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Provost announces changes coming to Belmont colleges

One thing holds true about Belmont University since the inauguration of President Greg Jones in 2021. Change is coming. From coining phrases like “let hope abound,” “agents of hope” and “radical champions” as opposed to the “from here to everywhere,” approach under former president Bob Fisher, to the construction of several new buildings. From switching sport leagues from the Ohio Valley Conference to the Missouri Valley Conference. From implementing the Hope Summit, allowing students a “Day to Dream” with a zipline, live music and pumpkin carvings, to the creation of murals on the sides of some campus walls. Change continues to brew in Bruinland. So, what’s next? On Tuesday afternoon, provost David Gregory emailed Belmont faculty, staff and students regarding several new changes coming to the university moving forward. “Over the past several months, our leadership team has been evaluating opportunities to support growth in key strategic areas of the University and improve operational efficiencies. This work is critical to our success and decisions can only be made after significant discussions are had surrounding a continued focus on our mission, values and priorities in an ever-changing education landscape,” Gregory wrote in the email. Effective on or before Aug. 1, university changes include:

  • Establishing two new academic colleges: the Gordon E. Inman College of Nursing and a College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

  • The College of Theology and Christian Ministry will transition to the School of Theology and Christian Ministry. The school will be housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and will be led by an Associate Dean to be determined.

Like the College of Theology and Christian Ministry, a few other programs are also transitioning for the purpose of alignment.

  • Sports Administration will move to the Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business

  • Legal Studies and Global Leadership Studies will move to the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

  • Mental Health Counseling will move to the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Sport administration chair Ted Peetz said he feels optimistic about the switch as he recognizes the connection between sport and entertainment. “While we have loved our time in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, we are excited to move to the Curb College and seeing what links we can make in the entertainment space. Sports are certainly entertainment, so I see how the link with the Curb College could provide some nice benefits to our sport administration majors,” Peetz said in a statement. However, some professors aren’t as optimistic about the change, or the decision-making process leading up to the change. Religion professor Marty Bell wrote in a statement that the university, to his knowledge, did not consult with the College of Theology and Christian Ministry prior to making the decision, calling the process “disrespectful.” The Vision was asked by Bell to publish his full statement: “Regarding the reorganization that will change the College of Theology and Christian Ministry to become the School of Theology and Christian Ministry in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, I have greater concern about the process that led to the reorganization than I do for the outcome itself.

The announcement that was delivered to a special called meeting of the faculty of the CTCM this past Monday afternoon by the Provost was disrespectful, as one of my colleagues so aptly expressed.

I am not saying the Provost was disrespectful in delivering the news; I am saying that the process was disrespectful in that there was zero input from the faculty of the CTCM to my knowledge.

That a decision was made without any input from the faculty reflects a trend that is not unique to Belmont. Sadly, American higher education has become beholden to the interests of corporate business boardrooms rather than the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom.

In the 38 consecutive years that I have taught at Belmont, I am particularly saddened to see Christian virtues attenuated under the guise of being Christ-centered.

A question that so far has been evaded from my perspective follows: who determines what being Christ-centered means? I am pretty sure a part of the answer lies in being respectful and fully inclusive.” Other changes mentioned in Gregory’s email have already taken effect. Effective immediately, these are the changes:

  • Interdisciplinary Studies and Global Studies programs including Honors, Study Abroad, Veterans and Adult Degree Programs will now report to Dr. Jim McIntyre.

  •  McIntyre will additionally serve as Dean of the College of Education and Assistant Provost for Academic Excellence.

  • Student Success and Flourishing will now report to the Office of the Provost.

“I am grateful for your continued support of our efforts and look forward to the incredible work we will continue to do together,” Gregory wrote. This article was written by A.J. Wuest.

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