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The Sociological Factors Associated with the Career Development of Women Theological Graduates

Description: Because it is representative of other Southern Baptist seminaries and distinguished by a vigorous graduate program, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) was chosen as the institution from which the population was taken. The study, conducted in 1984, collected data about women graduates of SWBTS for the years 1975, 1978, and 1981, with the following purposes: (1) to develop a profile of women who choose seminary education as an avenue of career preparation; (2) to determine the degree of influence of significant others --individuals in the family, school, peer group, and the church -- on women pursuing graduate education in order to prepare for ministry vocations. Among the findings of the study are these observations: 1. Despite a consistently supportive role from church pastors about respondents' career choices before, during, and after seminary, few seminary graduates encountered clergywomen as role models, or received material support from their home churches, and many encountered gender bias and discrimination as they sought ministry-related careers throughout their educational careers and afterwards. 2. The most desired career choices expressed by respondents include missionary, age group minister, counselor, minister of education, and college or seminary teacher. 3. The least desired career choices of respondents include minister of music, graded choir director, church musician, minister of outreach, pastor, associate pastor, chaplain, and recreation specialist. 4. Mothers, fathers, campus ministers, close friends, fellow seminary students, and missionaries and mission activities were cited, variously, as positively influencing seminary graduates at different stages of their careers. The study's conclusions include the further observation that despite disturbing discrimination against them, the women querried remained faithful to the Southern Baptist denomination, desired to serve, and wished for self improvement in their study and growth.
Date: December 1988
Creator: Kimberling, Cheryl Gray
Partner: UNT Libraries