Bard College Clemente Course in the Humanities

For nearly two decades, The Care Center has offered High School Equivalency students and other low-income women in the community The Clemente Course in the Humanities, a multi-faceted class focusing on art history, moral philosophy, American history, literature and writing. Bard College awards the college credits and works closely with our cadre of top-notch professors to deliver a comprehensive college experience within The Care Center facility.

Clemente student and her son at graduation

Clemente student and her son at graduation

This humanities course was first developed by Earl Shorris for low-income people at the Roberto Clemente Center in Manhattan, and is now implemented in programs worldwide. The course at The Care Center is the longest continuously-running Clemente course in the country, and remains the only one exclusively serving women. Care Center students as well as other low-income women in the community take this course together, reinforcing the message that education is for women of all ages; often aunts, mothers and grandmothers take Clemente together. This has led The Care Center to have a reputation as the “go to” place for women to take the first step toward starting college. On average, 80 percent of the women completing the Clemente Course continue their college education.

The project is based on the belief that by studying the humanities, those who are economically and educationally disadvantaged can acquire the cultural knowledge and conceptual skills to improve their personal and social situations and become active participants in civic life. The course also has the goal of strengthening participants’ sense of personal responsibility, developing respect for the power of reason and dialogue, and providing a compelling mechanism for expanding the sense of what is possible.

Thanks to the generous support of many individuals who believe in the power of the humanities, the course is free of charge and those students who complete course requirements receive six college credits from Bard College. Daycare, transportation, tutoring, and books are provided to students free of charge as well.