Christ Among Us: Christian Witness in a Complex World

Join our conference emcees, Bob Clark and Cate Crosby, at the Midwest Faculty Conference 2020. In plenary sessions, faculty panels, and a variety of seminars, we will will explore the intersection of radical hospitality, spiritual formation, and Christian Witness. Don't miss this opportunity to:

  • enjoy a time of rest within a vibrant community of singles, couples, and families
  • network with other Christ-followers in academia
  • participate in a variety of workshops, teachings, and practices around community

Learn more about the 2020 Leadership Team with the bios below and photos at the bottom of this page. New speakers are being added so check back to stay up to date!

Plenary Session Speakers

Sharon Mahar Carter is a graduate of Wheaton College, Illinois, and lives near Nashville, Tennessee with her faculty husband Erik and three children. She finds great joy in mentoring young adults, encouraging wives and mothers (especially those connected to the academy), and loving those who have been wounded by the church. Excited about her future and marveling at God’s faithfulness, she has begun steps to follow a call to Spiritual Direction. At the MWFC 2020, Sharon will consider practical ways participants can reflect Christ in the multiple facets of their lives, as well as how spiritual formation and Christian Witness are interrelated.

Erik Carter, Ph.D., is Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Special Education at Vanderbilt University. His research addresses practices and policies for promoting the inclusion of individuals with developmental disabilities in school, work, community, and congregational settings. At the MWFC 2020, Erik will explore how his work around inclusion, belonging, and radical hospitality to the stranger might inform our work and witness within the academy.

Worship Leaders

Dr. Dale Reed is Clinical Professor in the Computer Science department at UIC and the director of undergraduate CS Recruitment at UIC. Reed has long been invested in CS education for underrepresented groups, with over two million dollars in career grant funding, advocacy for CS education within school districts, and partnerships to further access to STEM education. He was born in Hollywood, but grew up as the child of missionaries in Ecuador and Mexico.  Dale has been a worship leader for thirty years, first at Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Evanston and more recently at Grace Evangelical Covenant Church in Chicago. He enjoys playing basketball and recently learned how to weld.

Desiree Reed has her Master’s in Piano Pedagogy from Northwestern University.  She teaches piano from home and has over 30 students. She plays keyboard and sings in the worship band at Grace Evangelical Covenant Church. Desiree is known as the "Thrift Store Queen" and loves finding the highest quality item for the cheapest possible cost. She was born in the deep South but lost her charming accent in college. You will find many books on her bedside table.

Conference Emcees

Bob Clark has worked throughout the USA & Canada with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship to develop graduate students and faculty in the areas of vision, integration, and theological formation.  He admits that, knowing how full faculty lives are, he was a reluctant participant in his first Midwest Faculty Conference, but that perspective changed radically after his first year. He witnessed people longing for community and understanding, and although the week didn’t turn the world on its head, people came away with a much enlarged field of vision and sense of hope.  He says, “Over the years there have been lively discussions, growth as followers of Jesus Christ, the building of relationships, healing in families and a number of academic collaborations formed during these weeks. It’s truly humbling to see what God has done in our midst!"

Dr. Cathryn Crosby is an Associate Professor of TESOL and Applied Linguistics and Program Coordinator at Emporia State University in Kansas.  Her research interests include Second Language Writing, Service-Learning/Community Engagement, and Teacher Education. She enjoys biking and travelling throughout the United States and abroad.  At the MWFC 2020, Dr. Crosby looks forward to the fantastic programming that MWFC offers; connecting with like minded academics who love their institutions and long to see their colleagues and students know Jesus, and drinking in the incredible beauty of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. 


An additional bonus of the week are the elective seminars offered during the evening program. These seminars reflect the wide variety of disciplines and interests of those who attend the conference.

Conference seminars are open to all registered guests (faculty, spouses and staff) and include subjects that are academic and non-academic, theoretical and “hands-on,” of general and special interest. These seminars provide added value to the conference experience, and most people participate even though the seminars are optional. Perhaps you, too, might have a topic, question, or activity that you would enjoy leading. If so, let us know.

Poster Session

We'll be holding a Poster Session again, during which participants can share the intersection of faith and teaching/research. If you are interested in presenting a poster and would like guidelines, please contact us.