Initiative

Interfaith Leadership in Higher Education

In recognition of the growing importance of religious identity, diversity, and equity on the national and global stage, AAC&U is partnering with Interfaith America to advance interfaith cooperation as a learning goal and practice on campuses.

Partners in Pluralism

Over the last several years, many campuses and nearby communities have become increasingly divided over issues of religious identity and political ideology. AAC&U partners with Interfaith America to help colleges and universities play a responsible role by embracing differences while maintaining a common life together. Through curricular and cocurricular models and campus programming, the Interfaith Leadership in Higher Education initiative helps shape campus culture by establishing best practices for engaging religious diversity, encouraging interfaith cooperation, and integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion into institutional interfaith practices.

The initiative was initially funded by the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, and thirty institutions participated. Now, with additional funding from the Lilly Endowment, the initiative prepares teams of college and university leaders from ten additional institutions each year to transform their campuses into model environments for interfaith cooperation. Ultimately, the initiative hopes to leverage and demonstrate the strength that comes from diversity and pluralism in campus communities and beyond.

About Interfaith America

Interfaith America works toward an America where people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions can find common values to build a shared life together. A national nonprofit organization, Interfaith America partners with American colleges and universities to prepare new generations of citizens and professionals to lead thoughtfully in a religiously diverse world.

Active since 2002, Interfaith America now has over 450 partner institutions in higher education, along with a growing network of alumni advancing interfaith cooperation across various aspects of American life.

Institute on Teaching and Learning for Campus-wide Interfaith Excellence

In conjunction with AAC&U’s Institute on Engaged and Integrative Learning, the annual Institute on Teaching and Learning for Campus-wide Interfaith Excellence prepares administrative, faculty, and staff leaders to transform their campuses into model environments for interfaith cooperation.

During the institute, colleges and universities create specific plans for integrating interfaith cooperation into campus life and for developing civic interfaith leaders with connections to institutional diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Over the course of four days, each campus team meets with a faculty advisor, attends sessions relevant to their project, develops a context-specific action plan, and consults with experts about key issues. Campus teams continue to receive guidance from Interfaith America and AAC&U after the institute.

Five students laugh at a picnic table outside while studying

Highlights from Participating Institutions

  • Curricular
    Curricular
  • Cocurricular Programming
    Cocurricular Programming
  • Integration of Interfaith and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives
    Integration of Interfaith and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives
  • Institutional Integration of Interfaith Initiatives
    Institutional Integration of Interfaith Initiatives
  • Professional Development
    Professional Development