University and Catholic Identity

Mission and Vision 

The Pontifical University of the Holy Cross aims to establish an international forum of experts dedicated to exploring the fundamental elements that constitute the identity of universities. The focus will be on institutions inspired by Christian and religious values, encompassing those without a specific religious orientation but possessing a significant sense of identity. Our interest lies in examining how organizational identity breathes life into and shapes all facets and dimensions of their operations.

This project will establish an international and interdisciplinary platform to explore key themes related to the purpose, culture, and mission of a university.

The aim of the research

  1. Integration around Purpose: One of the primary challenges lies in harmonizing the overarching identity of the university with the specific vision and purpose of higher education.
  2. Conceptual Map: The current context suggests the need for developing a comprehensive conceptual map that delineates the various domains where identity plays a crucial role in the governance and operations of universities. 
  3. Wide-ranging Vision: Identity consolidates diverse approaches and perspectives within a unified framework. This includes mission-oriented governance, an institutional culture steeped in justice and charity, effective communication that aptly conveys this identity, and the alignment of research and teaching.  The third mission of the university should be part of the institution’s overarching purpose.
  4. Harmonization: This project seamlessly blends the academic and research dimensions with the practical or professional aspect through networking, training activities, and knowledge dissemination. Achieving this involves the collaboration of researchers and thinkers alongside individuals actively engaged in these issues.

We aim to assemble the world's leading experts in the field of university identity. This initiative will enrich the areas of identity, governance, culture, communication, and integral human formation.

In addition to three ongoing research projects on university purpose, an expert meeting, and a biennial conference, our short-term endeavors include developing a special issue of the Journal Church, Communication & Culture focusing on universities from both secular and religious perspectives. Scholars and experts from our global network will contribute fresh research, two case studies, and an in-depth interview on the purpose of universities. The publication is scheduled for the fall of 2024.



On Friday, February 23rd, 2024, a work meeting was convened with Andrea Rodríguez Prat, a researcher and the Director of the Institute Cultura y Pensamiento at the Barcelona International University of Catalonia, as the special guest.

The primary focus of the meeting was to discuss the improvement of best practices and information regarding the core curriculum. Additionally, the discussion revolved around how core curriculum subjects are approached in international universities, the most effective methods for organizing core curriculum to meet student needs, and the potential intellectual and existential impact on students.

On January 31, 2024, the deadline for participating in the second Call for Projects, launched last September to welcome interdisciplinary and international research proposals, expired. Fourteen project proposals involving 53 professors from Santa Croce and a significant number of researchers from other universities were received.

Each proposal will be scientifically evaluated by a group of experts, both internal and external to the University, coordinated by the Scientific Committee composed of professors Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti and Héctor Franceschi from Santa Croce and Professor Ángel J. Gómez Montoro from the University of Navarra. Subsequently, the projects will be validated and approved by the Rector's Council, taking into account the available financial resources.

Following a Call for Projects, launched in July 2022, to gather proposals related to the university’s academic development, the first research projects for the coming academic years have recently been selected.

Each proposal was analyzed and evaluated by a scientific committee, made up of our own professors and professors from other universities, according to qualitative and quantitative criteria. They were then approved by a steering committee and approved by the Rector’s Board.


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