical barriers to addressing equity and inclusion and develops action plans for addressing these barriers from stakeholders at all levels of an organization. This paper proposes that public scholarship is at the core of the charrette process, that it is uniquely appropriate for the higher education environment and moves the community from a “discussion” of the barriers to fully engaging the entire college community in meaningful action-oriented strategic planning.


This work was originally published in the Community College Journal of Research and Practice, available at



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