WATERLOO, Ont. (Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011) - Educational reformer Mary Poplin will next week discuss how religion coexists with the secular world during the annual Pascal Lectures on Christianity and the University.

Poplin, author of Finding Calcutta and Voices from the Inside: A Report on Schooling from Inside the Classroom, will give a public lecture, Christianity: How the Religious Worldview Became a Secret. It takes place Thursday, Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the Humanities Theatre, located in the University of Waterloo's J. G Hagey Hall of the Humanities.

She will talk about how she came to understand the issues of faith when attempting to write her book, Finding Calcutta, about her two-month experience working with Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta in the spring of 1996. As well, she will discuss the history behind the loss of the Christian worldview in academia.

On Friday, Feb. 11 Poplin will hold a discussion with students entitled Is Anything Sacred? A Conversation With Students. It will be held at 12:30 p.m. in the J.G. Hagey Hall of the Humanities, room 1104.

Her final public lecture, Secularism: Diminishing the Marketplace of Ideas, will be held Friday, Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the Humanities Theatre, located in the J. G Hagey Hall of the Humanities. She will talk about the competing worldviews (naturalism, humanism and pantheism) and the results of the loss of the Christian worldview in the western academy.

"We are very fortunate to have a speaker of Dr. Poplin's stature visit the University of Waterloo," said John North, professor of English language and literature and chair of this year's Pascal lecture series. "We are keen to hear Dr. Poplin's views on the academy, Christianity, worldviews and her time with Mother Teresa."

A native of Texas, Poplin earned her PhD in education from the University of Texas. She began her career teaching elementary school and special education. She is currently a professor at Claremont Graduate University in California where she has been director of the teacher-education Masters program and dean of the school of educational studies.

Poplin's most recent work has been a five-year study of 31 highly effective teachers in nine low performing K-12 urban schools in Los Angeles. The first summary of the study is published this month in Kappan magazine, which offers articles on issues, trends and policy in K-12 education.

Simultaneously, Poplin has begun to work on the intellectual and spiritual principles of the Judeo-Christian worldview as it could inform higher education.

The Pascal lecture series was established to create a forum for Christian issues in an academic environment by inviting outstanding individuals who have distinguished themselves in both an area of scholarly endeavour and of Christian thought or life. Donations and royalties from published lectures support the series financially.

The series is named after Blaise Pascal (1632-1662), a French academic and Christian, best remembered as a forerunner of Newton in the establishment of Calculus. Pascal was also the author of his Christian meditations, Les Pensées.

All lectures are open to the public and admission is free. Parking will be available for free in lots H and HV, off Ring Road at the south end of campus, for the evening lectures.

About Waterloo

The University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada's Technology Triangle, is one of Canada's leading comprehensive universities. Waterloo is home to 30,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students who are dedicated to making the future better and brighter. Waterloo, known for the largest post- secondary co-operative education program in the world, supports enterprising partnerships in learning, research and discovery. For more information about Waterloo, visit www.uwaterloo.ca.


John North, professor, English language and literature, 519-888-4567 ext. 33743

John Morris, Waterloo media relations, 519-888-4435 or john.morris@uwaterloo.ca

Waterloo news release no. 5

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