Dear Students,

Welcome to Gardner-Webb University! We are so glad that you have chosen to join this diverse and caring community of scholars through a GWU Online degree program. Everyone at Gardner-Webb – faculty, success coaches, advisors, staff, administrators – wants you to be successful. GWU has delivered adult education since 1978, and we are always striving to improve.   One recent example of how GWU Online listens to students is the switch to 8-week terms (versus the traditional 16-weeks). This change begins to take effect in Fall 2023 and will be completed by Spring 2025, enabling you to focus on a smaller number of courses per term. Eight-week terms require that you spend double the time per day on your smaller number of courses, completing in half the time. We recommend that you pre-order books and update your calendar to include assignment due dates. You will gain access to your courses in Blackboard seven days before the start of the term, thus we encourage you to review syllabi early. Plan to engage with your classes every day, at the latest every-other day. Everything is compressed in 8-week delivery so it’s important to regularly engage – for example, the drop/add deadline is only three days after the term start date.  

One of the reasons for GWU Online’s high student satisfaction ratings is our small class size (average student-faculty ratio is 17:1). Smaller classes support more meaningful connections between faculty and peers. One Spring 2023 student said,

   “I would absolutely choose GWU again.  I have decided to continue my education at GWU in the graduate program. I have had a very successful online education. The professors are what makes GWU what it is.”   

You will be assigned a Success Coach or Faculty Advisor at the outset of your program, and they will function as primary support for your continued academic progress. Feel free to contact your Success Coach/Faculty Advisor or me if you wish to recommend improvements in our offerings. We are dedicated to supporting you.  

The Online Student Handbook was created to provide easy access to success tips, policies, and services for GWU Online students. As a student, you are responsible for your learning and interactions with the university, and this handbook serves as a guide. Please read this information to familiarize yourself with the myriad ways this community supports your progress.   God bless your efforts. 

Dr. Athens's signature

Dr. Wendy Athens
Director of Academic Innovation and Digital Learning
[email protected]