Foregrounding Women in the Doctoral Classroom: Mainstreaming and Single-Sex Approaches to Graduate Education


Cook School of Intercultural Studies

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An increasing number of published studies have drawn attention to gender disparities in various dimensions of Christian higher education. Although the majority of students on the campuses of member institutions of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) are women, and the percentage of women holding faculty and administrative roles has increased, the male-normed environment of the academy continues to be evident in various ways, particularly in these Christian institutions. At the same time, higher education--and doctoral education in particular--is an important pathway to prepare future leaders and professors for Christian organizations. One potential way to begin to shift toward a more welcoming climate that benefits both men and women on CCCU campuses is to "foreground," or make central, women's issues and concerns as part of regular classroom teaching. Such foregrounding can help counter the historic tendency to treat men's experience and concerns as normative for the human race. In the discipline of missiology, women make up the bulk of the practitioners yet are underrepresented as scholars, making it a pertinent field to challenge the neglect of women's voices and concerns in the academy. This article describes how a missiology classroom has been used to create a climate where women have opportunities to be central and where women's perspectives are treated as equally important as men's perspectives. To do this, I used three key practices: intentionally addressing gendered topics in mixed classes, offering selected singlesex education opportunities for women, and focusing on gender-related topics for research and publication. Using the discipline of missiology as a case study in relation to the importance of giving women's contributions to the field both recognition and voice may also offer transferable insights for doctoral faculty in other disciplines.


Graduate education of women

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Christian Higher Education





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