The Catholic University of America

Archived June 2006: Changes reflect updates to the June 2002 version of the Faculty Handbook. Additions to the 2002 version are shown in the blue text below. Deletions are shown in red.

Faculty Handbook Part 1


1. Mission Statement
2. The University's Catholic Identity
3. Statement on Academic Freedom
4. Bylaws
5. Constitution of the Academic Senate

1. Mission Statement

In the reorganization of the University's governance in the late 1960s the formulation of institutional mission found in the 1937 "Statutes of The Catholic University of America" (Appendix, n. 6) was reconsidered in the light of the Second Vatican Council (1962‑1965). University‑wide discussions in academic year 1967‑1968 resulted in a "Statement of Objectives," regularly referred to as the "Aims of the University" and published in each issue of the Announcements since its adoption.

The statement was prepared by the Academic Senate and, after further mutual discussion, adopted by both that body and the Board of Trustees in 1968. In 1970 the Apostolic See, by action of the Roman Congregation for Catholic Education, approved the statement of aims, along with the Bylaws of the University completed in 1969 (below).

To complement the statement of aims approved by the Board of Trustees on July 26, 1968, the Academic Senate prepared a second document, "Goals of The Catholic University of America" (Appendix, n. 8). It was intended to develop operational goals from the basic institutional aims enunciated in the 1968 statement of aims and was approved by the Senate in the same year. This document was not acted upon by the Board of Trustees at that time, but was included in the Faculty Handbook for a number of years.

After deliberations in academic years 1977‑1978 and 1978‑1979 and in consultation with the Faculties, the Academic Senate produced a revision of the 1968 "Goals of the University," and this document was submitted to the Board of Trustees on September 6, 1979. With further revision by a joint committee of the two bodies, the text was approved by the Academic Senate on May 7, 1980, and by the Board of Trustees on June 21 of that year.

Finally, in the wake of a University Self‑Study in 1988‑1989 and a visit on behalf of the Commission onf Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools in 1990, the possibility of combining the two statements, with any necessary revisions, into a single mission statement was studied. On November 21, 1991, the Academic Senate voted to incorporate the two documents, of 1968 and 1980, into a single mission statement but without change in either document.

The Mission Statement of The Catholic University of America

I. Aims of the University

The Catholic University of America is a community of scholars, both faculty and students, set apart to discover, preserve, and impart the truth in all its forms, with particular reference to the needs and opportunities of the nation. As a university, it is essentially a free and autonomous center of study and an agency serving the needs of human society. It welcomes the collaboration of all scholars of good will who, through the process of study and reflection, contribute to these aims in an atmosphere of academic competence where freedom is fostered and where the only constraint upon truth is truth itself.

As a Catholic University, it desires to cultivate and impart an understanding of the Christian faith within the context of all forms of human inquiry and values. It seeks to assure, in an institutional manner, the proper intellectual and academic witness

to Christian inspiration in individuals and in the community, and to provide a place for continuing reflection, in the light of Christian faith, upon the growing treasure of human knowledge.

As a member of the American academic community, it accepts the standards and procedures of American institutions and seeks to achieve distinction within the academic world.

Faithful to the Christian message as it comes through the Church and faithful to its own national traditions, The Catholic University of America has unique responsibilities to be of service to Christian thought and education in the Catholic Community as well as to serve the nation and the world.

II. Goals of the University

The Catholic University of America was founded in the name of the Catholic Church in the United States by Pope Leo XIII and the bishops of this country as a national institution of learning. Given its origins and the historic role of its ecclesiastical faculties, this University has a responsibility to the Church in the United States that is special to it: it is called to be an intellectual center of highest quality, where the relation between revealed truth and human truth can be examined in depth and with authority. It seeks, moreover, to do this in the light of the American experience. It is for this reason that from its inception the University has enjoyed a unique relationship with the Holy See and the entire Catholic community.

Established as a center for graduate study, The Catholic University of America has evolved into a modern American university, committed not only to graduate, but also to undergraduate and professional education and to the cultivation of the arts. At every level, the University is dedicated to the advancement of learning and particularly to the development of knowledge in the light of Christian revelation, convinced that faith is consistent with reason and that theology and other religious studies themselves profit from the broader context of critical inquiry, experimentation, and reflection.

The University aims at achieving and maintaining in higher education a leading place among Catholic and other privately endowed, research oriented institutions of comparable size, purpose, and tradition. In particular, it seeks to maintain a position of special excellence in the fields of theology, philosophy and canon law.

The University seeks the advancement of knowledge within a context of liberal studies, a context which reflects both its concern for the whole person and the distinctive wisdom to which it is heir as a Catholic institution. This dimension of learning is reflected particularly in its undergraduate programs where religious studies and philosophy are regarded as integral to curricula that include requirements in the arts and humanities, language and literature, and the natural and social sciences. Through its professional programs, the University seeks to educate men and women who can represent their respective professions with distinction and who are formed by the learning and values inherent in its academic and Catholic traditions.

In selecting disciplines or fields of specialization to be supported at an advanced level of study and research, the University accords priority to religious and philosophical studies and to those programs which advance the Catholic tradition of humanistic learning and which serve the contemporary and future needs of society and the Church. In supporting particular programs the University takes into account the present and potential quality of program, making an effort to maintain present academic strengths, especially when these are not represented elsewhere.

The University recognizes that its distinctive character ultimately depends on the intellectual and moral quality of its members. To create an environment that is intellectually stimulating and characterized by the generosity and mutual support required for collegial life and personal growth, the University seeks men and women who are not only professionally competent but who can contribute to its Catholic, moral, and cultural milieu. The University seeks to preserve its tradition of collegial governance, fostering a climate within which all members of the University community have sufficient opportunities to influence deliberation and choice.

Though a research and teaching institution, the University recognizes that it is part of a larger community to which it has certain obligations consistent with its character. Its presence in the Nation's Capitol and its unique relationship with the Catholic Church in America provide it with opportunities for influencing the resolution of the crucial issues of our time. In providing information and criteria by which public policy is shaped and measured, the University seeks to be of special service to the nation. Similarly, it seeks to be of service to the Church, not only through the preparation of clergy and other leaders for specific roles in the Church, but through factual investigations and discussions of principles which influence policy. Thus, in dialogue and cooperation with contemporary society, The Catholic University of America sees itself as faithful to the challenge proposed by the Second Vatican Council for institutions of higher learning, namely, to put forth every effort so that "the Christian mind may achieve . . . a public, persistent, and universal presence in the whole enterprise of advancing higher culture" (Gravissimum educationis, n. 10).

The Catholic University gives primacy to scholarship and scientific research and to the training of future scholars through its graduate programs, not only in order to advance scientific work but because it recognizes that undergraduate and professional education of high quality also demands the presence of a faculty that combines teaching and professional activity with fundamental scholarship.

2. The University's Catholic Identity

The very name of the University and its historic relationship to and within the Catholic Church from the time of its establishment by the bishops make abundantly clear its Catholic nature and character. In addition to its Mission Statement, the University is guided with regard to its Catholic identity by the Code of Canon Law (Canons 807 - 821) and relevant ecclesiastical documents that include the documents of the Second Vatican Council; the Apostolic Constitution, Ex Corde Ecclesiae (1990), which pertains to all Catholic universities; the Apostolic Constitution, Sapientia Christiana (1979), which pertains specifically to the ecclesiastical faculties in the Schools of Canon Law, Philosophy, and Theology and Religious Studies; and other pronouncements of the Holy See and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In 1990 Pope John Paul II issued the Apostolic Constitution, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, as the guiding document for Catholic universities and colleges. Ex Corde Ecclesiae presents four essential characteristics of a Catholic university: (1) a Christian inspiration not only of individuals but of the entire university community; (2) continuing reflection in the light of the Catholic faith upon the growing treasury of human knowledge to which the university seeks to contribute by its own research; (3) fidelity to the Christian message as it is comes through the Church; and (4) an institutional commitment to the service of the people of God and of the human family (n. 13). The Apostolic Constitution goes on to state that: "In a Catholic university, therefore, Catholic ideals and principles penetrate and inform university activities in accordance with the proper nature and autonomy of these activities" (n. 14). And, further, "A Catholic University, therefore, is a place of research, where scholars scrutinize reality with the methods proper to each academic discipline, and so contribute to the treasury of human knowledge. . . . In a Catholic university, research necessarily includes (a) the search for an integration of knowledge, (b) a dialogue between faith and reason, (c) an ethical concern, and (d) a theological perspective (n. 15).

The founders of The Catholic University of America desired an internationally respected institution that accentuated the Catholic contribution to American culture and maintained the highest standards of academic research. The ideal of a Catholic university becomes a reality when the faculty at The Catholic University of America affirms and acts upon the principles contained in the University's Mission Statement. Each member of the faculty, indeed every employee of the university, regardless of his or her religious affiliation, is expected in virtue of their contract of employment to respect and support the University's Mission Statement. In addition, each member of the faculty has a responsibility to reflect on ways in which his or her research contributes to the University's identity, especially as described in Ex Corde Ecclesiae, whether in general or in specific, as is appropriate to the discipline in which the faculty member works. By themselves and in isolation from other academic units, the University's ecclesiastical faculties and its required courses in philosophy and theology cannot alone sustain the institution's religious identity. Promoting the institution's Catholic identity is the responsibility of the entire University community. Indeed, a candidate's willingness to respect and contribute to the mission of the University is a consideration in the tenure process.

The Catholic University of America aspires to the pursuit of knowledge through the lens of faith and reason. The University recognizes that no genuine question is outside the potential interest of a Catholic university. "[A]ccepting the legitimate autonomy of human culture and especially of the academic disciplines," a Catholic university "recognizes the academic freedom of scholars in each discipline in accordance with its own principles and proper methods, and within the confines of the truth and the common good." (n. 29) There are, however, areas of investigation that one might expect to be promoted at a Catholic university and other areas that one might not expect. These derive, most obviously, from the concerns of such an institution: (a) to transmit the heritage of Catholic thought and life to a new generation; (b) to advance an understanding of that heritage in itself; and (c) to relate that heritage to new problems, theoretical and practical, as these arise.

3. Statement on Academic Freedom

In 1990 the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, on the occasion of its reaffirmation of accreditation, invited the University to develop a statement concerning academic freedom. See Bylaws II, 9, concerning "guarantees with respect to academic freedom" (below); the above mission statement; and the Canonical Statutes of the Ecclesiastical Faculties V, 11.

During the academic year 1990‑1991 a Joint Task Force of the Board of Trustees and the Academic Senate developed such a document. After a series of revisions and consultation by the Senate with the Faculties, the following text was approved by the Academic Senate on March 28, 1991, and by the Board of Trustees on June 4, 1991.

Statement on Academic Freedom

The Catholic University of America

The Catholic University of America affirms its commitment to academic freedom. In so doing, it reaffirms its commitment to the tradition of higher learning that is the heritage of both the Roman Catholic Church and the nation. It is a tradition grounded on respect for truth, social responsibility and individual rights. It is a tradition that posits freedom of inquiry, open discussion and unrestricted exchange of ideas as essential to the pursuit of knowledge.

In the tradition of American universities and in accord with Catholic teaching, The Catholic University of America upholds academic freedom as a fundamental condition for research and dissemination of information. The University is a center of discourse where inquiry is encouraged and discoveries are verified and refined by the interaction of scholar with scholar. The Catholic University of America respects the right and responsibility of its faculty and students to conduct research, to publish their findings, and to discuss ideas according to the principles, sources and methods of their academic disciplines. These principles, sources and methods, as they develop over time, are not external to their respective disciplines. The University sanctions and encourages investigation of unexplored phenomena, advancement of knowledge, and critical examination of ideas, old and new. The University accepts the responsibility of protecting both teacher and student from being forced to deny truth that has

been discovered or to assert claims that have not been established in the discipline.

Where the faculty is concerned, academic freedom presupposes, first of all, personal integrity in dealing with students, peers and officers of the University. Second, it presumes scholarly competence, observance of the professional standards of one's discipline, commitment to the stated mission of the University, and an openness to having one's ideas and findings subjected to the judgment of one's peers. Third, faculty members have a responsibility as professional scholars to be accurate and judicious in their public statements, and respectful of the opinions and responsibilities of others.

The Catholic University of America, from its establishment, has voluntarily embraced a special relationship with the Church. This relationship, with the mutual responsibilities involved, has been made an internal and constitutive part of its mission. Accordingly, priority is given to the study of Catholic theology and related disciplines. In the tradition of the Church, theology serves the Christian community by seeking to express the abiding truth of Christ in human terms and, thereby, to mediate between faith and culture. Theology contributes to an understanding of faith and becomes a means of communicating the Church's teachings to the community of believers and to society at large.

As an academic discipline, Catholic theology is the systematic reflection on the data of revelation expressed in Sacred Scriptures

and Tradition as proclaimed, preserved and interpreted by the magisterium of the Church, and received by faith. The teachings of the magisterium are a necessary factor in ascertaining truth in the discipline of Catholic theology. The Catholic University of America affirms its commitment to safeguard the freedom that is necessary if theologians are to pursue the disciplined study of Christian faith in the Catholic tradition according to rigorous standards of scientific investigation. The University recognizes that scholars use diverse methods and sources to explicate the original deposit of faith and to discern patterns of doctrinal development over the centuries. The University also recognizes that freedom of inquiry, thought and expression is requisite to the advancement of knowledge and to the deepening of understanding in matters of faith.

As in the case of all other faculty members, the academic freedom of those engaged in theological disciplines presupposes personal integrity, scholarly competence, commitment to the mission of the University, observance of professional standards and openness to criticism from one's peers. In addition, Catholic theology acknowledges the singular responsibility of the Church's magisterium to safeguard the integrity of the Christian message, and to protect the faithful from erroneous teachings in faith and morals. Although the roles and responsibilities of theologians differ from those of bishops, theologians share a common goal with the magisterium in their service to the ecclesial community. Catholic theologians are expected to give assent to the teachings of the magisterium in keeping with the various degrees of assent

that are called for by authoritative teaching. Differences arising over the interpretation and presentation of Church teaching are resolved through dialogue of scholars with members of the magisterium, with due recognition that final authority in matters of faith and morals lies with the magisterium. Such dialogue is carried on in accordance with established procedures in a spirit of Christian charity and mutual, professional respect.

The Faculty Handbook outlines the norms and procedures relating the academic freedom with regard to initial appointment, tenured appointment and, where cause has been established, the dismissal of faculty members. In addition, Canonical Statutes govern appointments in the Ecclesiastical Faculties. These documents embody the institution's guarantees that its faculty enjoys the freedom of academic inquiry and expression that is central to its identity as a University authentically Catholic and distinctively American.

4. Bylaws (click here for archived clean copy)

The most recent revision of the University's governing documents was begun in 1967 as a result of the efforts of a newly appointed Special Committee on Survey and Objectives of the Board of Trustees. Dr. Carroll A. Hochwalt of St. Louis, Missouri, served as Chairman of the Committee that . It initiated a series of discussions intended to elucidate the University's purposes and character. Another Special Committee of which His Eminence, Lawrence Cardinal Shehan, Archbishop of Baltimore, was Chairman, undertook the revision of the papal statutes and the civil Bylaws then in effect. Their work resulted in the replacement of these instruments by a single document.

The Bylaws were approved by the Board of Trustees on September 12, 1969. The Holy See gave its approval to the Statement of Objectives, Historical Preface, and Bylaws on January 23, 1970, and they were promulgated by President Clarence C. Walton on February 6, 1970. Amendments subsequently adopted are incorporated in the text thatwhich follows. The most recent revision of the Bylaws was approved by the Board of Trustees on March 21, 2006.


(Approved by the Board of Trustees on March 8, 2005; Amended March 21, 2006)


The membership of this corporation shall consist of the members of the Board of Trustees.


1. The determination of policy and the supervision of the management of the corporation and the control and disposal of its property and funds shall be vested in the Board of Trustees whose total number shall not exceed fifty (50), of whom two (2) hold membership by right of office and forty-eight (48) are members elected for specific terms. The Chancellor of the University shall be a member of the Board of Trustees during the period in which he holds the Office of Chancellor. The President of the University shall be a member of the Board of Trustees during the period in which such person holds the office of President. The remaining forty-eight (48) (except for the Cardinal-diocesan Bishops as set forth in Par 1.a below) will serve for a specific term, not more than four (4) years in duration. Of these forty-eight elected members, twenty-four (24) shall be clerics and twenty-four (24) shall be laypersons. Of the required twenty-four elected clerics, at least eighteen (18) shall be members of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.

a. Cardinals who are diocesan bishops in the United States shall normally be counted among the clerical members of the Board of Trustees, but they may resign or decline to serve. Because of their office, their membership shall not be subject to any limitations imposed regarding length of service. In any case, their number will count as part of the 24 clerical positions on the board. Should a new Cardinal be appointed when there is no clerical vacancy on the Board, his appointment to the Board would be delayed until the next clerical vacancy.

b.For the purpose of this section, the word "cleric" shall be defined to include bishops and priests and deacons; all other persons are deemed to be lay.

c. Vacancies in the elected membership of Board of Trustees shall be filled by a majority vote of the Trustees present at a stated meeting from nominations provided by the Trusteeship Committee, provided appropriate thirty day notice is given prior to the election. The person elected shall serve for the balance of the term.

d. Elected members of the Board of Trustees who fail to attend three (3) successive meetings, unless excused by the Chairman of the Board, shall be considered to have resigned from the Board of Trustees, and any elected members may be removed for the good or welfare of the University by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Trustees attending any regular meeting, or a special meeting called for the purpose of considering removal.

e. Retirement from the Board of Trustees except for Cardinals who are Diocesan Bishops or The Chancellor is mandatory at the end of any term in which any elected member reaches the age of seventy-five.

f. On retirement from the Board, a Trustee who has reached the age of seventy (70) and has served at least two full terms may be elected a Trustee Emeritus by a vote of a majority of the Board upon recommendation of the Executive Committee. The committee shall take into consideration service rendered on the Board and the committees thereof, interest in the problems of the various elements of the University community and contributions to the formulation of the policies and plans of the University. Such a trustee will be elected a Trustee Emeritus for life, with the privilege of attending and participating in all meetings of the Board, but without vote.

g. The Board of Trustees shall permit the attendance at all but executive sessions of the Board of three (3) representatives of the Faculties, elected by the Faculties, and the elected President of the National Alumni Association. These representatives shall have the right to participate in such meetings without vote. The Board of Trustees may determine what non-voting representatives will be accorded to other University constituencies.

With the exception of the Secretary and the Recording Secretary, only voting members of the Board of Trustees and Trustees Emeriti normally shall be entitled to attend executive sessions of the Board of Trustees.

i. It shall be the duty of each Trustee to assist the University in securing financial contributions to the University by means of his or her own contributions and/or by actively participating in the solicitation of potential contributors to the University.

2. The elected members of the Board of Trustees (except for the Cardinal Diocesan Bishops) shall normally hold office for a regular term of four (4) years and may serve for two (2) additional terms of four (4) years. The board shall provide for staggered terms for its members at the appropriate annual meeting.

3. The Board of Trustees shall, on behalf of the corporation, hold title to all the property, real and personal and mixed, of The Catholic University of America and shall have the power to purchase, grant, bargain, sell, convey, lease, let or otherwise dispose of the same only in accordance with its Charter and any Amendments thereto, these Bylaws, the laws of the United States of America and the District of Columbia. The Chairman of the Board and the Chairman of the Finance Committee must be consulted as to any negotiations relating to matters set forth in this Subsection II. 3.

4. No purchase of property, lease, assignment, transfer or encumbrance of any substantial part of the real property or chattels of the corporation shall be made, nor shall the corporation be dissolved or any other action taken with respect to the termination or cessation of the operations of the University except by at least a three-quarters (3/4) vote of the full number of present and voting members of the Board of Trustees serving under these bylaws, provided 30 day written notice is given to Trustees prior to vote.

5. In addition to the Executive Committee, the Board shall establish the following standing committees for Academic Affairs, Audit, Development, Finance, Seminary, Student Affairs, and Trusteeship, which shall perform the duties normally performed by such committees. Further, the Board shall establish other such committees, as it may deem necessary or useful and define their function and authority and said committees will be equal in stature and rights to the standing committees herein above set forth. In addition, standing committee chairmen may form sub-committees in order to help their committee more efficiently carry out their responsibilities. The Chairman of the Board, after consultation with the President of the University, appoints the members and chairmen of standing committees.

Academic Senate

6. An Academic Senate is hereby created and shall share with the President the immediate responsibility for the academic governing of the University by establishing, maintaining, supervising and in general being responsible for the academic policies of the University. The Board of Trustees reserves unto itself the ultimate responsibility for governing the University and shall have sole responsibility in fiscal matters. The Senate shall adopt a constitution which, when approved by the Board of Trustees, shall be in full force and effect binding to the same extent as if incorporated in toto herein.

The Senate shall adopt rules and regulations pertaining to its operations and to the academic operation of the University. The enactments of the Senate require the president's approval for validity. If this is not forthcoming, the Senate may require, by subsequent vote, that the matter be submitted to the Board of Trustees. The Academic Senate shall give due consideration to the student welfare and representation in appropriate matters.

Termination of Schools: Tenure and Removal of Faculty

7. The Board of Trustees is empowered to create any new school or department or to eliminate any existing school or department of the University after first consulting with the Academic Senate and the Administration of th