news-category: Awards

Gardner-Webb Faculty Recognized with Awards

Administration Presents Honors for Excellence in the Classroom, Service, Mentorship and Scholarship

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—At the recent Fall Faculty Assembly, Gardner-Webb University administrators honored faculty members with various awards. Gardner-Webb President Dr. William M. Downs presented the 2022-2023 Excellence in Teaching award to Associate Professor of Nursing Dr. Yvonne Smith. Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Karen Aubrey recognized winners of the other faculty awards. Dean of the Gayle Bolt Price School of Graduate Studies Dr. Sydney Brown presented the graduate faculty awards.  

Rising Star Award

Instructor of Business Administration Jessica Herndon  

This award is given to a full-time faculty member employed five or fewer years at Gardner-Webb. Eligible faculty demonstrate excellence, or promise of excellence, in scholarship, teaching, and service.   Herndon was nominated for her excellence in the classroom and service to the University. She continually goes above and beyond in tutoring and mentoring students. She has updated courses and helped to restructure capstone courses. She helps to host experiential learning days, works with students across campus in her business communications course, and assists students with career planning, thus working with students at the start and the end of their career at Gardner-Webb.

She serves her campus community as co-chair of the General Education committee and also serves as a member of the Faculty Development of Instruction and Improvement Committee (FDIIC). She is a member of the Godbold College of Business Undergraduate Committee and the Chair of the Scholarship Committee. She serves as the faculty advisor for the Equestrian Club and is a key player in Quality Matters for the College of Business, offering advice and assistance to other faculty members.     

Faculty Service Award

Associate Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and Professor of English Dr. Jennifer Buckner  

This award encompasses any excellence in service to the University, a school, or a department by a fulltime faculty member.   Buckner has been an asset to her colleagues across campus and in her department. She is a valued team member and faithfully serves her campus community with her leadership, innovation and inclusivity while being a shining example of service to her department and to her students.  

She was instrumental in the review of major requirements and how to prepare for the new general education curriculum. Buckner has served in many roles, including former department chair, interim dean, and associate dean. During her time in these leadership roles, she helped her departments become more efficient, overcoming obstacles and advocating for necessary change. Her attitude of service, approachable nature and constant encouragement make her the ideal candidate for this award.   

Mentoring and Academic Advising Award

Associate Dean of the Godbold College of Business and Associate Professor of Business Dr. Christine Sutton  

This award encompass excellence in mentoring, advising, out-of-class support, encouragement, and collaboration on student research projects by a fulltime faculty member.   Sutton demonstrates constant commitment to mentoring students and faculty. She serves on a variety of committees, ensuring that all students and faculty have an advocate at Gardner-Webb. She meets with students almost daily during lunch breaks and after hours, proving to be instrumental in helping students with their professional growth.   She has mentored many students in pursuing higher levels of education in the Godbold College of Business. She has also been an integral part of streamlining the graduate programs, in organizing elements of the College and in the scheduling of programs. The plans of action that she has created have strengthened students’ ability to get to the proposal stage of their dissertations. These plans have helped students and faculty who work with them to articulate a clear pathway to dissertation.  

Nancy Francis-Gregg Day-Adjunct Award

Dr. Jim Rennie – Political Science 

This award recognizes a traditional undergraduate program adjunct, who has made outstanding contributions to the teaching mission of Gardner-Webb University.   Rennie has faithfully served as an adjunct of political science since 2019. With a career in the military and government, he hopes to encourage students to broaden their horizons and consider opportunities in public service. His courses are carefully planned and he often utilizes guest speakers or brings in food from other countries. He appreciates the mission and vision of Gardner-Webb, as he notes, “I believe strongly that Christ’s followers should learn and practice critical thinking in order to engage in serving their surrounding environment.” Rennie also supports his students outside of the classroom by attending their sporting events, plays and concerts. Students have expressed that they are gaining more than just an education from him.  They feel as though they are gaining a mentor and life-long supporter of their dreams and future endeavors.   

Scholarship Faculty Award

Professor of History Dr. David Yelton

This award includes excellence in research and/or scholarly contribution to a field by a fulltime faculty member. Yelton has served the University as a full-time faculty member for over 30 years. He has served the campus community in many facets including faculty committees, chair of the department and associate provost. He has remained an active scholar in the field of German history and is well-known in his field for his research on the German Volkssturm, a militia organization founded in the fall of 1944 and organized by the Nazi Party. His research has shown that the militia was a part of a strategy based on National Socialist ideology that sought to prolong the war. His work, once published and presented, became the accepted interpretation of both the Volkssturm and the broader Nazi war-fighting strategy, prompting further inquiry and dialog. He has a long history of scholarly research and has been published many times. In addition, he won the Vandervort Prize in 2020 for an article addressing a highly debated historical issue examining the political involvement of members of the German armed forces. The Vandervolt Prize is a national award for an outstanding article published in the Journal of Military History.

Adjunct Graduate Faculty Award

Dr. Kathy Revis  

Revis serves Gardner-Webb as an adjunct professor in the Master of School Administration and the EdD in Educational Leadership programs within the College of Education. This past February, she was inducted into the Henderson County Education Hall of Fame for her leadership in public education as assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction. A student who nominated her stated: “Dr. Kathy Revis provides a level of leadership that is rare. Her level of knowledge, background, and experience is evident in her approach to assuring fair and equitable instructional guidance to everyone.”

Graduate Full-Time Faculty Award

Allison Shamblin

Shamblin teaches in the Physician Assistant Studies program within the College of Health Sciences. She brought experience in multiple aspects of medicine when she joined the faculty in 2022 after serving as a guest lecturer for the GWU program since 2014. She is known for models and drawings to support learning. She has a dry-erase board and diagrams outside her office door to encourage student engagement and learning reinforcement outside the classroom.   In addition to her experience, skills, knowledge, and ability to teach challenging content, she is known for integrating her Christian faith in her work with students. A nominating student said, “Professor Shamblin is an outstanding faculty member. She is one of the most genuine people I have ever met. Professor Shamblin goes beyond academics; she meets with students, offers wisdom, and prays with us. We are blessed to have a professor like Professor Shamblin in our PA Graduate Program.”  

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

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