Mission and values
After a century of university experience, at COMILLAS we are keenly aware that a great many things have changed since the university was founded. Spanish universities have moved on from the education of a select social minority toward a more universal social mission. Catholicism is no longer the Official State Religion and the Church has lived through the fruitful opening of the Second Vatican Council. Spanish society has assumed a more European and even global character.
The effect of these profound changes on COMILLAS can be seen in the University's move from Comillas to Madrid, in the broad expansion of its educational offer (Humanities and Technical Sciences as well as Ecclesiastic Sciences) and in its ongoing commitment to evolution and modernization based on solid and permanent foundations. Our university mission is firmly rooted within the framework of this evolutionary process, of the growing plurality of Spanish universities and new social and ecclesiastic needs and challenges.
However, when it comes to defining this mission we are all too aware of the lacuna that will always exist between the ideal and the actual reality of the human world.
A University above all else
COMILLAS accepts and endorses the definition of a University set forth in the "Magna Charta Universitatum", signed in Bologna in 1988: "... an academic community that, in a rigorous and critical manner, contributes to the protection and development of human dignity and cultural heritage through research, teaching and providing a diverse range of services to local, national and international communities".
We nurture Science and transfer scientific knowledge
- Through the growing shared development of research in all specialist areas of study, as the basis and evolution of all transferred knowledge and the responses provided by the University to today's big questions. Because universities are nothing without research.
- Through the teaching offered in all three cycles of university education, the complementary and permanent programs taught at our various Institutions and our specialist courses.
- Through the progressive adaptation of degrees and programs to the professional needs and requirements of Spanish society. So that the time spent at out University equips students with bright employment prospects and prepares them to make an effective contribution to society through comprehensive professional preparation.
- And, in particular, as the University's founding principle; through the contribution made to university-level ecclesiastic training for candidates to the priesthood and for pastoral agents, creating dialog-based structures so that theological disciplines can maintain their rightful place in the world of knowledge and the message of faith is transmitted in the right way throughout the modern-day academic community.
But Science alone is not enough... We strive to encompass the full reality of humankind and the World we live in
In response to the growing fragmentation of knowledge as it becomes increasing dispersed through new branches of science and specialist areas, COMILLAS aspires: to a systematic approach to reality in all its most complex manifestations; to an interdisciplinary method in research and teaching practices, and to the proposal and search for solutions to human and social problems.
Personal development alongside academic progress
Our aim is that every person to form part of our University receives a comprehensive education: focusing not only on academic training but also on their own free will, their human, ethical and aesthetic awareness, capacity for personal reflection and sense of responsibility. In short, COMILLAS aims to contribute to the full personal development of all its students.
Values can be described as the things that we, as human beings, value; the principles for which we are prepared to make sacrifices. They give meaning to our existence. They influence the way we think, how we feel and the action we take. No training or education program for human beings can be permitted the luxury of foregoing some kind of values.
COMILLAS will select and promote, within its own individual nature, but always in the most independent manner, the personal and social values it feels are fundamental to any given society, and especially in divided and unjust societies: mutual respect, interpersonal dialog, responsible freedom, the search for justice and peace, quantified professionalism, accessibility, helping others, solidarity with those who are most in need and a critical, balanced and long-term outlook.
Insistence on a critical approach
A solid base for building a critical approach requires science, the interdisciplinary search for Truth, the assimilation of fundamental values and a deep understanding of social reality. It is only upon these foundations that a truly human and global critical approach can be developed and applied. This critical approach must serve to discern any human manifestation.
COMILLAS can only promote a critical approach among its students if, as an institution, it also adopts this attitude. Therefore, the University sees self-criticism as a personal obligation, carried out through internal debate and critical analysis of the social and cultural situations in which it is immersed.
Local, national and international dimension
All universities today structure their service mission around these three areas, which cannot be achieved without ongoing interaction based on knowledge and exchange between these dimensions.
COMILLAS will always aim to maintain: a broad and open dialog with the academic, cultural, scientific and socioeconomic world in Madrid and throughout Spain; a constant commitment to global social and cultural development, particularly in Europe and Latin America, and a systematic international connection with other universities and university organizations.
We aspire to quality
None of the tasks or aspects required to establish an authentic university can be said to constitute a true service to society if they do not have the intrinsic quality guaranteed by the level of social approval gained by COMILLAS. We aim to make true quality our distinctive characteristic, and especially in our current times when all too often this word is used rhetorically and its meaning is being lost.
Our university is Catholic
COMILLAS was established by the Vatican and is run by the Society of Jesus. This reality is essential to our mission and shapes it in a very specific way.
Humankind, the center of the world. Jesus Christ, the center of humankind
No university education can claim to be comprehensive and founded on authentic values if it is not shaped by a specific perception of humankind. COMILLAS upholds, along with all its consequences, the Christian perception of humankind. That is: we adopt the Gospel in all its dimensions, together with the insertion in the Church as a basic community.
Christian response to fundamental questions
As human beings, it is in our nature to question ourselves and the world about us. We seek answers to life's big questions such as where we come from, the meaning of our lives and the world around us, about our past and what happens when we die. What is the meaning of Human life? Of our own individual existence? The University offers a Christian response to these questions based on the message of Jesus of Nazareth. With His support, we seek the deepest possible understanding of the mysteries that form an inevitable part of our lives. COMILLAS looks to achieve such ambitious aims through a concerted dedication to theological and philosophical scientific progress with a crucial humanism element.
Freedom to explore
COMILLAS proposes this approach, but it does not impose it. Because religious freedom and respect are upheld both within and outside the University and because confessional freedom forms the very roots of the University's Catholic faith. We will always promote, at the deepest level, authentic human freedom.
Impact on university life
The Christian view of life, humankind and society provides a host of intrinsic and enriching benefits:
- The search for truth aspires to arrive at the ultimate Truth of God This search should be at the heart of all teaching and research, not to distort science but rather to reach the vital point of convergence between science and faith at which Truth can be found. This has been the motivation, among other projects and resources, for our desire to build a large library as both a tool and symbol of religious sciences and humanities.
- There must be regular dialog between religion and culture. These are not two unrelated worlds. They are constantly interconnecting in our own thoughts and hearts as we search for our own internal balance and synthesis.
- The primacy of human values can be seen in the selection and focus of the degrees and courses taught at the University.
- Professionals who train at COMILLAS should never forget their obligation to others to be first and foremost fellow men and women. Beyond merely obtaining a degree certificate, our efforts should be focused on promoting justice and offering a compassionate and effective service to others, and especially to those who are most in need.
- The University's autonomy will always be respected; however, this autonomy must also coexist alongside its own mission and the tangible link it maintains with the Church.
- The community dimension of the Church reinforces the shift from a merely rhetorical to a genuine academic community, in which directors, lecturers, students and non-teaching staff form special bonds through their shared dedication to the University and acceptance of evangelical values. This all translates into a unique environment based on freedom, mutual respect and esteem, genuine dialog and awareness of shared responsibility.
Impact at personal and group level
In keeping with these ideas and conclusions, COMILLAS, in its internal dealings, proposes for
- The broadest possible accessibility for all, supported by a diverse system of grants and personal loans.
- Permanent academic targets, but also a strong sense of personal responsibility. The student is the central figure in their own learning process.
- Individual support and guidance through direct interaction with lecturers and personal monitoring.
- A personal talent for self-transformation in order to become agents of social change and to create and drive forward new business, economic and social activities. Any profession should be seen as a service to others and a chance to promote justice. COMILLAS believes that this goal is greatly hindered by studying at university for the sole purpose of securing future employment.
- Academic autonomy and chair freedom, supported by proven professionalism and ongoing training.
- Social and financial recognition of the importance of their work and the corresponding responsibility in the attached to this profession.
- Identification with the COMILLAS university mission, which at the very least should cover recognition and respect for this mission and which can be seen through joint academic projects and other activities that support it.
- Selection, education in the university mission, access to interdisciplinary projects and team work. A mentality based on the greatest possible dedication to the University.
All members of the COMILLAS community
Are invited to embrace the idea that team work, genuine collaboration and shared responsibility constitute a social obligation and a enriching mutual experience. Awareness of this can be seen through the maximum appreciation of the moral authority born from professional competence and bearing witness to life, and through joint ongoing evaluation of all university activity, the university's own mission and its ability to adapt to new contexts and challenges over time.
COMILLAS is aware that it has not and will not achieve all the goals set out in its university mission and wishes to expressly extend this intrinsic limitation to all educational institutions. However, it also confirms its desire to continually evolve and to always remain in touch with the changing realities, problems and needs of humankind, society and the Church.
(Approved by the Governing Board on March 28, 2011)
The Comillas Pontifical University, in accordance with its aims and commitments as set forth in the Preamble to the University's Statutes, strives to ensure that no discrimination whatsoever should occur in any of its regulations or activities due to birth, racial or ethnic origin, gender, religion, belief or opinion, age, disability, sexual identity or orientation, illness, language or any other personal or social condition or circumstance, directing all university activity toward the utmost respect of human rights, social progress, the culture of peace, respect for the Environment and sustainable development.
The Comillas Pontifical University will adopt all necessary measures to establish the procedures and tools that will allow for the eradication and prevention of any behavior or situation that may contradict any fundamental right and will attempt to include a balanced number of males and females on all its decision-making bodies.