The Holy See’s Agency for the Evaluation and Promotion of Quality in Ecclesiastical Universities and Faculties (AVEPRO), established by the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI on 19 September 2007, is an institution connected to the Holy See, as provided by arts. 186 and 190-191 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus. The Agency’s duty is to promote and develop a culture of quality within the academic institutions that depend directly on the Holy See and ensure they possess internationally valid quality criteria.
The Holy See’s adhesion to the Bologna Process (which took place on 19 September 2003, during a meeting of the European Union Ministers of Education in Berlin) was determined by its desire to pursue and achieve certain objectives included in the Bologna Process, such as:
- respect for the specificity and diversity of the various university systems; - creation of a common European Higher Education Area to encourage the involvement of university institutions in an international dimension; - focus on quality as a value intrinsic to and necessary for research and innovation in universities. AVEPRO’s activities are regulated by the Apostolic Constitution Veritatis gaudium (8 December 2017) and it conforms to the European Standards and Guidelines, as well as other international agreements concerning rules and procedures for the evaluation of quality in higher education. The Agency collaborates with academic institutions in defining internal procedures to evaluate the quality of teaching, research and services, which is done through the development and use of appropriate operational tools (guidelines, questionnaires, databases, information networks, etc.). AVEPRO also organizes external evaluation procedures for individual academic institutions and arranges visits to them by experts.
In accordance with the Agency’s independent nature, it collaborates with all actors interested in the life and progress of ecclesiastical universities and faculties: the institutions themselves, the Congregation for Catholic Education, the Episcopal Conferences, all regional, national and international authorities, and all those who work in the various dioceses of countries in which ecclesiastical academic institutions are based.