news-category: Academics

Gardner-Webb Officials Announce Academic Reorganization and Name Changes

Religious Studies classroom

Restructuring Follows Well-Established Pattern in Higher Education

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Gardner-Webb University officials have announced an academic reorganization to provide symmetry across academic divisions. The restructuring, which begins Aug. 1, follows a well-established pattern in higher education and also includes changes to administrative titles, such as deans leading colleges, directors over schools, and chairs of academic departments.

Dr. Downs
Gardner-Webb President Dr. William M. Downs

“There is no single, essential cookie-cutter model for organizing a complex organization such as a university,” observed GWU President Dr. William M. Downs. “With that said, things had evolved at Gardner-Webb to a point where it had become difficult for students and those external to the University to discern the logic for why things were arranged the way they were.”

He continued, “I am particularly excited that our business school will be upgraded to the Godbold College of Business and that likewise our education school will soon become the College of Education. These titles better capture the stature of what has been built over the years at Gardner-Webb. The White School of Divinity decided internally to maintain its existing name, as the national norm in divinity is to organize around the term ‘school’ rather than ‘college.’”

Dr. Ben Leslie
Gardner-Webb Provost and
Executive Vice President Dr. Ben Leslie

Gardner-Webb Provost and Executive Vice President Dr. Ben Leslie said that academic organization fosters collaboration and supports the University’s mission to prepare graduates for leadership and service. “The new organization strengthens collaborative bridges across disciplines, and it also improves consistency across campus in our nomenclature,” Leslie related. “With four colleges and a School of Divinity, it provides a simplified roadmap to future students on the many educational opportunities that Gardner-Webb offers, from associate degrees to doctoral programs.”

Additionally, Downs noted that as Gardner-Webb prepares to launch a comprehensive capital campaign, naming gifts are available. “Relative to our peers, Gardner-Webb has few of its colleges and schools named,” he shared. “Arts and Sciences, Health Sciences, and Education offer naming opportunities for those who want to make transformational gifts that will elevate the people and programs of those respective academic divisions.”

The reorganization and new divisions include:

  • The Godbold College of Business.
  • The College of Education.
  • The Physician Assistant Studies Program will become the Department of Physician Assistant Studies.
  • The School of Psychology and Counseling will continue to be housed within the College of Health Sciences, but with a new name—The School of Psychological Science and Counselor Education.
  • The School of Psychological Science and Counselor Education will be comprised of two departments:
    • Department of Psychological Science (undergraduate).
    • Department of Counselor Education (graduate).
  • The Military Science minor, formerly free-floating, has been assigned to the Department of Public Service.
  • The University will decommission the School of Performing and Visual Arts as the administrative unit housing the Department of Music, the Department of Theatre Arts, and the Department of Visual Arts in favor of three separate departments within the College of Arts and Sciences.
GWU students

The following positions have new titles:

  • Dean of the College of Health Sciences, Dr. Nicole Waters.
  • Director of the Hunt School of Nursing, Dr. Tracy Arnold.
  • Director of the School of Psychological Science and Counselor Education, Dr. David Carscaddon.
  • Director of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies, Dr. Ami Steele.
  • Director of the Honors Program, Dr. Tom Jones.

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

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