|dc.description.abstract||We cannot analyse higher education without first examining the context in which higher education institutions must accomplish their mission. The world around us has growing increasingly complex, with alarming imbalances indeed, ours is a world of great inequality and inconsistency. Paradoxically, as the world becomes a greater whole, it sometimes appears to be shrinking. Globalization and interdependence among societies are today the general trend. Globalization is at once obvious, subconscious and omnipresent (Morin, 1999). It is also multifaceted, and should therefore be seen as a dynamic, heterogeneous process, rather than as a single reality. For some, globalization has brought benefits and opened new paths; for others, it has meant the loss of leadership and autonomy, as well as the social fragmentation of the world, in the service of the global economy. The world should be different from what it is. We are responsible for constructing available future for coming generations. Democracy, equity, social justice, peace, harmony and environmental conservation are important issues that require a positive transformation. Universities remain the most important institutions of higher education. They bring together that which has survived, that which is now living, and that which is still to come (Fuentes, 2002). These social institutions carry out strategic functions in cultural, scientific and technological development, as well as in projects of societal consolidation. This new world we envision requires a new sort of university one which creatively re-examines its missions and functions, and which reinvents itself, if necessary, in order to meet the challenges of contemporary circumstances. Universities must continue to serve as places for reflection and creativity, and as the developers of tools for social analysis, critical reflection and sustainability. At universities, new generations acquire the skills, knowledge and values that will all ow them to make good decisions throughout their lives. Logically, the educational content, the values and the abilities that students acquire must be in tune with society's new needs. Relevance should therefore be the main criterion used in determining whether higher education institutions are fulfilling their social function. Over the years, universities have been concerned about their relevance and their ability to respond to society in general. As a result of this concern, social changes have had a considerable impact on higher education institutions. In evaluating the relevance of an institution, therefore, we must take into account its original characteristics, its diversity, its various missions and objectives, and its organization. This preliminary analysis makes it possible to link relevance to quality. Efforts to improve the quality of higher education such as accreditation systems must not fail to consider the criterion of relevance. Quality is the result of a set of actions that respond to society's needs at a particular moment in time. Therefore, accreditation systems aimed at guaranteeing quality cannot conform to a single, universal model, or be based solely on theory and abstraction, or respond exclusively to market trends. This thesis describes a system of qualitative criteria and indicators that take social commitment into account. This system is designed to be used in accreditation processes to guarantee the quality of higher education institutions.