Clemente Breaks Down Barriers
Back in 2008 Adaline Russell joined a handful of other students at the first Clemente course offered at VIU. The grandmother of six vividly recalls the first days she became a VIU student. She says during that time in her life she was severely depressed. Despite this, when she heard about the Clemente course she found the strength to put her name in.
“At the time my mental health support worker drove me to and from the classroom because I couldn’t get there on my own,” said Russell. “After three weeks we were on our way home and she looked at me and said: ‘My goodness, you have a smile on your face!’ I thought about it and said: ‘Yes, I am really enjoying what I’m learning.’ I was finally being stimulated intellectually and I realized that was what was missing from my life.”More ...
How colleges and the government deny poor students a second chance
National Endowment for the Humanities features
the Clemente Course
"The world improves when each one of us becomes better. The Odyssey Project achieves one of the kindest acts: it encourages us to look within ourselves, to seek a better world and the most important, it gives us hope to find it."
Odyssey Project, Chicago,IL
A Bard College Clemente Course
To the Clemente Course in the Humanities, for improving the lives of disadvantaged adults. The Clemente Course has brought free humanities education to thousands of men and women, enriching their lives and broadening their horizons.
(from the White House citation)
"If one has been 'trained' in the ways of poverty, what is needed is a beginning, not a repetition... If we learn through the humanities to want to seek freedom, to be beginners, if we learn to live a life not of reaction but of reflection, then we're prepared to go on to do wonderful things and have a full life. We're free in ways that other people are not."
Earl Shorris, Founder, Clemente Course in the Humanities
The Clemente Course in the Humanities® is a unique educational institution founded in 1995 to teach the humanities at the college level to people living in economic distress.
The course works in conjunction with faculty from leading colleges and universities on five continents. Students learn through dialogue about moral philosophy, literature, history, art history, critical thinking, and writing.
More than ten thousand students worldwide have attended a Clemente course, and over fifty percent have successfully completed it.
The aim of the course is to bring the clarity and beauty of the humanities to people who have been deprived of these riches through economic, social, or political forces. While the course is not intended as preparation for college, many students have gone on to two- and four-year colleges.
There is no tuition; books are provided, and the college credits offered in most courses are readily transferable to other institutions.
In addition to free tuition and books, access to child care and transportation is provided without charge.
The Clemente Project
Two nights a week, at a community center in Dorchester, Ma, a group of adults discuss Aristotle, Virginia Woolf and Picasso's Guernica, in the rigorous Clemente Course in the Humanities. The students value their time here, as their life circumstances have made college a deferred dream. Inside the classroom, their studies give rise to vigorous debate; outside, to some unexpected life changes.