The University outlines the following key characteristics that shall define and serve as reference points for its community development programs:
- Discipline-based. Extension stems from, relates to, or at least complements an existing academic or research program, or a combination of these. The University thus promotes community development programs in all disciplinary areas and is open to a variety of ways in terms of communicating and transferring knowledge and technology that cater to the needs of the larger society, committed as it were to the amelioration of the quality of life in all frontiers. As such, the University looks forward to the active engagement in community extension programs, of all the academic departments in its various schools.
- Research- backed and –guided. The University envisions the intertwining and mutual complementation between its community extension programs and research. These programs stimulate research activities relative to the assessment, analysis, and resolution of the target group’s needs and concerns. Thus, it is research that supports and provides the scholarly dimension of both extension and service learning, taking into cognizance its actual and potential contribution in the generation of knowledge that would have positive impact on the socio-politico-economic-cultural development and environmental and disaster.
- CICM mission-oriented. It is not enough that the University’s community extension programs bear local significance. Having been founded and inspired by the CICM missionaries, the University does not only seek to conform to the academic standards set forth by the State, but is conscious as well of her responsibility and identity as a missionary Catholic institution. As such, its community extension programs should be more transformative and more aligned to the CICM pastoral priorities which are directed towards the poor, the marginalized, the indigenous peoples, and the youth and for environmental protection. Moreover, these should also emanate from a spirit of volunteerism in the light of Christian missionary vocation as expected from the faculty, employees and students of a Catholic university.
- Collaborative and participatory. The University looks forward to engaging other stakeholders – target participants and partner agencies and individuals – in its community development programs. First, it shall solicit the input of the target groups during the preparation, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of its program/projects. Second, it likewise seeks to collaborate with other agencies who are working on related areas, instead of duplicating their efforts. In this regard, it shall enlist the support of its alumni as extension partners especially those who are actively engaged in similar social institutions.
- Sustainable. The University cannot address all the needs, problems and issues of the larger society, even those that are just within its immediate geographic location. The University can only do so much given its limited resources. While there are many possible community development programs, the need dictates that the University must be very prudent in pursuing programs that may be very demanding, financially or personnel-wise. The sustainability of a program’s impact on the part of the target group can be guaranteed only if the sustainability of an extension program is firmly assured first. Hence, proper allocation and optimal use of available resources shall be an imperative.