Following several years of experience and work, the Agency is delighted to publish its new Guidelines for Evaluation and Promotion of Quality. These documents will be valid for all evaluation processes launched from 1 January 2019. This means that Institutions beginning their OWN SELF-EVALUATION after 1 January 2019 will be required to adhere to the new Guidelines. Institutions that have already begun the process of self-evaluation and expect to undergo their evaluation visit by 31 December 2019 may still use the previous Guidelines when drafting their documents. In any case, the evaluation visits that take place after 1 January 2020 will make exclusive reference to the new Guidelines.
When preparing the new documents, two main challenges were dealt with: on the one hand the growing need to emphasise the process aspect of Quality Assurance, or in other words ensure that Quality Assurance constitutes a constant activity with the Holy See’s Higher Education System; and on the other hand, the desire expressed by many Institutions to strengthen the connection between Quality and Strategic Planning.
This section contains the main documents which, together with the Sapientia christiana, constitute the basis for evaluations. In this context, it is important to point out that there are two types of university level academic centres of education in the Catholic Church, which are distinguished according to the aims and contents of their study programmes:
1) Ecclesiastical universities and faculties;
2) Catholic Universities.
Ecclesiastical universities, faculties and other academic institutions carry out teaching and research in disciplines related to the Christian revelation and are therefore involved in the Church’s mission of evangelization. These institutions are governed by a common international body of academic laws, based on the 1983 Code of Canon Law (canons 815-821), the 1979 Apostolic Constitution Sapientia christiana and the Ordinationes (implementing measures) of the CEC. They grant academic qualifications under the authority of the Holy See. The civil recognition of ecclesiastical academic qualifications must be regulated by the national laws of the country in which the institution is based in line with international agreements – such as the Lisbon Convention – and with bilateral agreements with other States, when present.
Ecclesiastical universities must comprise at least four faculties, three of which are usually the classical faculties cited by the Sapientia christiana: Theology, Canon Law and Philosophy. A faculty deals in depth with a specific area of knowledge according to the appropriate scientific method. Studies are divided into three cycles, at the end of which the following academic qualifications are awarded: Baccalaureate, Licentiate, Doctorate.
Ecclesiastical faculties can be either independent or part of an ecclesiastical or Catholic, public or private university.
There are other types of ecclesiastical Institutions in addition to universities and ecclesiastical faculties:
• affiliated institutions - institutions that offer only first cycle courses, which are connected to a faculty for the purpose of granting first cycle degrees;
• aggregated institutions - offering first and second cycle courses, connected to a faculty for the purpose of granting first and second cycle degrees;
• incorporated institutions - offering second and/or third cycle courses and connected to a faculty for the purpose of granting the corresponding academic qualifications;
• Higher Institutes of Religious Sciences (HIRS) - offering only first and second cycle degree courses; they are connected to and under the academic control of ecclesiastical faculties of Theology. The aim of HIRS is to promote the religious training of both lay and ordained people for professional roles within heart of contemporary society (Congregation for Catholic Education, Reform of the Higher Institutes of Religious Sciences, art. 2);
• various ecclesiastical academic centres which have the academic form of institutions “ad instar Facultatis”, or other forms, grant the relevant ecclesiastical qualifications.
Listed below is a selection of useful Quality Assurance documents and tools.
Internal evaluation documents:
External evaluation documents: