Created in 2014, expanding on programming at a small, historic site curated by the History Department at Slippery Rock University, the CPH is at the forefront of a growing movement among scholars and activists to create learning communities that extend beyond the boundary of the college classroom.
The CPH provides an opportunity for university and community members to engage as partners and demonstrate the vital contribution of the humanities to all areas of contemporary life. In this way, the CPH continues to break down barriers that hinder a wider dissemination of humanities programming and education for often isolated and sometimes marginalized populations.
While the CPH sponsors a variety of public programs – including community reading programs, historic foodways workshops, digital humanities projects, and more – the Humanities Ladder has become its flagship initiative.
The Humanities Ladder is an adaptation of the proven Clemente Course, which offers college-level humanities courses to low-income adult students with no access to such educational opportunities. By helping students to understand their own experiences through the rich legacy of the humanities, the course brings intellectual empowerment to people who have been limited by economic, social, or political forces. The CPH began an adaptation of the Clemente Course model in September 2015 in collaboration with Aliquippa School District in Beaver County, PA.
In December 2016, the CPH was awarded a $100,000 Humanities Access Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for the Humanities Ladder Program.