CUNY: Building a Strategic Vision – At Home in College

CUNY employees review Post-Its during a design thinking workshop CUNY staff develop an empathy map. A CUNY employee fills out an empathy map.
Professional Trainings, Social Impact Strategy
About This Project


Growing organizational capacity by aligning values and goals.


CUNY’s At Home in College (AHC) works with NYC public high schools to prepare students for college-level academics and prevent remedial coursework. Their small team was looking to build unity and grow their capacity for collaborative work.




TYTHEdesign stepped in to support AHC in defining their shared vision, mission, values, and guiding principles.  With a focus on team collaboration, we developed a fully customized two-part process to define At Home in College’s core work. The first workshop used design thinking to help tell the motivations behind AHC’s work, beginning with a collective discovery process that ensured voices at every level of the organization were heard. The second workshop built on group input by focusing on participatory decision-making. In both workshops, exercises alternated between group input and individual feedback to determine where misalignment existed and build upon common threads.




A Cohesive Value Proposition

Each workshop drew out new information and ideas around At Home in College’s unique value proposition, its audience, and what drives their daily work.


A New Organizational Storyline

By the end of our second workshop, the group had crafted a strong storyline that included their vision, mission, values, and guiding principles.


Collective Prioritization

The process allowed CUNY staff to calibrate their priorities and pinpoint opportunities to integrate shared values into their working environment. Moving forward, their team is reshaping their communications to reflect their shared vision and revising its review system to incorporate their values into staff evaluation.


Rebranding Launch

In the fall of 2015 the CUNY team rebranded the initiative,  to including the updated mission, vision and values, co-created during workshops.



Client: At Home in College, CUNY


FacilitatorsKristina Drury, Marta Aubia


Year: 2015