Brigham Young University Academic Vice President Brent W. Webb has announced the appointment of Brent L. Top as dean of Religious Education. Top, who has been serving as the chair of the Department of Church History and Doctrine, began his five-year term as dean July 1.
Replacing Top as department chair is Richard E. Bennett, who was an associate dean to Dean Terry Ball. He is being replaced by Dana M. Pike, who has been the publications director of BYU’s Religious Studies Center. The other associate dean of Religious Education, Dennis Wright, is retiring from BYU and is being replaced by Robert C. Freeman, who has been the associate chair of the Department of Church History and Doctrine.
Top received broad support from the faculty and strong endorsement from the search committee and has the full confidence of the BYU administration. He brings a combination of experiences that prepare him well for this new responsibility. He is looking forward to working with Religious Education and helping to continue in its progress and development.
“The search committee had a difficult task because there were several other very qualified candidates. We appreciate the willingness of these candidates to be considered,” said Webb. “I am also deeply grateful to Dean Terry Ball, who has provided fine service to Religious Education and has brought insights and skills to our university councils,” he concluded.
Top is a professor of Church history and doctrine. He received all of his degrees from BYU — a bachelor’s degree in history, a master’s degree in instructional media, and a doctorate in instructional science and technology. Prior to joining the BYU Religious Education faculty in 1987, he worked for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ educational system as a released-time seminary teacher, an institute teacher and an administrator.
He served as associate dean of Religious Education from 1997 to 2002 and held the Endowed Professorship in Moral Education position for two years prior to his call as president of the Illinois Peoria Mission of the Church from 2004 to 2007. He was appointed department chair in June 2009.