Academic Year 2023–2024

Communicable Diseases

Persons infected with a communicable disease will not be excluded from initial enrollment or employment or restricted in their access to University facilities or services unless a medically based judgment by the primary care physician in consultation with the University’s designated health consultant establishes that exclusion or restriction is necessary to the welfare of the infected individual or the welfare of other members of the University community. Additionally, persons who know, or have reasonable basis for believing, that they are infected by a communicable disease are encouraged to share that information, on a confidential basis, with the health consultant so that the University may make reasonable accommodations that will respond to their health and educational needs.

Persons who know, or have reasonable basis for believing, they are infected with a communicable disease are encouraged to seek expert advice about their health circumstances and are obligated, ethically and legally, to conduct themselves responsibly in accordance with such knowledge for the protection of other members of the University community.

Consult the COVID-19 section of the university website for specific information related to this virus.

Inclement Weather and Emergency Closings

Classes may still meet during inclement weather. If the weather is so bad that the University officially cancels class, this information will be accessible on the GWU website. This includes information on off-campus sites. A weather decision on evening classes is generally not made until after 3 p.m.

Students attending class at an off-site location are encouraged to sign up for the inclement weather or emergency notification system at the school, district, or community college where their class is meeting. In addition, if a class meeting is in question, look for an email from the course instructor.

Intellectual Property Policy

I. Purpose
The purpose of the Intellectual Property Policy (“policy”) of Gardner-Webb University (“the University”) is to foster an environment that encourages the generation of new knowledge by faculty, staff, and students; to help facilitate transfer of useful inventions and writings to society; and to motivate the development and dissemination of intellectual property.

The policy is based upon the following principles relating to faculty, staff and students to the University:

  1. Intellectual property is created by individuals, or by groups of individuals, who are entitled to choose the course of disclosure.
  2. There exists a historical tradition allowing authors to retain ownership of intellectual property rights from textbooks and works of art.
  3. The University is the support of the whole campus community, and is thereby entitled to share in financial rewards.

II. Definitions
As used in this policy, the following definitions will apply:

  1. Intellectual Property includes any patentable invention, any copyrightable subject matter, or trade secret. It also includes works of art, and inventions or creations that might normally be developed on a proprietary basis.
  2. University means Gardner-Webb University.
  3. Student means any full-time or part-time graduate or undergraduate student, regardless of whether the student receives financial aid from the University or from outside sources. It is the responsibility of students who are also employees of other outside entities to resolve any conflicts between this policy and provisions of agreements with their employers prior to beginning any undertaking at the University that will involve the development of intellectual property.
  4. Faculty means members of the University’s faculty as defined in the Faculty Handbook, plus instructors, special faculty appointments, and part-time faculty.
  5. Staff means any employee of the University other than students and faculty as defined above. If a student is also a part-time University employee, the student is considered as staff with regard to intellectual property developed as a result of his employment, and as a student with regard to other intellectual property. A full-time non-faculty employee who is also taking one or more courses is considered to be staff. Visitors to the University who make substantial use of University resources are considered as staff with respect to any intellectual property arising from such use.
  6. Creator means any person or persons who create an item of intellectual property.
  7. Net proceeds to the University mean all proceeds received by the University on intellectual property that it assigns, sells or licenses, minus any application, litigation, interference, or marketing costs directly attributable to the intellectual property being licensed.
  8. Net proceeds to the creator mean all proceeds received by the creator from intellectual property owned by the creator that the creator sells, assigns or licenses, less the costs of application, legal protection, or litigation, interference, travel and other marketing costs directly attributable to the intellectual property being exploited. Such net proceeds do not include compensation legitimately received by the creator for consulting services or interest or other return on invested labor or capital.
  9. Substantial use of University facilities means extensive un-reimbursed use of major University laboratory, studio or computational facilities, or human resources. The use of these facilities must be important to the creation of the intellectual property; merely incidental use of a facility does not constitute substantial use, nor does extensive use of a facility commonly available to all faculty or professional staff (such as libraries and offices), nor does extensive use of a specialized facility for routine tasks. Use will be considered “extensive” and facilities will be considered “major” if similar use of similar facilities would cost the creator more than $1,000.00 if purchased or leased in the public market. Creators wishing to directly reimburse the University for the use of its facilities must make arrangements to do so before the level of facilities usage for a particular intellectual property becomes substantial. (This provision is not intended to override any other department or University policy concerning reimbursement for facilities usage.)
  10. Online Courses. An online course refers to an academic course or a portion of an academic course that is delivered through electronic means, typically through a learning management system like Blackboard. In the context of intellectual property, the online course refers to all aspects of the course produced by the creator, as distinct from those portions of the course that are provided by the learning management system or are part of the electronic delivery of the course, which typically are made available to the institution and the creator through licensing. Components of the online course produced by the creator may include, but are not limited to, lectures, videos, graphics, bibliographies (or webliographies), learning outcomes and course outlines.

III. Ownership Provisions and Procedures
In order of precedence, and unless otherwise provided by law, ownership of intellectual property shall be as follows:

  • Externally Sponsored Work.
    1. Intellectual property created as a result of work conducted under an agreement between an external sponsor and the University that specifies the ownership of such intellectual property shall be owned as specified in said agreement.
    2. The Provost of the University will inform each person whose intellectual property rights are limited by an externally sponsored contract of the intellectual property provisions of that contract in advance of the beginning of the work.
  • Internally Sponsored Work
    1. When the University provides funds or facilities for a particular project to the extent of substantial use, it may also choose to designate itself as sponsor of that work, subject to the provisions of Paragraph 4.F. The University may declare itself the owner of intellectual property resulting from the work. In such cases the University must specify in advance the disposition of any intellectual property rights arising from the project.
    2. The Provost of the University will inform each person whose intellectual property rights are limited by internally sponsored work of the intellectual property ownership rights specified by the University as to that work in advance of the beginning of the work.
  • Individual Agreements
    1. Provisions: Intellectual property which is the subject of a specific agreement between the University and the creator(s) thereof shall be owned as provided in said agreement. Such agreements by the University and the faculty are encouraged.
    2. Except where limited by external sponsorship agreements, creators and the University may negotiate individual agreements to govern ownership of intellectual property regardless of the applicability of any other provision of this policy.
  • Intellectual Property Created Within Scope of Employment
    1. Intellectual property created by University employees who were employed specifically to produce a particular intellectual property shall be owned by the University if said intellectual property was created within the normal scope of their employment.

IV. Other Ownership Provisions
Where no other provisions of this policy apply, ownership of intellectual property created at the University shall be determined as follows:

  • The creator retains all rights to the following types of intellectual property, without limitation: books (including textbooks), educational courseware and software, articles, non-fiction, novels, poems, musical works, dramatic works including any accompanying music, pantomimes and choreographic works, pictorial, graphic and sculptural works, motion pictures and other similar audio-visual works, and sound recordings, regardless of the level of use of University facilities. This provision does not include computer software (other than educational courseware) or databases.
  • Computer software, other than educational software, and databases are characterized by their capacity to perform tasks. Because of their utilitarian nature, ownership rights with respect thereto are governed by Paragraphs 4.D and 4.E below.
  • The creator owns all intellectual property created without substantial use of University facilities, including intellectual property rights in computer software and databases.
  • The creator owns all intellectual property contained within an online course produced by the creator, consistent with paragraph A-C above. The University retains shared ownership of course titles, course descriptions, course outlines, and learning outcomes and may reuse, revise or assign these objects without acquiring the permission of the creator.
  • The creator originally owns intellectual property created with substantial use of University facilities or with University funding, but no external or internal sponsorship, and retains said ownership of said property subject to the following:
    1. The University shall receive 25% of the net proceeds to the creator above $1,000.00; and
    2. The University shall receive a perpetual, non-exclusive, non-transferable, royalty free license for non-commercial use of said intellectual property. In the case of software, this license includes access by specified University personnel to the source listings, and the University shall require each person to whom a disclosure is made to execute in advance a binding confidentiality agreement in favor of and enforceable by the creator. If the intellectual property is created solely by a student or students, the creator is exempt from the obligation to pay to the University a fraction of his net proceeds, but not from the provision of this paragraph for a non-exclusive license to the University.
    3. If the creator develops an intellectual property that is covered by this provision, the creator must make full and fair disclosure to the University of all such sources of compensation relating to that intellectual property.
  • The University originally owns intellectual property created with substantial use of University facilities and directly arising from work sponsored under an agreement between an external sponsor and the University, or from work for which the University has declared itself a sponsor, but for which neither the external sponsor nor the University have specified the ownership of resulting intellectual property, in which case the creator shall receive 50% of the net proceeds to the University.
  • No faculty or staff of the University shall take from a student personal assignment of intellectual property created by a student. The intellectual property rights of students are governed by this policy, and it is the duty of University faculty and staff to see that the intellectual property rights of students are protected in accordance with this policy.

V. General Provisions

  1. The creator of any intellectual property that is or might be owned by the University under this policy is required to make reasonably prompt written disclosure of the work to the University’s Provost, and to execute any document deemed necessary to perfect legal rights in the University and enable the University to file patent applications and applications for copyright registration when appropriate. This disclosure to the provost should be made at the time when legal protection for the creation is contemplated, and it must be made before the intellectual property is sold, used for profit, or disclosed to the public. Whenever legal protection for intellectual property is anticipated, all persons engaged in such creative activity are encouraged to keep regular records.
  2. The University’s share of any proceeds under this policy will be used to reimburse the University for its expenses for commercial development of intellectual property. Any additional return to the University will be used to further the academic purposes of all the disciplines of the entire University.

VI. Resolution of Disputes

  • This policy constitutes an understanding which is binding on the University and on the faculty, staff, and students as a condition for participating in research programs at the University or for the use of University funds or facilities.
  • Any question of interpretation or claim arising out of or relating to this policy, or dispute as to ownership rights of intellectual property under this policy, will be settled by the following procedure:
    1. The issue must first be submitted to the Institutional Review Board in the form of a letter setting forth the grievance or issue to be resolved. The Institutional Review Board will review the matter and then advise the parties of its decision within 60 days of submission of the letter.
    2. If any of the parties to the dispute are not satisfied with the committee’s decision, the party may seek binding arbitration in Charlotte, North Carolina, and in accordance with the Rules of the American Arbitration Association then in effect. Judgment upon the award rendered by the arbitrator(s) may be entered in any court having jurisdiction thereof. The arbitrator(s) will give some weight to the decision of the Institutional Review Board in reaching a decision. The losing party of the arbitration hearing will pay for all costs of the arbitration unless the arbitrator(s) specifies otherwise.

Medical Withdrawal

Any registered student who experiences medical trauma or a chronic illness that may prevent completing the semester may apply for a medical withdrawal from the University. A medical withdrawal request must be filed with Registrar Services prior to the start of final exams and must include documentation submitted from a physician or psychologist trained in the diagnosis of the medical condition. A qualifying medical condition, as determined by the physician or psychologist, must prevent the student from participating in all classes remaining during the current semester. A medical withdrawal is a complete withdrawal from the University. The supporting documentation from a physician or psychologist accompanying the medical withdrawal request must be submitted on official letterhead from the physician or psychologist and must be addressed to the Gardner-Webb University Registrar. The medical documentation must also include the physician’s or psychologist’s name, title, professional credentials, license, and certification number, and should address the following:

  1. Description of the condition that has made the student unable to continue in school
  2. Date the examination, assessment, or evaluation was performed
  3. In the event that the medical withdrawal is the result of an injury or accident, the date the injury or accident occurred
  4. In the event the medical withdrawal is due to chronic illness, the date the illness made it necessary to stop attending classes

A student will be notified of the approval decision following a review of the medical documentation. If the request is approved, the student will receive a final grade of “W” for each class (except in instances of Academic Dishonesty). Any adjustment in tuition will be made on a prorated basis. Upon medical withdrawal from the University, a student must apply for readmission to the University to continue studies. As with any other readmission, stipulations may apply. The student must provide documentation from the same physician or psychologist, when possible, stating the student is able to continue academic studies at the University. This documentation should follow the same format as above.

Privacy Policy and Access to Educational Records

Gardner-Webb University complies with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). This Act is designed to protect the privacy of educational records, to establish the right of students to inspect and review their educational records, and to provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate or misleading data through informal and formal hearings. Students also have the right to file complaints with the FERPA office concerning alleged failures by the institution to comply with the Act.

Institutional policy explains in detail the procedures to be used by the institution for compliance with the provisions of the Act. Copies of the policy can be found in Registrar Services. That office also maintains a Directory of Records, which lists all student educational records maintained by the institution. Information known as Directory Information will be published unless the student specifically requests that Registrar Services withhold this information. Directory Information is defined as the following: student name, local and permanent addresses, telephone numbers, date of birth, major(s), dates of attendance, previous educational institutions attended, and degree and awards received. Questions concerning the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act may be referred to Registrar Services.

  • Final Exam Policy Comprehensive final examinations or assessment products are required in every course by the end of the semester and must be taken at the assigned time for the course. In rare situations, it may be necessary for a student to request approval to change one or more of their exams from the regularly scheduled time(s). Students should contact the Associate Provost’s office for the exam change request policy and procedures. Because of the nature and format of some exams, professors are not required to allow changes to the exam schedule for any course or student if the needs of the course make such approval unfeasible. 

Program Probation, Suspension, and Dismissal

In addition to the grade requirements and an acceptable cumulative grade point average (3.0 or better) detailed in the graduate section of the Academic Catalog, good standing in the School of Graduate Studies is dependent on a student’s meeting standards of professionalism stipulated in his or her program’s Student Handbook. Failure to meet these standards may result in probation, suspension, or dismissal from the program. A student who is removed from a program by suspension or dismissal in the course of a semester is not entitled to a tuition refund.

Sexual Misconduct and General Harassment Policy

Notice of Nondiscrimination

Various federal regulations, including the regulations implementing Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, require that each recipient of federal financial assistance, such as Gardner-Webb University, publish this Notice of Nondiscrimination. Gardner-Webb University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in employment for any of its programs and activities. The person designated to oversee policies, procedures, and complaints related to possible discrimination on the basis of sex (including sexual harassment and sexual misconduct) is referred to throughout this document as the Title IX Coordinator. The Interim Title IX Coordinator for Gardner-Webb University is:

Lesley Villarose, MEd
Vice-President for Student Development and Dean of Students
Interim Title IX Coordinator and ADA Coordinator
Gardner-Webb University
PO Box 7271
Boiling Springs, NC 28017
(704) 402-2081
[email protected]

Gardner-Webb University believes the journey to acquire knowledge can only flourish in an environment free from sexual misconduct or gender-based discrimination. Sexual misconduct includes, but is not limited to, sexual assault, sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating/acquaintance violence, and stalking. All forms of sexual misconduct are viewed as acts of aggression and repression and are not conductive to a positive educational environment and therefore prohibited on campus.

All students and employees of the University are subject to the institution’s Sexual Misconduct and Harassment policy. The policy is posted on the University’s website here.

Resources and Procedures

A complete listing of resources, policies, definitions and procedures on how to file both formal and informal complaints, may be found on the Gardner-Webb University’s website here.

Student Representation on the Graduate Council

The Graduate Council is a faculty committee of the University charged with oversight of graduate programs, as defined in the Faculty Constitution and in the Bylaws of the Graduate Faculty of the Gayle Bolt Price School of Graduate Studies. Each year a graduate student is elected by the Council to represent graduate students on the Council. This representative serves a one-year term and has voting privileges on the Council. Graduate students interested in serving on the Graduate Council should notify their program coordinator, dean, or the Dean of the Gayle Bolt Price School of Graduate Studies.

University Policy on External Speakers at Campus Events

Forged within a supportive and diverse Christian community, the mission of Gardner-Webb University is to prepare graduates for leadership and service in their professional careers and in their personal lives.  To that end, we should encourage students, faculty, and staff to bring to campus speakers who can authoritatively address issues of scholarly or contemporary relevance, even when their views may strike some as controversial.  However, external speakers who are known for inciting hatred of others or who mock, threaten, or bully entire groups are unlikely to contribute to the mission of our University; as such, they should not normally be seen as worthy of invitation to make public addresses on our campus.  University personnel (students, faculty, staff, chartered clubs) wishing to bring external speakers to campus for a public talk should gather information about the potential speaker, including the topic(s) they will address, and secure approval in advance from an appropriate supervisor or University official:

  • Faculty:  Provost or Associate Provost
  • Individual Student or Chartered Student Group:  Vice President of Student Development (Vice President for Christian Life and Service if relevant)
  • Student-Athletes, Coaches:  Vice President for Athletics 
  • Staff, Staff Council:  Vice President for Finance and Administration

External speakers invited by faculty to make presentations to individual classes are excluded from this policy, except when honoraria are involved.