Interfaith Cohort

Interfaith Literacy Introduction

See the 50 minute film of the introduction presented by Sister Martha Ann Kirk (Religious Studies, Ettling Center for Civic Leadership and Sustainability), Dr. Lopita Nath (History) and Dr. Susan Hall (Center for Teaching and Learning) View the video presentation here.

View the powerpoint presentations from presentation below:

Thank you,

Sister Martha Ann Kirk, Th.D.
Director of the "Furthering Interfaith Literacy, Fluency and Service" Grant Program
Phone: (210) 883-5934

We are grateful to the Interfaith Youth Core for this "Interfaith Innovation Grant."

Interfaith Literacy, Fluency, and Service

The Interfaith Youth Core proclaims, “We live at a time when people of different faith backgrounds are interacting with greater frequency than ever before. We hear the stories of people who seek to make faith a barrier of division or a bomb of destruction all too often. Instead, we view religious and philosophical traditions as bridges of cooperation. Our interfaith movement builds religious pluralism. We define religious pluralism as a world characterized by: Respect for people's diverse religious and non-religious identities, Mutually inspiring relationships between people of different backgrounds, and Common action for the common good.”  Learn more at the Interfaith Youth Core site.

The Interfaith Youth Core (IYC) has awarded UIW an “Interfaith Innovation Grant” starting in August 2017, and is funding efforts to promote education, understanding and service. UIW joins the IYC which believes that “college students, supported by their campuses, can be the interfaith leaders needed to make religion a bridge and not a barrier.”

The University of the Incarnate Word Mission statement says, “The University of the Incarnate Word is a Catholic institution that welcomes to its community persons of diverse backgrounds, in the belief that their respectful interaction advances the discovery of truth, mutual understanding, self-realization and the common good.” “Diverse backgrounds,” including interfaith diversity, is held as a positive value. Learn more at UIW by the Numbers.

Visit the  ECCLS Faculty Engagement site for links to information on various religious traditions.


Primary sacred times for world religions:

The Charter for Compassion has wisdom from the heart of the world’s great religions and philosophies. With many people working together the movement grew in San Antonio. The San Antonio City Council passed the Compassionate City Resolution unanimously June 22, 2017. Let us all help San Antonio grow as a Compassionate City.

UIW was “born in civic engagement.” In the 1860s the San Antonio mayor asked for help because there was no public healthcare. Then three young French women, the first Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word of San Antonio, Texas, responded and founded the first hospital in our city. The University is rooted in this history of compassionate care for the sick, the orphans and the uneducated. We continue developing innovative and compassionate service in light of today's pressing needs. Interfaith literacy is a pressing need.

We encourage you to do service uniting with people of different faiths and serving people of different faiths. Learn of various community partners who seek service. We encourage reflection on the service and teachers developing service learning in their classes. Learn more about  UIW faculty engagement.

Interfaith Service Opportunities

UIW is a Catholic school and because of that promotes interfaith understanding. To learn of growing interfaith awareness and encouragement in the Catholic Church, see the resources of the  Scarboro Missions.

The Pluralism Project at Harvard University has extensive resources for learning about the great variety of religious traditions in the U.S.

The Interfaith Youth Core offers ways that students can become leaders in the interfaith movement and campuses can be models for society. Visit  IFYC's Interfaith Youth Core and learn more of the interfaith story.

Cohort Invitation

Furthering Interfaith Literacy, Fluency, and Service Partnerships

A Grant Program funded by the Interfaith Youth Core

Fifteen faculty members will be accepted into the program which begins with an introductory session “Interfaith Literacy for All UIW Employees,” shared by Sister Martha Ann Kirk, Religious Studies; Dr. Lopita Nath, History; Dr. Susan Hall, Center for Teaching and Learning.

If you were not able to attend, view the video presentation here.

The Introductory Session for All Employees: In a religiously diverse community, faculty may need to interpret the University policy on “Class Absences for Religious Observances.” Those working in student services may find it helpful to understand how religious practices influence students’ experience of the dining room or residence hall. Personally and professionally, our lives can be enriched by an introduction to the main faith traditions of our students. Participants will learn about important holidays in these traditions. Faculty will be invited to consider participating in a year-long initiative called “Interfaith Literacy, Fluency and Service” Learn from the UIW Interfaith website.

Faculty who wish to be part of the “interfaith fluency cohort” will then have opportunities 1) to attend support gatherings in November and January, 2) to get regular information on interfaith programming on and off campus for them and their students and information on service opportunities, and 3) to get mentoring.

An “Interfaith Fluency and Service” gathering open to the public will be held in April with 1) the faculty cohort sharing examples of what was done and learned and 2) the Ettling Center for Civic Leadership and Sustainability sharing information on community partners who have helped us built interfaith bridges.

$150 stipend (plus 22% fringe benefits) for 15 faculty who participate in the fall and spring "Interfaith Literacy, Fluency and Service” cohort. To register, please email Sr. Martha Ann Kirk at

Dr. Lopita Nath and Sister Martha Ann Kirk joined presidents and their representatives from about 250 universities on August 3, 2011, at the White House Eisenhower Executive Office Building to open a year of activities in response to President Obama's Interfaith Service Challenge. UIW was recognized for service to refugees and has continued that service.

We are grateful to the Interfaith Youth Core for a Campus Interfaith Innovation Grant.

Class Absences for Religious Observances Policy, Main Campus and Extended Academic Programs

Effective Date: Summer 2016 Approved by Provost: February 8, 2016


The University of the Incarnate Word welcomes persons of diverse backgrounds and is therefore committed to providing reasonable accommodations for students wanting to attend religious observances even though they may conflict with university class meetings, assignments or examinations. This policy is intended to ensure that both faculty and students are fully aware of their rights and responsibilities in the accommodation of students' religious observances.

Policy Requirements
  1. Notification of Faculty - Students must inform instructors in writing at least two weeks before the religious holy days or religious activities, but preferably at the beginning of the semester, to enable planning and coordination of class assignments and examinations. In some professional schools the dean's approval will also be required.
  2. Making up missed work
    1. With instructor permission, make-up exams and assignments will be scheduled to be completed before the religious observance if possible or within a reasonable and specified time after the observance;
    2. Make-up work must be equivalent to and no more difficult than the original assignments;
    3. It is not appropriate to excuse a student from make-up work and consequently reduce the student’s grade;
    4. Students are not required to prove attendance at religious observances in order to complete make-up work and complete a course;
    5. Because of time limitations at the end of the semester, this policy does not apply to the final exam period; student do have the option of requesting an incomplete grade (IP) for the course if the religious observance occurs at the end of the semester.
  3. Disputes and Appeals - Should disagreements arise over any aspect of this policy, the student or instructor should contact the Office of the Dean of the college or school that has oversight over the respective course. The procedures for the Student Complaint Policy are found in the UIW Student Handbook & Student Code of Conduct.
  4. Communication of Policy
    1. The policy and procedure above are to be printed in the UIW Student Handbook & Student Code of Conduct.
      1. International Student & Scholar Services will include the policy in the International Student Handbook and Welcome Week literature. 
      2. The policy will be included in the Faculty Handbook (Chapter 7 Policies and Procedures on Instruction).
      3. The policy as stated above will be included in the Undergraduate and Graduate Bulletins under “Attendance.”
      4. Faculty will include the following statement in the course syllabus and announce the procedure the first day of class.
  5. Class Absences for Religious Observances

The University of the Incarnate Word welcomes persons of diverse backgrounds and is therefore committed to providing reasonable accommodations for students wanting to attend religious observances and who will miss class. Students must inform instructors at least two weeks prior to attending a religious observance. Students use the form found in the UIW Student Handbook and Student Code of Conduct to request accommodations from the instructor.