news-category: College of Health Sciences

Dr. Tracy Arnold Promoted to Associate Dean of the Gardner-Webb College of Health Sciences

Tracy Arnold stands in a simulation lab

Former Hunt School of Nursing Director also Elected to Serve on National Nursing Accreditation Board

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Dr. Tracy Arnold, former director of the Gardner-Webb University Hunt School of Nursing (HSON), has been named the Associate Dean of the College of Health Sciences (CoHS). In her new role, effective Aug. 1, 2024, Arnold will focus on enhancing instruction, grant writing, accreditation processes and faculty development programs.

In announcing Arnold’s promotion, CoHS Dean and Professor Dr. Nicole Waters, commended her colleague’s wealth of experience and profound commitment to leadership and higher education. “Dr. Arnold’s dedication as a problem-solver and mentor, combined with her collaborative and innovative spirit, has led to numerous academic improvements, new initiatives, and successful accreditation efforts,” Waters affirmed.

Dr. Tracy Arnold

Arnold is excited to explore the possibilities of her new position. “I will be able to work more closely with my colleagues in the CoHS on joint initiatives and projects that benefit multiple departments and contribute to the College’s overall mission,” she asserted. “I look forward to working under Dr. Waters’ leadership. Her vision, integrity, and dedication to all CoHS programs fosters a culture of excellence and collaboration.”

While continuing to teach in the nursing program, Arnold’s new responsibilities include helping to achieve annual goals and objectives related to the CoHS Strategic Plan, and assisting with fundraising and developing partnerships that enhance the College’s mission and resources. In collaboration with the CoHS Dean, she will research and implement new and/or different programs of instruction based on industry needs. Arnold will oversee regional, national, institutional, and program-level accreditation activities, including providing program support for accreditation processes and site visits. She will coordinate and facilitate a formal mentoring program for new CoHS faculty members.

Additionally, Arnold received a national honor with her election to the Board of Commissioners for the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). The governing board has the authority to (1) ensure the financial resources of the ACEN such as setting the fee schedule, budget, and reviewing the audit; (2) set policy such as those found in the Accreditation Manual and the Standards and Criteria; and (3) most importantly, has the sole authority to determine the accreditation status of nursing programs.  

“Over the last 10 years, I have grown in my knowledge of accreditation processes and standards through voluntary service with ACEN,” Arnold reflected. “I have served as a peer evaluator since 2014 and as a Team Chair and Evaluation Review Panel member since 2018. Serving as a Commissioner will allow me to continue to make meaningful contributions to nursing at the national level. I look forward to using this experience to help provide support for all CoHS accredited programs.”

Dr. Tracy Arnold talks with a patient at the Remote Area
Medical Clinic offered free to the community in 2023.

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Karen Aubrey, advocated for the new Associate Dean position in the CoHS. She stated that establishing this administrative role aligns the CoHS with leadership structures already in place in Gardner-Webb’s other colleges and schools.

Aubrey also noted further impetus for the change. “With the acceleration of the seeking of grants in CoHS, as well as the College’s anticipated growth, the College will benefit greatly from this added support,” she related. “We are fortunate that we have such a dedicated and respected colleague who will take up this charge. Dr. Arnold has a proven record of success over her years at Gardner-Webb.”

Aubrey praised Arnold’s appointment to the ACEN Board. “This position means that Dr. Arnold’s widely recognized work will have impact at a national and international level,” she observed. “This honor for Dr. Arnold attests to the excellence of our nursing program and will further elevate its recognition.”

A native of Sylva, N.C., Arnold is a four-time graduate of Gardner-Webb. She received her Associate Degree in Nursing in 2002, Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in 2004, Master of Science in Nursing in Nursing Administration in 2006 and Doctor of Nursing Practice in 2012. She worked eight years at CaroMont Health in Gastonia, N.C., in a variety of departments and served various leadership roles. She began as full-time faculty in HSON in 2010 and has served as BSN Program and Licensure Coordinator, Chair of Pre-Licensure Nursing Programs, Associate Director, and Director.

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, 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 Gardner-Webb.edu.

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