Mary Poplin

Plenary Address

“Worldviews in the University: Separating the Chaff from the Wheat”

There are three major worldview in university today – materialism, secular humanism and pantheism – and thus in the high places in the high places in the culture. Each of them shares some principles with the Christian worldview and each conflicts in dangerous ways. We need to identify the chaff, keep the wheat and develop a new crop that can overcome the consequences of our long drought.


Mary Poplin is a professor in the School of Educational Studies at Claremont Graduate University.

Her work spans K–12 to higher education. Poplin, who began her career as a public school teacher, conducts research largely on the inside of schools and classrooms, and more recently on highly effective teachers in urban poor schools. Funded by the John and Dora Haynes Foundation, she and eight colleagues conducted extensive research from 2005-2009 with 30 highly effective teachers in nine low performing urban K–12 schools in Los Angeles County.

Academically, she explores the contemporary intellectual trends dominant in the various academic disciplines—the sciences, humanities, and social sciences. In 2014, she published Is Reality Secular? Testing the Assumptions of Four Global Worldviews (InterVarsity Press). Additionally, she is a frequent speaker in Veritas Forums throughout the country. In 1996, Poplin also worked for two months with Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta to understand why she said their work was “religious work and not social work.” Her book on this experience, Finding Calcutta was published by InterVarsity Press in 2008.

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