news-category: Academics

Gardner-Webb University Approves Bold New General Education Curriculum

New Model Reduces Credit Hours, Provides Transfer-Friendly Pathway  

student at whiteboardBOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—The Gardner-Webb faculty has overwhelmingly approved a proposal to revise the University’s general education requirements. The restructured curriculum reduces the number of required credit hours by a third and provides a more transfer-friendly pathway for students transitioning to Gardner-Webb from other universities. The changes will go into effect in the 2021-2022 academic year. Students already enrolled at Gardner-Webb may elect to apply the new requirements to their academic program.

“The new curriculum is organized around a set of cornerstones—stewardship, expression, human experience, and global community—that resonate with the University’s mission,” stated Dr. Ben Leslie, GWU Provost and Executive Vice President. “The proposal will allow students greater flexibility to choose a minor, elective courses that appeal to personal interests, and even double-majors.”

Gardner-Webb President Dr. William M. Downs commended the General Education committee and faculty for their work in preparing and approving the plan. “This year, our faculty rose to the challenge of finishing off a major task that had percolated at GWU for too long,” affirmed Downs. “With one vote they have preserved a rigorous liberal arts foundation, while also dismantling unnecessary barriers to student choice, student success, and timely degree completion.”

According to Downs, “Gardner-Webb will now have a core that prepares every student for the key skills that society demands: critical thinking, effective communication, and the ability to solve complex problems while working in teams. As we move deeper into the 21st century’s third decade, a generation of future Runnin’ Bulldogs will be that much better prepared to make positive and lasting differences for their professions and for their communities.”

exercise science student in labIn this new model, students will take between 32-33 credit hours in “The Foundational Experience,” and 12-16 hours in “The Exploratory Experience.” The Foundation courses—such as English, math, history, the arts, languages, religion and science—provide the skills and knowledge for the Exploratory classes, which examine areas of interest, such as business, foreign languages, literature, sciences, fine arts and performing arts.

The General Education committee used information gathered in a student survey to shape the final proposal. Not only will the changes to the curriculum open space for most students to pursue a minor, they should reduce the time to graduation for everyone. At the same time, the reformed plan also retains exposure to natural sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities—the traditional scope of a liberal arts education.

“The proposed curriculum aligns more closely with what we see in peer schools, whether public or private,” Leslie said.

Learn more about Gardner-Webb Admissions.

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university. Gardner-Webb emphasizes a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics to prepare students to become effective leaders within the global community. Ignite your future at

Previous News Article

GWU Student Photographers Win Top Awards at Annual Competitions

Next News Article

Gardner-Webb Physician Assistant (PA) Student Provides Primary Care During Coronavirus

Related News

  • News Article

    Gardner-Webb’s Department of Music Ushers in the Christmas Season with Festival of Lights

    Community Joined the Annual Musical Celebration and Official Lighting of the Campus Christmas Tree BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Gardner-Webb’s annual program to welcome the Christmas season—Festival of Lights—featured performances by GWU music groups, the reading of the Christmas story and carol singing. Additionally, for the first time in the celebration’s history, the GW Orchestra participated in the […]

    The stage in Dover Theater with the choir and orchestra.
  • News Article

    Gardner-Webb’s First Living-Learning Community Helps Students Transition to Campus Life

    Honors Pilot Group Values the Relationships and Community Created by the Program  BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Gardner-Webb’s Division of Student Success and Office of Housing and Residence Education offered the University’s first living-learning community (LLC) this semester. An LLC is a program where first-year students live together on campus and participate in a shared academic endeavor. They […]

    The Honors LLC meets in their dorm.
  • News Article

    Gardner-Webb Class Travels to Cataloochee Valley to Study Elk Behavior

    Students Take Pictures and Present Their Observations in Poster Format BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Gardner-Webb University students in Biology 315 (animal physiology) recently made a trip to Cataloochee Valley in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where they viewed elk in their natural habitat. Assistant Professor of biology Jay Zimmer teaches the class and noted that the fall […]

    A student poses in the Cataloochee Valley with a camera and an elk in the background