History of the WCFF

Established in 1999, the Western Christian Faculty Forum (WCFF) is an affiliation of
faculty, staff, and administrators. Each year the WCFF brings to WWU speakers of high quality and academic renown, who share our Christian faith, to interact with and engage the faculty, students, and the wider community by addressing topics of broad interest. Our speakers usually talk at several venues, including at least one lecture open to the public. Departments within the university also partner with the WCFF to sponsor speakers for their department.

In the past, we have hosted such speakers as:

Dr. Walter Bradley

Walter L. Bradley received his B.S. in Engineering Science and his Ph.D. in Materials Science from the University of Texas in Austin. A Fellow at Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, he taught for 8 years at the Colorado School of Mines, 24 years as a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University (TAMU), and most recently for 5 years at Baylor University as a Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering.

During his 24 years at Texas A&M, Dr. Bradley served as Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and as Director of the Polymer Technology Center, and received five College of Engineering Research Awards. He has received over $5,000,000 in research grants and has published over 150 technical articles and book chapters. Bradley has also co-authored The Mystery of Life’s Origin: Reassessing Current Theories. Additionally, he has published six book chapters dealing with scientific evidence for the existence of God and reconciling the Biblical account of creation with the findings of modern science. Bradley is a Fellow of both the American Society for Materials and the American Scientific Affiliation. He also serves as a consultant for many Fortune 500 companies.

Since coming to Baylor University, Bradley has focused his research efforts on helping the poorest people in under-developed parts of the world by providing them with useful technologies. For example, he is developing various means to convert the constituent parts of coconuts into value-added products such as diesel fuel, particle board, and reinforcement for engineering plastics.

Dr. William Lane Craig

William Lane Craig is Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California. He and his wife Jan have two grown children.

At the age of sixteen as a junior in high school, he first heard the message of the Christian gospel and yielded his life to Christ. Dr. Craig pursued his undergraduate studies at Wheaton College (B.A. 1971) and graduate studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (M.A. 1974; M.A. 1975), the University of Birmingham (England) (Ph.D. 1977), and the University of Munich (Germany) (D.Theol. 1984). From 1980-86 he taught Philosophy of Religion at Trinity, during which time he and Jan started their family. In 1987 they moved to Brussels, Belgium, where Dr. Craig pursued research at the University of Louvain until assuming his position at Talbot in 1994.
He has authored or edited over thirty books, including The Kalam Cosmological Argument; Assessing the New Testament Evidence for the Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus; Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom; Theism, Atheism and Big Bang Cosmology; and God, Time and Eternity, as well as over a hundred articles in professional journals of philosophy and theology, including The Journal of Philosophy, New Testament Studies, Journal for the Study of the New Testament, American Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophical Studies, Philosophy, and British Journal for Philosophy of Science.

Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/

Dr. Jean Bethke Elshtain

Jean Bethke Elshtain (January 6, 1941 – August 11, 2013) was an American ethicist, political philosopher, and public intellectual. She was the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics in the University of Chicago Divinity School with a joint appointment in the department of political science.

Elshtain’s importance to the United States stems both from her impact in political ethics, and also her position in society as a woman. Carlin Romano, author of America the Philosophical, explains in his work that Elshtain’s aim “was not so much to lobby for specific policies as to push for good civic-minded ‘individualism’ over the egoism of ‘bad individualism'”.

One of her more popular titles, Women and War, Elshtain examines women’s roles in war as contrasted against masculine roles and why these concepts are important to society. Beginning by examining America’s societal interpretations of gender roles during wartime (man as a brave fighter and woman as a pacifist), Elshtain argues that men may make poor civic soldiers due to the fact that they are predisposed to a dangerous kind of eager adolescence on the battlefield, while women may be enthusiastically patriotic and possess a kind of necessary maturity, which is vital to successful combat.

In one of her more famous works, Democracy on Trial, Elshtain reflects on democracy in America, discussing how socio-cultural insistence on ‘difference’ or ‘separatism’ have evolved since the ratification of the Constitution, and how it may be detrimental to the system. Elshtain does not deny the importance of difference, especially within a civic body. Rather, she recognizes that Americans are no longer acting as representative bodies in governments, which embrace separate interests and also work as a collective towards the betterment of the whole. Elshtain, like James Madison, explains that American factional hostility is only a detriment to society: “one makes war with enemies: one does politics – democratic politics – with opponents”. (taken from Wikipedia)

Dr. Byron Johnson
Director, Institute for Studies of Religion
Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences

Byron Johnson is Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences at Baylor University. He is the founding director of the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) as well as director of the Program on Prosocial Behavior. He is a Senior Fellow at the Witherspoon Institute (Princeton), Senior Research Scholar at the Institute for Jewish and Community Research (San Francisco), and chief advisor for the Center for the Study of Religion and Chinese Society, Peking University (Beijing).

Before joining the faculty at Baylor University, Johnson directed research centers at Vanderbilt University and the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Johnson recently completed a series of empirical studies for the Department of Justice on the role of religion in pro-social youth behavior and is a member of the Coordinating Council for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (Presidential Appointment). He is recognized as a leading authority on the scientific study of religion, the efficacy of faith-based organizations, domestic violence, and criminal justice. Recent publications have examined the impact of faith-based programs on recidivism reduction and prisoner reentry and his new book, More God, Less Crime, was released in April 2011. He is working with the Gallup Organization on studies exploring religion and spirituality in the world. He is the 2013 Lone Star Big Brother of the year for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Texas.

Dr. Paul Maier

Paul L. Maier (born May 31, 1930) is an historian and novelist. He has written several works of scholarly and popular non-fiction about Christianity and novels about Christian historians. He is the former Russell H. Seibert Professor of Ancient History at Western Michigan University, from which he retired in 2011, retaining the title of professor emeritus in the Department of History. He serves as Third Vice President of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. (taken from Wikipedia)

Maier is the son of Walter A. Maier (1893–1950), founder and long time speaker of The Lutheran Hour. He is a graduate of Harvard University (M.A., 1954) and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis (M. Div., 1955). On a Fulbright Scholarship, Maier studied at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, and Basel, Switzerland. At Basel, Maier studied under scholars Karl Barth and Oscar Cullmann. He received his Ph.D., summa cum laude, in 1957.
Maier’s areas of interest include the Ancient Near East; Ancient Greece; Ancient Rome; Christianity and the Roman Empire; and the Reformation Era.

He is the author of sixteen published books, both historical fiction and non-fiction. His historical fiction includes the #1 national best-seller in religious fiction A Skeleton in God’s Closet (1993), as well as Pontius Pilate (1968), The Flames of Rome (1981), More Than A Skeleton (2003), and the children’s book The Very First Christmas (1998). Maier’s non-fiction work includes Josephus: The Essential Works, a translation and abridgement of the writings of Josephus; and The Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius of Caesarea, a translation of Eusebius’ Church History. Maier co-wrote The Da Vinci Code: Fact or Fiction? with Christian apologist Hank Hanegraaf. The book is a critical rebuttal of Dan Brown’s 2003 topseller The Da Vinci Code. In addition, he has published well over 200 articles and reviews in such journals as Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte, Church History, Harvard Theological Review, Hermes: Zeitschrift für Klassische Philologie, Concordia Theological Quarterly, Concordia Journal, Mankind, Christian Century, Christianity Today, and Christian Herald.

He travels and lectures frequently. In 2004, he was featured on the Christian daily talk show, 100 Huntley Street in Canada for the entire year. He is a frequent guest on the show. (from Wikipedia)

Dr. Rae Mellichamp

Dr. Mellichamp is Emeritus Professor of Management Science in the Manderson Graduate School of Business at the University of Alabama. For 25 years, Dr. Mellichamp combined successful academic pursuits with effective Christian ministry activities.

Dr. Mellichamp has published refereed articles in such journals as Management Science, Decision Sciences, Expert Systems, Interfaces, IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, The Journal of Intelligent Manufacturing, Simulation, IEEE Networks, and The Harvard Business Review. He was principal investigator for contract research projects totaling over $1.25 million and served as a consultant to AT&T, General Motors, N.A.S.A. (The Space Shuttle Program), and the U.S. Army (Strategic Defense Initiative).

In addition to an excellent academic career, Dr. Mellichamp also found the time to invest in making Christ an issue at his campus and on other campuses across the nation. The book, Ministering in the Secular University, is the product of years of ministry experience.

Dr. Donald M. Page, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus of Graduate Program, M.A. Leadership

Recognized in Canadian Who’s Who, Dr. Donald Page was a senior policy analyst and speech writer in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade; academic vice president at Trinity Western University; founding director of the MAL program; program director for the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities’ Executive Leadership Development Institute for training new university presidents and chief academic officers, and the Leadership Development Institute for emerging academic leaders; currently the leadership trainer for the Oklahoma Leadership Development Institute and the Canadian National Christian Foundation; conducts leadership workshops for a variety of organizations including school boards, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, church denominations, hi-tech companies, and non-profit organizations.

Dr. Mary Poplin
Ph.D., M.A. University of Texas
B.S. Midwestern State University

From 2004 to 2009, she was the principal investigator of a study of 31 highly effective teachers in low performing urban schools in Los Angeles. The study was funded by the John Randolph and Dora Haynes Foundation and is the product of a nine-member research team, which included John Rivera as policy director, and six CGU graduate students/alums. Prior to that, in 1992, she led a large yearlong study of four schools in southern California and produced a report, Voices from Inside: A Report on Schooling from Inside the Classroom that sold over 60,000 copies.

Professor Poplin teaches courses in pedagogy, learning theory, qualitative research, philosophy, and worldviews. She developed the current CGU Teacher Education Internship program from 1985-1995 increasing the candidates from 25 to 100 and the percentage of students of color from 6% to 50% and was first to require all candidates to have special expertise in ELL. She also led the revitalization of the program from 2000-2004 and was Dean of the School of Educational Studies from 2002-2004. She and John Rivera published an article on the re-visioning of the program in Theory into Practice in 2006. She developed and directs the Institute for Education in Transformation whose goal is to advance justice and accountability in the schools through relevant research and practice.

In 1996, Mary worked for two months with Mother Teresa 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 and is also available in Korean and Chinese. She is a frequent speaker in Veritas Forums, which began at Harvard, but has spread to over 60 universities around the world (www.veritas.org).

Mary Poplin, a native of Texas, began her career teaching elementary school and special education. Her early work in special education explored competing theoretical orientations in the field of special education. She was also the editor of Learning Disability Quarterly from 1979-1984.

Dr. Carol Swain

Professor Swain’s work on representation and race relations has earned her national and international accolades. Her highly acclaimed book, Black Faces, Black Interests: The Representation of African Americans in Congress (1993, 1995 Harvard University Press; reprinted in 2006 by University Press of America) was named one of the seven outstanding academic books of 1994 by Library Choice Journal, received the 1994 Woodrow Wilson prize for the best book published in the U.S. on government, politics or international affairs, the Hardeman Prize for best scholarly work on Congress during 1994-1995, and was the co-winner of the Key Award for the best book published on southern politics. Black Faces was cited by the U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in Johnson v. DeGrandy (1994) and by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in Georgia v. Ashcroft (2003).

Her other books include: Be the People: A Call to Reclaim America’s Faith and Promise (Thomas Nelson Press, 2011). Debating Immigration (Cambridge University Press, 2007), Contemporary Voices of White Nationalism (Cambridge University Press, 2003, edited with Russ Nieli), The New White Nationalism in America: Its Challenge to Integration (Cambridge University Press, 2002) that was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and Race Versus Class: The New Affirmative Action Debate (University Press of America, 1996).

A widely recognized expert on race relations, immigration, black leadership and evangelical politics, Professor Swain has served on the Tennessee Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission and she is currently a member of the National Endowment for the Humanities Council. Her opinion pieces have been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times and USA Today. She was a regular contributor to CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight, and her media appearances include BBC World News, NPR, CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Fox News Live, Fox New’s Hannity, PBS’s News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The Washington Journal and ABC’s Headline News, among other media. Before joining Vanderbilt in 1999, Professor Swain was a tenured associate professor of politics and public policy at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

In October 2012, Professor Swain launched a new television talk show named “Be the People.” It is a half-hour weekly show that airs in middle Tennessee and Chattanooga on local NBC and ABC affiliates. She is also the owner of the Eagle Wings Media, LLC and the founding director of the Carol Swain Foundation.

Dr. John Walkup
John Walkup, Emeritus, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Texas Tech University

After receiving his Ph.D. from Stanford University, John joined the faculty of Texas Tech where he served with distinction for 28 years. Upon his retirement from Texas Tech, he and his late wife Pat joined the staff of Faculty Commons and moved to the Bay area of California of which both are natives. Since 1996 they have established and ministered to faculty groups at the University of California Berkeley, the University of California Davis, San Jose State University, and Stanford University.