news-category: Awards

Gardner-Webb Recognized by Colleges of Distinction for Academics and Student Engagement

Chemistry professor and student working in the lab at GWU
The award from Colleges of Distinction is based on four principles, including: 'Students have meaningful interactions with faculty in first-year experiences, writing-intensive courses, and collaborative assignments and projects.'

The University is Among the Top 10 N.C. Schools in Nursing, Career Development and Christian Principles, Also Recognized for Business and Education Programs

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Colleges of Distinction, a unique guide for college-bound students, has recognized Gardner-Webb University for its commitment to encourage and challenge undergraduate students to learn, develop their talents, and succeed. Gardner-Webb has been named a 2022-2023 College of Distinction and a North Carolina College of Distinction.

“What an honor to be recognized for our successful work with students,” expressed Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Karen Aubrey. “I am proud of our faculty and staff who work to keep students in the forefront of all that they do. It makes a difference in transforming students’ lives and in invigorating the campus community. We celebrate our ranking as a state leader in higher education and will continue to provide supportive and life-changing opportunities in our academic programs and through impactful campus engagement.” 

Wes Creel, the founder of Colleges of Distinction, believes that a thorough selection process requires more than an overview of institutional data, statistics, and size of endowment. Instead, the Colleges of Distinction selection process involves in-depth research and detailed interviews with the schools, accepting only those that adhere to four distinct principles:

  • Engaged students – Students have the opportunity to take an active part in their own learning through common intellectual experiences, undergraduate research, and diversity and global learning.
  • Great teaching – Students have meaningful interactions with faculty in first-year experiences, writing-intensive courses, and collaborative assignments and projects.
  • Vibrant community – Creating connections with peers outside of the classroom is an important part of a well-rounded college experience. Gardner-Webb offers service/community-based learning, and living-learning communities to help students find a sense of belonging and meaning throughout their campus experience.
  • Successful outcomes – The undergraduate experience works cohesively to prepare students not only for graduation, but for life after graduation. Some of these experiences include internships, professional development seminars, capstone courses and projects.

“Gardner-Webb’s inclusion is informed by the unique ways it commits to achieving student success,” Creel noted. “The University offers engaging experiences that are recognized as effective strategies for student satisfaction and outcomes. We’re inspired by the ways in which Gardner-Webb immerses students in their fields, all while fostering a welcoming community that will support them through and beyond their college years.”

Aside from overall undergraduate recognitions, Colleges of Distinction also awards recognition in individual areas. Gardner-Webb is among the top 10 North Carolina schools to earn additional recognition in the areas of nursing and career development, and one of the top 18 North Carolina schools to achieve exceptional recognition in business and education. Moreover, Gardner-Webb was the only N.C. School to be named a Christian College of Distinction.

Learn more about Gardner-Webb’s recognitions here.

About Colleges of Distinction

For more than 20 years, Colleges of Distinction has been committed to honoring schools throughout the U.S. for true excellence in higher education. The member schools within the Colleges of Distinction consortium distinguish themselves through their dedicated focus on the undergraduate experience. For more information, visit

About Gardner-Webb

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to six professional schools, 14 academic departments, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

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