After a year in place, the effects of Belmont University’s new hiring policy are unknown, and its future seems to have stalled.
In November 2022, Belmont amended its hiring policy to allow people of the Jewish faith to become faculty. The change only applied to the colleges of law, pharmacy and medicine.
Provost David Gregory sent an email to the faculty senate announcing the change and its eventual expansion to the rest of the university.
However, the policy has not been applied beyond the three graduate colleges and when asked if any Jewish faculty were hired, Belmont declined to comment.
“At this time that policy has not expanded to the rest of the University, and we don’t have any set timeline for when those conversations might begin,” said Leslie Lenser, Belmont’s chief human resources officer, in an email to the Vision in November 2023.
Belmont’s executive team and the Board of Trustees are responsible for major policy changes such as this, Lenser said.
Amid the mixed reactions to the change, a question remained: Why was the decision made in the first place?
Sara Weismann of Inside Higher Ed, a media organization about higher education, covered the initial reactions and talked to Belmont administrators about the change. In her January 2023 story, Weismann also noted the accrediting bodies for law and medical schools have rules surrounding religious inclusion.
Whether or not accreditation was a consideration, Belmont’s medical school continued to advance in the process. On Oct. 11, 2023, Belmont University announced that the Thomas F. Frist, Jr. College of Medicine received preliminary accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.
The LCME accredits medical schools in the United States and Canada. Preliminary accreditation allows colleges to admit students and is the farthest in the process the Frist College of Medicine can advance until its first students are halfway through the program.
As for whether it hired any Jewish faculty in the past year, Belmont will not give out any information about the religion of its employees, citing employee protection laws.
Lenser did say 13 of the 66 new faculty hires at Belmont in 2023 went to the three graduate colleges. The three colleges are also responsible for a substantial percentage of the open faculty positions as of Jan. 4.
Further information about the change was hard to come by.
Belmont’s Office of Communications denied a request for the Vision to talk to Dr. Anderson Spickard, the dean of the Frist College of Medicine, and declined to comment further on this topic.
This article was written by Luke Ayers