Scholarship and research are part of all ACU's key community engagements including Clemente, to ensure the outcomes, impacts and key learnings of these programs are reported and inform public policy. 

Impact and benefits of Clemente

As a direct result of their participation and study in Clemente, students have developed:

  • better personal health and wellbeing – through increased self-understanding, confidence, productivity and management of their own health
  • a sense of belonging to a social group and a wider capacity for social engagement
  • key competencies, communication skills and capacities for volunteer and paid work.

In interviews, Clemente students reported improvements in a number of areas including:

  • writing skills
  • time management and planning skills
  • communication skills
  • critical thinking skills
  • skills for future work
  • skills to help in a time of crisis
  • broadening horizons - new personal goals and aspirations, new ways of viewing the world
  • confidence to enrol in further university study.

2012 Australian Research Council report

Key findings of the 2012 Australian Research Council report “We are part of our own solutions” on Clemente included:

  1. The students are diverse, with a multitude of individual experiences. However, considered as a group they are faring significantly worse than other Australians in a range of areas, including health, employment, financial situation and quality of life. In the year prior to entering the study two in five students had to go without food when hungry.
  2. Participation supports students in strengthening and developing their personal agency and in making significant and sometimes dramatic changes in their lives, most notably in the areas of personal learning skills, self-confidence, health and wellbeing, and in what they see as future possibilities for themselves. After 12 months, students have developed better time management, planning, communication and writing skills. Students report a significant increase in the skills developed to cope with a crisis, and they are also less socially isolated than on entry.
  3. Indicative results, at twelve months, show that close to two-thirds (60%) of the costs of running the program are offset by savings to government in the health and justice areas examined by the study. Results point to a potential cost offset of $14,624 per student that may be achieved by the program. This is nearly three times the cost of program delivery per student.
  4. The interrelatedness of people and processes in creating a learning space that is connected and relevant to the daily lives of people is the key factor contributing to the changes within individuals. Central in bringing about such changes is the personal agency of the students. Their personal agency supports the building of a range of new relationships to provide a basis for changes that are broader than educational achievement.

Read the full report: We’re part of our own solution: Social inclusion through community embedded, socially-supported university education (PDF 3.4MB)

Research enquiries

Associate Professor Peter Howard, National Leader, Clemente Australia 
First Peoples and Equity Pathways Directorate
+61 2 9701 4318 

Catherine Metcalfe, Clemente Australia National Student and Liaison Officer 
First Peoples and Equity Pathways Directorate
+61 2 9701 4442

Papers and presentations

Australian and international research papers and presentations

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