Acts of Faith connects with the University's Baccalaureate Learning Outcomes, which include: exhibiting intercultural competencies with people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives; demosntrating critical, creative, and independent thought; and collaborating with others to achieve specific goals.
This book encourages opportunities for expanding student understanding of different perspectives in regards to religion, non-religion, service to the community, and activism. Patel discusses service as:
. . .an ideal place to bring together people from different racial, ethnic, class, and geographic backgrounds. People built a special relationship with one another when they passed bricks at a Habitat for Humanity site or planned lessons for children at an inner-city school. The common purpose gave them a common bond. Furthermore, because these people came from different backgrounds, they inevitably brought different perspectives to the various challenges that emerged in their service projects. (Acts of Faith, p. 44).
In presenting Acts of Faith to the NIU campus community, students can reflect on their service to find their niche and purpose in a globalized world.
Acts of Faith and the learning opportunities it presents also support Vision 2020’s Benchmark of Engaged Learning, which denotes these activities as “activities in which the student is an active participant; that take place outside the traditional classroom setting; that have content relating to an academic discipline; and that actively call on the students to connect the experience to their classroom curriculum.”
This Common Reading Experience selection also supports the principles of the Northern PACT, which convey our aspirations of being a community that is just; caring; open, disciplined; and celebrative. The Northern PACT theme for 2013-2014, “celebrative,” connects with themes found in Acts of Faith. A “celebrative” community is one “where traditions are honored, and both past and new rituals are embraced.” In his book, Patel relays advice he received as a result of an encounter with one of his mentors:
The tradition you were born into was your home . . . but as Gandhi once wrote, it should be a home with the windows open so that the winds of other traditions can blow through and bring their unique oxygen. ‘It’s good to have wings,’ he would say, ‘but you have to have roots, too.’ (Acts of Faith, p. 70).