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National law and pharmacy school rankings overlook Belmont’s success

Belmont’s law and pharmacy schools are both in the top two in the state for highest bar exam and North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination passage rates, but national rankings don’t always reflect those numbers.

In the U.S. News and World Report rankings, the law school is ranked No. 139, and the pharmacy school is No. 98.

This is because U.S. News and World Report rankings are based more on subjective factors than on objective ones, said Judge Alberto Gonzales, dean of the College of Law.

Reputation is the largest component, he said.

Each year, deans from universities across the country complete surveys ranking each others’ programs based on their reputations and word-of-mouth. These scores tally for the final list.

“We can argue about whether that’s right or wrong, but it’s hard for a law school from the South with a Christian affiliation to get a ranking,” said Gonzales.

The pharmacy school is 10 years old, and the law school is six, which isn’t enough time to build a national reputation, said Dr. David F. Gregory, dean of the college of pharmacy.

Top programs are typically over 100 years old, he said.

The pharmacy school had a 97 percent passage rate on the NAPLEX in 2017, the third highest in the country.

That is because, unlike other universities, Belmont isn’t focused on research and faculty publications, said Gregory.

“If you look at top schools like the University of Texas or North Carolina, great pharmacy schools, they have research components. That’s not our mission here. Our mission here is teaching,” said Gregory. “I like to measure the quality of a school by what they’re doing.”

At Belmont, students from both programs have over 90 percent job placement rates within a year of graduation. The growing alumni base and professional connections have helped build the Belmont name.

“We’re new now, but we’re not always going to be new,” said Gregory. “We’re moving on to the next level.”

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This article written by Rachel VanDoren

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