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Clemente Australia is a collaboration of Australian Catholic University (ACU) with not-for-profit agencies, other universities and the broader community directed to developing and implementing a model for community-embedded, socially-supported university education. It involves people from backgrounds of disadvantage taking semester length university courses in the humanities for credit.

The paper presents an integrative model explaining the development of personal agency through the Clemente Australia program. In terms of the model, Clemente Australia builds ideas of hope, meaning, and identity into the personal narratives of participants through reflection on their experiences in the program and the competencies and changed expectancies that these bring. This integrative model can both shed light upon participants’ reports of the program and suggest ways of making it more effective.

Data drawn from Clemente student case studies are analysed with respect to changes in personal agency and social inclusion to show how the model can be used as a lens for understanding the benefits of community-embedded, socially-supported university humanities education.


Institute for Advancing Community Engagement

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Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access

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Psychology Commons