The mission of Catholic Distance University is to communicate the mind and heart of the Church in a digital world. Using distance education, the university educates teachers and learners worldwide in Catholic theology, the liberal arts, and faith development for the growth of faith, ecclesial service, and leadership for the New Evangelization.
Motto, Vision, and Institutional Principles
The motto of CDU is Joy from the Truth, Gaudium de Veritate.
Catholic Distance University through its academic programs, its expertise in distance education, and its commitment to a strong learning community, fosters an encounter with the living God in Jesus Christ who is the “way, the truth, and the life.” (Jn 14:6)
In his Apostolic Constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae, Pope Saint John Paul II stated that, “[a Catholic university] shares that Gaudium de Veritate, so precious to St. Augustine, which is that joy of searching for, discovering, and communicating truth in every field of knowledge.” (Ex Corde Ecclesiae, 1)
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI reminded Catholic educators, “First and foremost every Catholic educational institution is a place to encounter the living God who in Jesus Christ reveals his transforming love and truth.” (cf. Spe Salvi 4). (Address, Catholic University of America, April 17, 2008)
Pope Francis described the goal of Catholic education, “To prepare hearts, that the Lord might manifest Himself…” (Address: Vatican Global Education Conference, November 21, 2015)
The following principles express the institutional vision
- Guided by the Apostolic Constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae, Catholic Distance University’s curriculum faithfully transmits the teachings of the Catholic Church, promotes the authentic renewal of the Second Vatican Council, and illuminates recent papal documents in support of the New Evangelization.
- Catholic Distance University provides accredited education that reflects a commitment to academic excellence. This includes qualified faculty, a sound curriculum, and systematic academic programs, including graduate, undergraduate, degree and certificate programs that enhance professional careers and foster lifelong learning.
- Catholic Distance University uses distance education to provide universal access to its educational programs and services through the Internet. Digital communication enables CDU to accommodate learners in their various unique circumstances.
- Catholic Distance University serves the Catholic Church’s mission of the New Evangelization through partnerships with dioceses and organizations, and uses current research to inform program development and support the educational goals and needs of the faithful, especially the underserved.
- Catholic Distance University fosters a vibrant learning community among students, faculty, alumni, and staff through its interactive online campus and academic programs that deepen the encounter with the living God in communion with the Church.
Catholic Distance University with a singular focus of Theology and Religious Education in the modality of distance education is guided by the Apostolic Constitution of Pope St. John Paul II, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, “Born from the Heart of the Church”. In addition to the University’s motto, vision, and institutional principles, our institutional outcomes also reflect the “Mission of Service of a Catholic University” as described in the Apostolic Constitution (Ex Corde Ecclesiae, 30).
In the words of the Holy Father, “The basic mission of a University is a continuous quest for truth through its research, and the preservation and communication of knowledge for the good of society. A Catholic University participates in this mission with its own specific characteristics and purposes” (Ex Corde Ecclesiae, 30).
Catholic Distance University’s Institutional Outcomes are valued traits cultivated within the CDU learning community that serve as desired outcomes across all degree and non-degree programs:
- Lifelong Formation
- Faith Development
- Theological Understanding for Life and Ministry
- Communication for Community
- Collaboration for the Common Good
The students will:
- –value lifelong formation for service and leadership in the Church and Society. To this end CDU is committed to a comprehensive curriculum that enriches every academic level by promoting the integral growth of its students and providing an awareness of the richness of Gospel principles and the living Tradition of the Church. Lifelong formation instills a capacity for promoting an understanding of the lay vocation and equips Church leaders to give witness to the faith in the world (cf. Ex Corde Ecclesiae, 20). (Lifelong Formation)
- –encounter the living word of God in a manner that is profound and life-changing, and that deepens faith working through love, preparing them for active participation in the life of the Church” (ECE, 41). To this end Catholic Distance University offers theological and religious education programs and courses that promote the integration of knowledge across the theological disciplines based on the dialogue between faith and reason and leading to the unity of all truth (cf. Ex Corde Ecclesiae, 17). (Faith Development)
- –pursue the study of the various theological disciplines so as to become truly competent in the specific sectors in which they will devote themselves to the service of society and of the Church, and, at the same time, be prepared to give the witness of their faith to the world. (cf. Ex Corde Ecclesiae #20) To this end, Catholic Distance University teaches Catholic theology in a manner faithful to Scripture, Tradition, and the Church’s Magisterium that provides an intellectual encounterwith changeless truths and strengthens the critical understanding of Gospel principles which enrich the meaning of human life and ministry and shed light on questions in contemporary culture. (cf. Ex Corde Ecclesiae, 20) (Theological Understanding for Life and Ministry)
- –articulate Church teaching and doctrine with clarity and insight that foster an experience of the communion of the Church and a spirit of missionary evangelization for the transformation of the culture (cf. Ex Corde Ecclesiae, 48). To this end Catholic Distance University promotes the formation of authentic human community animated by the spirit of Christ, a common dedication to the truth and vision of the human person, offering theological education in a faith-context that forms men and women capable of rational and critical judgment (cf. Ex Corde Ecclesiae, 21, 49). Technology, specifically distance education, is the means by which the University community is developed and sustained. (Communication for Community)
- –demonstrate intellectual and collaborative skills that foster leadership for the common good and which equip them to integrate faith with life and actively participate in the pastoral ministry of the Church. To this end Catholic Distance University’s programs and courses foster a fruitful dialogue between the Gospel and culture that is open to Revelation and transcendence (cf. Ex Corde Ecclesiae, 43). (Collaboration for the Common Good)
Accountability for Mission
To assess its primary mission, CDU is committed to ongoing assessment and evaluation of its academic programs. This assessment and evaluation process is directed by the Assessment Committee (AC) and assists the faculty and staff in addressing the alignment of institutional outcomes with degree program goals, department (concentration) objectives, and course syllabi. The AC also develops assessment instruments, rubrics, and juried assessment tools and provides data analyses for administration and faculty review that lead to institutional improvement. In addition, the Board of Trustees annually engages in the assessment of its effectiveness in guiding the University to fulfill its mission.