Press Release: New Bedford Clemente Course in the Humanities, offering free college classes for low-income adults
Date: September 7, 2011
The Clemente Course provides college-level instruction in the humanities to economically disadvantaged adults. Classes are free, and books, child-care and transportation are all provided to students free of charge. Class are held on Monday and Thursday evenings, from 6pm to 8pm.
Students enrolled in the Course will take classes in Moral Philosophy, American History, Art History, Literature, Writing and Public Speaking. All classes are taught by college professors.
"The Course is designed to provide citizens with a bridge to higher education, while helping them to build and recover the skills of critical self-reflection and verbal and literary expression essential for self-governance and full economic and political participation in a democracy," according to the Academic Director, Dr. Mark Santow. Dr. Santow is also an Associate Professor and Chair of History at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
First started in New York City in the mid-1990s by the writer Earl Shorris, the Clemente Course in the Humanities now has programs in dozens of states. Over 1000 people nationwide have gone on to college after graduating from Clemente.
Classes will be held at the PACE Head Start Center at 247 Smith Street, in New Bedford's West End. PACE will provide on-site childcare for participants, as well as transportation to and from class.
The 2011-2012 academic year will begin on Thursday September 15, though applications will be accepted into the following week.
Clemente, now in its 7th year in New Bedford, is sponsored by PACE, the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, and the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.
Because New Bedford is one of the poorest cities in Massachusetts, and has one of the lowest levels of educational attainment in the state as well, the Clemente Course is one tool to help its low-income citizens achieve upward social mobility. "Educational attainment remains the surest individual path to economic self-sufficiency. By helping poor citizens get a foot in the door of higher education, the Clemente Course provides them with an opportunity to pull themselves and their families out of poverty," said Dr. Santow.
The literature professor for New Bedford Clemente, Dr. Jennette Riley, became involved in the Course because it fit her belief in providing equal opportunity for everyone. "I was drawn by the opportunity to work with people in the New Bedford area, and to do something that could have a real effect on people's lives," she said. Riley, who is a Professor at UMass-Dartmouth, marvels at her students' ability to juggle jobs, family and economic struggles while still diligently attending classes and embracing the opportunity to learn. "The Clemente Course is about helping people realize the value of the humanities and arts in their lives -- and this is something that leads to lifelong learning and an increased appreciation of culture and the world around us."
Anyone interested in enrolling in the New Bedford Clemente Course in the Humanities should contact Bruce Morell at PACE (508 999-9920), or Academic Director Mark Santow (508 910 6419; firstname.lastname@example.org) immediately. All applicants will complete an application, and be interviewed by Dr. Santow.
An application can also be completed online, by going to http://chantsdemocratic.blogspot.com/p/clemente-course-in-humanities.html