The Holy See’s participation in the Bologna Process (which was formalized on September 19, 2003 during the meeting of EU Education Minister in Berlin) was also motivated by the wish to pursue and achieve a number of objectives that are envisaged by the Bologna Process itself, such as:
• Respect for University systems’ specificity and diversity;
• Establishment of a Common Space of Higher Education that favors University Institutions’ involvement at international level;
• Attention towards quality as an inherent and necessary value for research and innovation in universities.
Hence, the Agency of the Holy See for the Evaluation and the Promotion of Quality in Ecclesiastical Universities and Faculties (AVEPRO) was erected by the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI with the Chirograph of September 19, 2007 as an Institution that is connected to the Holy See, pursuant to Articles 186 and 190-191 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus (in AAS 80  910-911).
The Agency’s task is to promote and develop a culture of quality within academic institutions that directly depend on the Holy See, and provide them with qualitative criteria that are valid at international level. In compliance with the Holy See’s legislation on higher education, the Agency is fully autonomous in carrying out its activities.
AVEPRO’s activity is regulated by the Apostolic Constitution Sapientia christiana (April 15, 1979) and is in line with European Standards and Guidelines, as well as with other international agreements that pertain to norms and procedures for quality assessment in higher education.
AVEPRO works with academic institutions to define internal quality evaluation procedures for teaching, research, and services, through the development and use of adequate operational tools (guidelines, questionnaires, data bases, information networks, etc). Furthermore, it schedules external evaluation procedures for individual academic institutions, by organizing on-site expert visits.
Fully respecting the autonomy with which it carries out its activities, the Agency works together with all subjects who are interested in the life and progress of ecclesiastical Universities and Faculties: institutions, the Congregation for Catholic Education, Catholic Bishops’ conferences, all international, national, and regional authorities, and all those who work in the dioceses of countries where academic institutions are located.
The President manages and represents the Agency and chairs the Board of Directors and Scientific Council;
The Board of Directors approves the Agency’s general approaches and supervises its activities, verifying the results;
The Scientific Council assists the President in conducting the Agency’s activities.
The Director and Staff are also part of the Agency. The Director, in accordance with the orders and instructions of the President, coordinates the work of the offices and staff in the implementation of the Agency’s programs and execution of its tasks, and is in charge of both management and accounting aspects of the Agency’s administration.
The Agencies resorts to experts to carry out external evaluations.