news-category: Graduate programs

Gardner-Webb Physician Assistant (PA) Department and Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) Announce Partnership

A group of people talking at a college fair
Student members of the Department of PA Medicine's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee represented the program at the JCSU Career Fair and Health Extravaganza.

New Agreement Allows Qualified JCSU Graduates to Reserve a Spot in GWU’s PA Program

The 2023 Class of the Department of Physician Assistant Medicine

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—The Gardner-Webb University Department of Physician Assistant (PA) Medicine has announced a partnership with Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU). Through this new agreement, JCSU graduates who are interested in a career as a certified PA can apply for a Reserve Applicant spot with the Gardner-Webb PA program and waive a total of $1,700 in fees.

Two Reserve Applicant spots will be available each year to JCSU graduates who meet criteria for admission to GWU’s PA program. “We are extremely honored and excited for the opportunity to work with JCSU and their graduates,” stated Ashley Kernicky, GWU interim PA program director. “Gardner-Webb aims to build accessible, high-quality academic programs. Our PA program continues to strive in developing knowledgeable and caring PAs from diverse backgrounds.”

Led by a faculty of dedicated educators and clinical experts, Gardner-Webb’s PA program offers current, evidence-based instructional delivery focused on individualized learning, mentorship, and competency. The class size is limited to 36 full-time residential students who can earn a Master of PA Studies degree in 28 months. The first 16 months is dedicated to instruction on the fundamentals of diagnostic and clinical medicine. The final 12 months involves intensive clinical rotations with providers and hospital systems in various medical fields. Each PA student has at least one clinical rotation in a medically underserved community.

Johnson C. Smith Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Melita Pope Mitchell noted that Gardner-Webb has a similar close-knit environment to JCSU. “We are excited about the possibilities this partnership opens up for our students interested in PA careers,” Mitchell affirmed. “I am confident that with the strong foundation they receive at JCSU, they will continue to soar at GWU. This partnership will help diversify the field with competent and caring professionals.”

With a growing national reputation for integrating the liberal arts with business, the sciences and technology, JCSU offers 21 undergraduate degree programs and a master’s degree in social work. The new partnership with Gardner-Webb fulfills a goal set out in JCSU’s Gold(en) Blueprint, the university’s five-year strategic plan, to provide seamless post-graduate pathways for JCSU students.

To learn more about admission criteria, contact the Gardner-Webb PA program at [email protected].  

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 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

About Johnson C. Smith

Founded in 1867, Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) is a private, close-knit, urban, historically Black university located in Charlotte, N.C. The university’s Latin motto, “Sit Lux,” or “Let There Be Light,” encourages students, faculty and staff to shine the lights of learning and service. JCSU’s students represent a variety of ethnic, socioeconomic and geographic backgrounds. The university’s excellent academic programs focus on servant leadership, civic engagement and global responsibility to produce students who share in the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation. For more information about JCSU, visit

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