Program Information

The Intersection of Faith and Work

How do Christian and non-Christians think about faith and work? Drs. Ecklund and Daniels will explore this question and its implications for life together in the academy, examining how Christians in different disciplines think about their work in light of their faith and their faith in light of their work. ​They will also explore ways we can engage in spiritual disciplines ​within the context of our own work.

As Christians in academia, we often face unique challenges when it comes to the intersection of our faith and our role in the university. At the InterVarsity Blue Ridge Faculty Conference you will:

  • Hear from Christian scholars as they share about their experiences as Christians in academia.
  • Network with fellow Christ-followers in academia
  • Step away from the busyness of campus life and enjoy time in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains for you and even your entire family.

Keynote Speakers

Elaine Howard Ecklund is the Herbert S. Autrey Chair in Social Sciences, Professor of Sociology, Director of the Religion and Public Life Program at Rice University, and a Rice Scholar at the Baker Institute for Public Policy. Ecklund is a sociologist of religion, immigration, and science who examines how individuals bring changes to religious and scientific institutions. She is also the author of four books with Oxford University Press, one book with New York University Press, and numerous research articles and op-eds. Her 2010 book, Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think, was chosen by Times Higher Education as an international book of the week and named a book of the year on religion by the Huffington Post. Her forthcoming book, Why Science and Faith Need Each Other: Eight Shared Values That Move Us beyond Fear, will be published with Brazos Press, a division of Baker Books, in May 2020. Ecklund has been named one of Christianity Today’s “50 Women You Should Know.” Ecklund and her family attend St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Houston. (Photo Credit to Jeff Fitlow)

Denise Daniels is a Professor of Management at Seattle Pacific University (SPU). She has previously served as the Associate Dean and Interim Dean in the School of Business, Government, and Economics, as the Interim Chair for the Languages, Cultures, and Linguistics Department, and as SPU’s Associate Vice President for Strategic Initiatives.

Denise earned her Ph.D. from the University of Washington where she studied Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management. Her work has been published in numerous academic and professional journals, and she has been named both the SBGE Teacher and Scholar of the Year. She recently co-authored a book titled, “Working in the Presence of God: Spiritual Practices for Everyday Work.” Denise’s scholarly interests include meaningful work, Sabbath, leadership, gender, and motivation. Denise is the co-Principle Investigator on a $1.5M research project funded by the Lilly Endowment examining how Christians in the United States understand and engage their faith at work. She is also the producer of a series of films known as Faith & Co., which are designed to deepen connections between faith and work.

Denise regularly consults and provides executive coaching services and leadership development training in organizational contexts. She has served as an expert witness in a legal case related to organizational structure and management. She is an outside board member for Investortools, a FinTech company creating investment system solutions. She also serves on the board of Taproot Theatre Company, a non-profit arts organization in Seattle, and the Theology of Work Project, an independent international non-profit creating and curating biblical, theological, and pastoral resources related to work.

Denise has been married to Craig Barwell for 24 years, and they have four adolescent and young adult children. She attends Sanctuary Christian Reformed Church in Seattle.

Children's and Youth Programming

Activities for children and youth programming will be coordinated and run by the Ridge Haven Conference Center staff and will include many of the activities listed on their website. Contact them directly with any questions.

Conference Schedule

Click here to view last year's conference schedule. The schedule is subject to change.