UCA has since evolved to be one of the best institutions of higher learning in Central America (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama). This is the case, despite the university's focus on playing a decisive role in the transformation of the unjust Salvadoran society. Such a focus within the Salvadoran context has driven the university to give priority to undergraduate degrees, research within the social sciences, popular presentation of research results ("proyección social") and local peer-reviewed journals. All of these are elements which formally reduce the university's impact in international rankings. In the 1970s and 1980s during the Civil War in El Salvador, UCA was known as the home of several internationally recognized Jesuit scholars and intellectuals, including Jon Sobrino, Ignacio Ellacuría, Ignacio Martín-Baró, and Segundo Montes. They were outspoken against the abuses of the Salvadoran military and government, and carried out research to demonstrate the effects of the war and poverty in the country. The extreme social conditions in El Salvador provided a very rich empirical basis for innovative research within sociology, social anthropology, philosophy, social psychology and theology. These scholars made important and lasting contributions within these fields. Ellacuría, Martín-Baró and Segundo Montes, along with three other Jesuit professors, their housekeeper and her daughter, were murdered by the Salvadoran Armed forces on November 16, 1989 in one of the most notorious episodes from the Civil War (see The murdered scholars of UCA).