From the Students: Liberal Arts at Gardner-Webb

Gardner-Webb provides outstanding undergraduate and graduate education that is strongly grounded in the liberal arts.
Hear what students have to say about the ability to explore ideas within a diverse community of learning.




Jacob Kirby (’16) discipleship studies 

“Gardner-Webb is just so well-rounded in terms of the variety of courses students can take, both in the core curriculum and in electives … if I hadn’t experienced what it was like to study other courses besides music, like English courses and history and religious studies, I may never have known what paths were available for me to pursue.” (More)


 

 

Kevin Clary (’15) Music Education

“Gardner-Webb students are exposed to professors with a broad range of personalities, teaching styles as well as personal beliefs … True knowledge and the power to shape one’s own ideas and opinions comes from the willingness to expose one’s self to the ideas and opinions of others, and that opportunity is prevalent at Gardner-Webb.” (More)



 

M. Lamont Littlejohn (’16) Doctorate in Ministry

“My experience has helped me to become a better holistic person. My educational experience allowed me to acquire skills within other subject areas of study beyond my major and minor concentrations. It has taught me that ministry is both tough and messy at times.” (More)

 

Madison Cates (‘13) history

“The ability to take a wide variety of courses and get to know thoughtful, compassionate people helped guide my spiritual and intellectual development. Being involved in the Honors Student Association, Alpha Chi Honor Society, and Student Government Association allowed me to discuss and debate ideas with friends and peers across disciplines.” (More)

CLASSROOM ADVANTAGE




Shaquavia Chiles served as a helpful tutoring resource for many of her high school friends who needed help as English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) students.
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CLASSROOM ADVANTAGE

Shaquavia Chiles served as a helpful tutoring resource for many of her high school friends who needed help as English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) students. “I realized that I loved teaching, being around people, and helping people, so I decided to pursue a career in it,” she explains.

Research programs at Gardner-Webb University have provided Chiles with opportunities to continue her passion for ESL education and to develop a resource guide that will benefit both students and teachers.

Nearly one of every 10 students in U.S. public schools are ESL learners. “Typically, ESL teachers travel between two and sometimes three different schools,” Chiles shares. “So that can present a problem for classroom teachers who may not be sure about how to help their students whose primary language is not English.”

Through her work in Gardner-Webb’s Undergraduate Research Program, Chiles has created a classroom handbook for K12 teachers who are trying to meet the needs of their students but who may not have direct access to an ESL professional every day. The project has allowed Chiles to interview current ESL teachers and explore previously-published education strategies.

“I’m looking at these strategies and showing other people how they can use them, and I’m learning how to use them, too,” she offers. “I feel like I have an advantage when I go out into my field.”

For more on Gardner-Webb University’s Undergraduate Research Program, contact Dr. June Hobbs.

Liberal Arts Education

 

“Students are exposed to professors with a broad range of personalities, teaching styles and beliefs … True knowledge and the power to shape one’s own ideas and opinions comes from the willingness to expose one’s self to the ideas and opinions of others, and that opportunity is prevalent at GWU.” Kevin Clary ’15  (More)

Gardner-Webb Student Appreciates Exchange of Ideas

Kevin Clary Plans to Seek Position as High School Band Director

As a music education major, Kevin Clary of Gaffney, S.C., has had ample opportunities to perform and refine his own talent while learning how to teach future musicians.

“I was in the GWU Symphonic Band and then joined the orchestra,” Clary said. “I was a member of the GWU trumpet ensemble, and during my time with that group we advanced to the semi-final round of the National Trumpet Competition twice. I was a member of the GWU Marching Band and served as the drum major. I was also a member of the GWU Jazz Collective, which was my favorite group.”

He knew about GWU because his mother works in admissions, but his reason for choosing the University was more for the outstanding faculty.

“I was planning on being a trumpet major, and GWU’s trumpet professor, Tim Hudson, is truly world class,” he explained. “The combination of those two factors made the decision relatively easy.”

As he began taking all the classes required as part of the liberal arts core, Clary discovered his education was providing him a foundation to become a lifelong learner.

“Gardner-Webb students are exposed to professors with a broad range of personalities, teaching styles as well as personal beliefs, and I think this is a very good thing,” he observed. “True knowledge and the power to shape one’s own ideas and opinions comes from the willingness to expose one’s self to the ideas and opinions of others, and that opportunity is prevalent at Gardner-Webb.”

One professor who has influenced him the most has been Assistant Professor of History Dr. Joseph Moore.

“He was the first history teacher I ever had who made history feel like a relevant chain of events that shaped the global culture in which we live today, rather than just a random collection of dates and battles listed in a dusty textbook,” Clary said. “He was the first professor who encouraged me to question my own ideas about the world, and to constantly leave my opinions open to revision in the face of new facts. His class was hard, but I left it with a true hunger for knowledge that I still carry with me today.”

He feels prepared for the next step, which is to seek a position as a high school band director.

“The education faculty, and the music education faculty specifically, are very intentional in ensuring that students leave GWU as responsible, capable and compassionate educators,” Clary affirmed. “Personally, I am extremely grateful for the time that I’ve spent here, and I am greatly enthused about the opportunity that GWU has given me to go out into the world and create positive change in the lives of others.”

His advice to aspiring teacher candidates is “don’t give up” when course work gets challenging or current events related to the teaching profession are discouraging.

“Don’t let those moments overpower your passion,” he offered. “When your student teaching semester finally arrives, and you stand in front of real kids in a real classroom and begin to see the potential that you have for helping other people rise to their potential, you will immediately remember why you chose to enter the profession in the first place.”

Long term, his goal is to attend graduate school to teach music on the college level. As a freelance jazz musician, someday he would like to start his own band and perform his own compositions.

“The music faculty at Gardner-Webb played a large role in shaping my aspirations as well as giving me the tools to realize them,” he noted. “But, I was also hugely inspired by the musicianship and sheer creativity of my peers.”

Located in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb University blends a liberal arts core curriculum with more than 60 major and minor professional programs of study, a comprehensive academic experience that flows from our Christian commitment to intellectual freedom, service and leadership.

Student-Centered

 

"Since Gardner-Webb is a small university, I have the luxury of my professors investing in me as an individual. The science department has been absolutely wonderful to me and I consider many of them role models. They may never know how truly thankful I am for each and every one of them." Wendy Harmon ’16 (More)

Gardner-Webb Student Explores Opportunities in Field of Science

Lessons Learned From GWU Professors Helped Wendy Harmon Excel in Internships

Wendy Harmon grew up with the mountains, rivers, lakes, and streams of western North Carolina at her back door. Some of her fondest memories are of outdoor exploratory excursions with her parents, Tommy and Darlene Harmon, where she literally first got her feet wet in ecology — the study of how organisms interact with their environments.

Her mother was a Gardner-Webb graduate, but Harmon wanted to make her own decision about where to go to college.

“Initially, I thought it might be a little too close to home, but after I came to campus, I knew this was the place I needed to be,” she shared.

She enjoyed her studies in the science department and knew early on that she wanted an internship after her freshman year. Most companies do not offer intern positions to freshmen, so she asked Dr. Tom Jones, her biology professor and the honors program associate dean, for advice on how to land one. He told her to apply to 20 and she might get one.

By January she had applied to more than 16 and was accepted for two valuable experiences, earning a spot on a four-day SEEDS National Field Trip to Trout Lake Station in Wisconsin and a summer internship to study humpback whales with New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance in Plymouth Bay, Mass.

Her professors helped her take her exams early in order to arrive on time for the Wisconsin adventure. “The science department has been absolutely wonderful to me and I consider many of them role models,” Harmon reflected. “They may never know how truly thankful I am for each and every one of them.”

The next summer, Harmon applied for internships in the North Carolina State Government Internship Program. She was among about 1,000 applicants for 70 positions throughout the state. She was chosen for an educator position at the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education in Brevard.

At first she wasn’t sure about being an educator, because she has always wanted to do research. But she found her classes at GWU had prepared her to teach a wide audience from the preschooler to the 40-year-old.

“The GWU experience of having close contact with my professors helped me to know how to communicate and relate to the people I was working with,” she observed. “Smaller class sizes allow professors to connect with their students, and offer one-on-one help when needed. Also, students are able to develop stronger personal opinions, due to the allowance of discussion in the classroom. When Dr. Jones asks me a question in class, I give an answer and we discuss it. He is so intelligent, but treats everyone with respect and so much care. The professors want to see you grow as an individual. Because of their example, I was able to adapt teaching methods to different audiences.”

In the small setting at Pisgah, she worked to draw out the shy children. “I loved seeing the shy child transformed and asking me more questions,” she said.

Harmon plans to go to graduate school, but is unsure whether it will be for research or something else. She is sure, however, that GWU has prepared her for wherever the next step leads.

“My professors here not only formed me as an educated person, but as a better person for society,” she affirmed. “The knowledge the GWU science faculty has to offer is invaluable. Their life experiences are openly shared with the students, and these experiences have allowed insight beyond the classroom. Professors here understand how to shape successful graduate students, and well-qualified professionals. I hope that every student will take advantage not only of the information they learn in class, but will also seek out the professional knowledge our science faculty has to offer.”

Located in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb University offers a comprehensive academic experience that introduces students to the diverse world of ideas and to the people who think them, preparing them for professional success and for productive citizenship.