The first year of college is very exciting and challenging. Our goal in First-Year Programs is to ensure that first-year students make a successful transition into university life by exposing students to Gardner-Webb services, encouraging them to become leaders, and promote student success in every possible opportunity.


The First-Year Experience Program at Gardner-Webb is designed to help:


  • develop personal and academic success skills
  • stimulate intellectual curiosity and interdisciplinary thinking
  • encourage assimilation into “Dawg” culture
  • foster a sense of community
  • nurture your faith
  • stimulate service-based leadership


First-Year Programs is responsible for both Dimensions of University Life (UNIV 111) and First Year Experience (UNIV 101) courses. These courses encompass three enriching components sharing a common vision:


  • Academic, personal, and social development
  • A first-year common read
  • Service-Learning


Each component works interdependently to give students a successful start in college, to develop invaluable life-long learning skills, and to promote thought-provoking studies and experiences that will continue beyond your first year at Gardner-Webb.


By making the most of your first year at GWU, you are unlocking your potential for success through graduation and beyond.


I look forward to working with you as your start your first year at Gardner-Webb University! Please let me know if there is anything I can do to ease your transition.




Jessica Herndon

Director of First-Year Programs, BA, MBA

Gardner-Webb University