Presentation of the RSU guide
Three years ago, the General Secretariat of the International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU) proposed to launch a vast study on the social responsibility of Catholic universities (RSU) around the world. One of the particularities of the Federation is to study themes in a comparative manner, and thus from a resolutely international and multicultural perspective. Given the global challenges facing higher education, it seemed relevant to examine how the notion of social responsibility was translated, understood and, of course, implemented in the various countries where our member universities are present.
For universities whose questioning of their Catholic identity is a constant stimulus, it was also interesting to study how the order of values and sometimes norms, presented in Catholic social teaching, could be institutionalized and put into practice within university policies, and in the engagement of universities within their ecosystems. As Pope Francis continues to call on Catholic universities to articulate head, heart, and hands, meaning that research and teaching must be translated into action for the betterment of life in our societies, This research on social responsibility is also a reminder of the importance of the university’s commitment as a teaching, research and service community in a world marked by globalization, with all its advantages but also all its drawbacks.
Under the responsibility of Dr. Montserrat Alom, Director of our International Center for Research and Decision Support (CIRAD), an international team of researchers and consultants were called upon to define what social responsibility of Catholic universities could mean. The result is the Newman Reference Framework, which is without doubt the most complete reference framework on this issue to date. This book is intended to help our member universities to undertake a process of evaluation of their practices in this field, as an accompaniment to the training courses that FIUC offers on the Social Responsibility of Universities. Let us hope that it will initiate a fruitful and useful process for our universities in the service of society.