In her evangelizing action, the Church has been particularly committed to promoting ecclesiastical Universities and Faculties, i.e. academic Institutions which study Christian Revelation, the subjects that are linked to it and those which are more closely connected to her mission (cf. SapChr Foreword III). «Since the destiny of society and of the Church is intimately linked with the progress of young people pursuing higher studies» (Gravissimum educationis 10), the Church is concerned with those Universities/Faculties that are significantly present in the local area where they operate, engaged in a healthy critical dialogue with contemporary culture and appropriately distributed in the various countries in order to facilitate student access, without compromising on excellence of education and academic activity.
In order to fulfill this mission, a quality culture must constantly be pursued, relying on general approaches that have gradually developed almost all over the world.
Therefore, evaluation is not really aimed at rewarding or punishing educational institutions, but rather to help them improve their ability to reach the goals for which they exist. This is all about supporting the development of educational processes as a whole and research, and not to exercise a kind of control aimed at punishing what is wrong. For this reason, innovative efforts involve all players right from the very beginning, and not just central and control bodies, so that they can all be the protagonists of quality improvement. In this sense, we might say that quality culture serves two purposes: a public purpose, whereby the study system is made reliable and transparent, by favoring its knowledge and also a healthy emulation among different teaching institutions; and an internal purpose, aimed at helping all stakeholders reach their institutional goals and think about the results of their activity, in order to make it better.
On this basis, the Holy See launched two new initiatives recently, in order to improve and foster the quality of Ecclesiastical Academic Institutions, that is the establishment of the AVEPRO Agency in 2007 and the publication of a Guide to Quality Culture in 2010.