Bard Clemente Course in the Humanities

History and Philosophy

History and Philosophy
The Bard College Clemente Course in the Humanities grew out of recognizing that many low-income residents have limited access to college education and no opportunity to study the humanities. The Clemente Course bridges that gap by making humanities instruction accessible to disadvantaged members of our communities, giving them the opportunity to reengage with education.

Our History

Author Earl Shorris piloted the course at the Roberto Clemente Family Guidance Center on East 13th Street in Manhattan, New York City, in 1995. In 2000, President and Mrs. Clinton awarded him a National Humanities Medal. Since that time, Bard College has offered the class more than 100 times in 14 states and the District of Columbia. More than 3,000 students have enrolled in the course, many of whom have earned college credit and continued to further their educations. The Clemente Courses have spread well beyond Bard's aegis. LEARN MORE > >

Our Philosophy

Bard's Clemente Course in the Humanities offers the opportunity for intellectual development while providing a foundation for additional education and enhanced social and political participation. In so doing, the program unlocks potential in low-income communities that would otherwise go undeveloped. Through the creation of humanities courses in underserved communities nationwide, Bard College works to transform the lives of thousands of individuals who now live in poverty, thereby bringing our nation closer to the ideals of equality, justice, and democracy on which it is founded.

Affiliate Programs

The national director at Bard supervises each Bard Clemente Course. Bard is responsible for the academic program, reviewing for approval the selection of all faculty and course plans, while also providing technical and fundraising assistance. Bard hosts meetings of course directors, faculty, and other interested individuals in order to share experiences and to address issues of common concern, such as student retention, curriculum, pedagogical techniques, and fundraising.

New Directions

Together with operation of the Clemente Course, Bard has taken steps to expand the program in new directions. At some sites, Bard offers an advanced second-year seminar for Clemente Course graduates unable to matriculate immediately into college, but desiring to continue their education. This course, called the Bridge Course, was developed in response to the requests of graduates of the programs in New York City. VIEW MORE >>