Mission, Values, and Goals

Gardner-Webb University Mission Statement

Gardner-Webb University, a private, Christian, Baptist-related university, provides outstanding undergraduate and graduate education that is strongly grounded in the liberal arts while offering opportunities to prepare for various professions. Fostering meaningful intellectual thought, critical analysis, and spiritual challenge within a diverse community of learning, Gardner-Webb is dedicated to higher education that integrates scholarship with Christian life. By embracing faith and intellectual freedom, balancing conviction with compassion, and inspiring a love of learning, service, and leadership, Gardner-Webb prepares its graduates to make significant contributions for God and humanity in an ever-changing global community.

Physician Assistant Mission

Develop knowledgeable and caring Physician Assistants who practice competent patient-centered primary care in diverse environments.

Physician Assistant Goals

Knowledge – Cultivate high quality graduates committed to self-discovery and self-assessment and committed to the application of critical thinking and analysis of research.

We strive to achieve Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) pass rates comparable with the national average. Ideally, our students will achieve and maintain a 100% PANCE pass rate. Our Five-Year First Time Taker Average Pass Rate is 94%. The Class of 2017 achieved a First Time Taker Pass Rate of 97%, which reflects the national average of 97%.

We develop student clinical reasoning skills through intensive team and problem based learning discussions and activities to provide competent patient centered care and demonstrate self-directed and lifelong learning. The curriculum follows an organ based systems approach with students participating in skills sessions, cases studies, and literature searches for problem solving. Clinical rotations provide a wide range of primary care clinical experiences.

Faith – Foster a commitment to Christian values, ethics, and integrity in personal and professional service as a physician assistant.

In keeping with our faith-based program, we encourage students to provide compassionate, ethical and patient-centered care by incorporating into our curriculum, including the following courses - MPAS521 Patient-Centered Care 1, Professional Development course series (MPAS531, MPAS533, MPAS640 MPAS642, MPAS644), and MPAS571 Special Populations/Geriatrics which contain objectives that specifically address the ethical, compassionate and patient-centered delivery of healthcare. Assessments and activities within each course allow for the program to demonstrate the students’ proficiency in understanding and application of the course objectives.

Our program partners with a faith-based organization for an Elective Supervised Clinical Practice Experience (SCPE) opportunity in medical missions. This allows our students to serve an underserved population of diverse patients and cultivates a unique perspective of patient care.

The PA faculty and staff have an open door policy and dedicated time for student mentoring, allowing for individual focus on the qualities of Christian values, ethics, and integrity. Additionally, the PA faculty and staff pray together with the students, and the PA Program electronically shares a weekly devotion that focuses on the integration of faith with medicine and service to others. Gardner-Webb University provides a weekly electronic devotional to all faculty, staff and students.

Click here for more information on our Christian community resources.

Service – Emphasize servant-leadership to prepare graduates to provide healthcare in underserved communities, both domestically and abroad.

Servant-leadership is emphasized by our requirement for each PA student to complete an Underserved rotation. A project is required in which students must identify and describe a significant health risk or psychosocial problem that affects the underserved patient population and formulate actions to address the concern. While this rotation is not a core required SCPE, it was developed to ensure the programmatic emphasis of service.

Additionally, 48% of our 2017 graduating class is practicing in a HRSA-designated Medically Underserved Area (MUA) while 76% are practicing in a HRSA-designated Primary Care Health Profession Shortage Area (HPSA). To further support the programmatic commitment to equipping our students to provide healthcare in underserved communities, our PA students conduct monthly health screenings for the patrons of a community soup kitchen for the homeless affiliated with Cleveland County Baptist Association and First Baptist Church Shelby.

Leadership – Cultivate a commitment to life-long learning, professional development, and advocacy for the profession.

Our PA students are active in the SAAAPA as members as well as participants in national conferences, including AOR. Gardner-Webb PA students have been recipients of state-based leadership scholarships as well as participants in the North Carolina Medical Society Leadership College, an ongoing opportunity for PA students to pursue. Additionally, several GWU PA students have focused efforts to work with healthcare policy in national organizations. Each year members of the graduating class are inducted to Pi Alpha PA National Honor Society.

Visit our Program and Student Success page to learn more about leadership opportunities for PA students.

Gardner-Webb University and its Physician Assistant Studies Program are committed to these goals and will communicate them through our teaching, role modeling, and clinical practice.