A partnership between two different units of the City University of New York–Kingsborough Community College and the CUNY Graduate Center–the Brooklyn Public Scholars (BPS) created a faculty community of practice that enlarged the capacity of Kingsborough faculty and students to confront critical issues facing the working-class immigrant communities in which many students live. The project was funded by a Demonstration Site Grant from Bringing Theory to Practice.
Participating faculty connected their own research interests to community-based teaching and research projects that engaged Brooklyn communities. Their revised courses involved more than 1200 students and helped to transform the curriculum at a time when Kingsborough Community College was implementing a new civic engagement graduation requirement.
The BPS Project also focused on inclusive curricular design that helped students build on their strengths and develop the skills to address issues affecting their lives and communities. More than half of Kingsborough’s students were born outside of the U.S.; most speak another language besides English. The campus is in one of the most diverse counties in the United States, with many students deeply involved in their communities. Centering classroom inquiry on these strengths, the BPS project provided a framework for designing community-based research projects as links between the academy and social justice struggles.