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For week ended January 30, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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Summarized by Kent Larsen

Religion department looks for qualified women
(BYU) NewsNet 26Jan00 D3
By Emily Cannon: NewsNet Staff Writer

PROVO, UTAH -- BYU's College of Religious Education is trying to correct an imbalance in the number of men and women on its faculty. Currently the college has 69 men and just five women teaching, "We are not discriminating against men, but we would love to have more outstanding female scholars," said Associate Dean Brent L. Top.

The college says there are several reasons for the lack of women among its teachers. Few women are qualified, says Top, "In Religious Education the kind of woman we would really want may not have a doctorate." Others have chosen to pursue careers elsewhere. And, of course, many women simply want to stay home with their families, "Many women are completely devoted to the gospel, the prophets and the restoration of the church, but they may have a strong desire to be home with their families and may not want to teach full-time."

One of the faculty, Camille Fronk, assistant professor of ancient scripture, said that women are often not encouraged to get a doctorate. In her own case, Fronk didn't even consider religious education as a career, but the Church Education System encouraged her to teach seminary. "BYU was the last thing I thought of but it has been the best thing for me," Fronk said.

However, the college's requirements are a little easier than those in most areas. Cynthia Doxey, an assistant professor of church history and doctrine, did her graduate work in Family Sciences. She thinks that the situation will get better over time, "I think there are more women pursuing graduate degrees and we will see more being hired," Doxey said.

But even among those in the seminary training program, the ratio is low. According to Patricia McClure, secretary in the seminary training office, the program has just 11 women out of 45 students.


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