Completion by Design

CbD is a national initiative to improve community college graduation rates.

Completion by Design


Completion by Design (CbD) is a national initiative to improve community college graduation rates, important not only for students and their families, but also for communities and the nation. As Jamie Merisotis, CEO of the Lumina Foundation, states, “For the nation to attain, not just economic security, but social justice and cohesion, college success must expand dramatically.”1


CbD has three key goals:

  1. To increase dramatically the number of students who earn certificates and degrees,

  2. To improve the success rates of students who transfer to four-year institutions and

  3. To raise the value of certificates and degrees in the labor market.


CbD aims to raise graduation rates for large numbers of students while

  1. Containing college costs,

  2. Maintaining open access and

  3. Ensuring the quality of college programs and credentials.


Mitchell’s CbD project engages the campus community in working together to promote greater student success. In Fall 2014, Mitchell joined other NC community colleges in the Student Success Learning Institute, a collaborative effort of SuccessNC and Completion by Design.


In January 2015, Mitchell’s CbD Team began its work “to review, rethink, and ultimately, redesign [the College’s] organizational systems, policies, and practices to raise student completion rates.”2


The CbD Team spent the spring semester learning about student success by

  1. Reviewing Mitchell, state and national data,

  2. Studying “best practices” in the field,

  3. Researching results of other colleges’ initiatives and

  4. Gathering feedback and suggestions from Mitchell employees and students.


These ideas, strategies, and practices formed the basis of the Mitchell CbD Action Plan, which includes recommendations for continuous engagement, collaborative planning and strategic implementation during succeeding phases of the five-year project to foster greater student success.


For more information, contact CbD Team Leader, Dr. Roxanne Newton, Dean of Faculty Development and Student Engagement, at



1  A Stronger Nation through Higher Education (2015)  

2 Building a Culture of Inquiry: Using a Cycle of Exploring Research and Data to Improve Student Success (2013)