Mary Poplin is a professor emerita in the School of Educational Studies at Claremont Graduate University. Her work spans K–12 to higher education, with the latter exploring the contemporary intellectual trends dominant in the various academic disciplines: the sciences, humanities, and social sciences. Poplin, who began her career as a public school teacher, conducts research largely inside schools and classrooms and more recently on highly effective teachers in urban poor schools.
Twice funded by the John and Dora Haynes Foundation, from 2005 to 2009 and once again from 2015 to 2017, Poplin and her graduate student-colleagues conducted extensive research with 72 highly effective teachers in low performing urban K-12 schools in several greater- Los Angeles counties. The resultant edited book (with co-editor, Claudia Bermudez), Highly Effective Teachers of Vulnerable Students: Practice Transcending Theory was published in 2019 by Peter Lang Publishers. Poplin’s prior work in schools included a study which was compiled into Voices Inside the Classroom co-authored with Joseph Weeres and funded by the John Kluge Foundation.
For two months in 1996, Poplin worked 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 and is also available in Korean and Chinese.
Poplin’s work in higher education has also included administration. At various times, she has served as dean and as director of teacher education.. He recent works include her 2014 publishing of Is Reality Secular? Testing the Assumptions of Four Global Worldviews (InterVarsity Press). In this book, Poplin examines four major worldviews—naturalism, humanism, pantheism, and Judeo-Christian theism. She also coedited (with Barry Kanpol) Christianity and the Secular Border Patrol: The Loss of Judeo Christian Knowledge (Peter Lang, 2017).
Highly Effective Teachers of Vulnerable Students: Practice Transcending Theory. Peter Lang, 2019.
Christianity and the Secular Border Patrol: The Loss of Judeo-Christian Knowledge. Peter Lang, 2017.
Is Reality Secular? Testing the Assumptions of Four Global Worldviews. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2014.
Finding Calcutta: What Mother Teresa Taught Me about Meaningful Work and Service. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2008.
“The Racial Achievement Gap: History, Policy and Pedagogy.” (In Progress). In Debating Racial Reality, edited by C. Swain. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
“Wisdom for Christian Educators Around the World.” In The Handbook of Christianity and Education, edited by W. Jeynes. Wiley/Blackwell, 2018.
“From Feminist to Mere Christian.” In Women and C S Lewis, edited by C. Curtis and M. Key. Oxford: Lion/Hudson, 2015.
“The Character and Dispositions of Highly Effective Teachers in Low Performing Schools.” In Families, Spirituality and School Achievement, edited by W. Jeynes. Springer, 2015.
“Radical Marxist, Radical Womanist, Radical Love: What Mother Teresa Taught Me About Social Justice.” In A Place for Truth, edited by D. Willard. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2010.
“The Spiritual Side of Paulo Freire.” In Memories of Paulo, edited by T. Wilson, P. Park, and A. Colon Muniz. Sense Publications, 2010.
Co-authored with John Rivera. “Voices from Inside the Classroom: Beyond the Conservative/Liberal/Radical Debate to a Common Vision for Schools in Our Multiethnic Society.” In Transforming Public Education: A New Course for America’s Future, edited by E. Clinchy. New York: Teachers College Press, 1997.
Co-authored with John Rivera. “Multicultural, Critical, Feminine and Constructive Pedagogies Seen Through the Lives of Youth: A Call for the Revisioning of These and Beyond: Toward a Pedagogy for the Next Century.” In Multicultural Education, Critical Pedagogy, and the Politics of Difference, edited by Christine Sleeter and Peter McLaren. New York: SUNY Press, 1995.
Co-authored with John Riviera. “Merging Social Justice and Accountability: Educating Highly Qualified, Responsible and Effective Teachers.” Theory Into Practice 44, no. 1 (2005): 27–37.
Research on Effective Schools, Teachers and Districts
History of K-12 Education in the U.S.
From Behaviorism to Postmodernism: Learning and Pedagogical Theories
Qualitative Research Methods
Transdisciplinary Class on Judeo Christian Knowledge Across the Disciplines