news-category: Academics

Gardner-Webb Hires New Faculty in Education, Arts and Sciences, and Health Sciences

a photo of the electronic sign in front of Gardner-Webb

New Assistant Professors and Visiting Instructor Bring Experience in Research and Teaching

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Gardner-Webb University Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Karen D’Ambrogi Aubrey has announced the hiring of new faculty for the Colleges of Education, Arts and Sciences and Health Sciences. These experienced educators and researchers bring a wealth of knowledge and passion to the classroom and continue the ongoing aggressive recruitment of new faculty to the GWU campus.

Robert Prickett
Dr. Robert Prickett

Professor and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Dr. Robert Prickett extended his welcome to the new faculty joining the Departments of Public Service,  Dr. Tracey Carter, and English Language and Literature, Dr. Joshua Pittman. “We, in the College of Arts and Sciences are thrilled to welcome three outstanding faculty members to our university this year,” Prickett praised. “Their expertise, experience, and commitment to student-centered instruction will undoubtedly enrich our academic community. Together, we look forward to the work and impact that each is going to have on their students, their programs, and the university. These faculty join us after a rigorous national search process, ensuring that we’ve selected the best candidates to contribute to our continued growth and success.”

Professor and Chair of the Department of English Language and Literature, Dr. Chris Davis, added, “Dr. Pittman brings both energy and expertise to our faculty and allows us to expand out students’ options for coursework and research. He will teach a range of courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including medieval courses, Shakespeare, literature surveys and first-year composition.”

Dr. Nicole Waters

Professor and Chair of the Department of Public Service, Dr. Bobbie Cox, explained the roles of the faculty in her area. “Dr. Clements will be teaching in the Master of Public Administration program, and Dr. Carter will be assisting Dr. Erin Cook in delivering the Online and TUG Human Services courses,” Cox offered. “Based on their backgrounds, accomplishments, and educational levels, these professors are highly qualified to contribute to the mission of our department.” 

Professor and Dean of the College of Health Sciences, Dr. Nicole Waters, also welcomed Dr. Adam Davila to the School of Psychological Science and Counselor Education. “Dr. Davila’s qualifications and expertise in cognitive and behavioral sciences will significantly enhance our department’s academic and research capabilities,” Waters observed. “Dr. Davila’s insights and contributions will inspire our students and strengthen our educational programs.”

Brief introductions to the new faculty members follow.

College of Arts and Sciences

  • Tracey-Ann Carter, assistant professor of human services — From 2015-2024, Carter served as assistant professor of social science at Allen University in Columbia, S.C. During this time, she also held online adjunct positions at Wingate (N.C.) University and Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, N.C. Carter earned her Ph.D. in human services from Capella University in 2014. She is also a grievance and appeal specialist for EmblemHealth in Manhattan, N.Y. Her responsibilities include reviewing and evaluating appeal and grievance requests, determining eligibility and benefits, conducting investigations and identifying areas of potential improvement. While teaching at Allen, she served as program administrator for Aurise Collegiate Recovery Program. In this position, she developed and maintained referral partnerships locally and nationally with recovery support organizations to provide clinical and supportive services. She was also distance education coordinator and social sciences department chair. She received her bachelor’s in psychology in 2001 from Atlantic Union College in Lancaster, Mass., her master’s in human services with a minor in counseling studies in 2010 from Capella University in Minneapolis, Minn. She has a graduate certificate in education technology in blended and online learning and teaching from the University of Cincinnati in Ohio.  
  • Joshua Pittman, assistant professor of English languages and literature — (January 2025 start) Pittman is an assistant professor and chair of English at Bluefield (Va.) University, where he has worked since 2020. He is trained medievalist who has taught medieval literature, Shakespeare poems and plays and technical writing. He previously taught at Baylor University in Texas, where he earned his Ph.D. in English in 2020. While at Baylor, he transcribed manuscripts from the 19th century and filed manuscripts for a digitization project for the Armstrong Browning Library. He also researched current practices in pedagogy for the Baylor Academy for Teaching and Learning. He earned his master’s in English from East Carolina University (ECU) in Greenville, N.C., and his bachelor’s in English and history from Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C. His experience also includes serving as a writing center tutor and production editor for an ECU academic journal.  

College of Education

The College of Education previously welcomed four new faculty members: Denise Patterson, Mic Fenech, Le Kang, and Melia Neale. Read the story here.

  • Brittany Evans, visiting instructor in the College of Education — Evans is also a student in the Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction program at Gardner-Webb. Her dissertation topic is an examination of Science of Reading practices. She has served as an adjunct instructor for GWU since 2021. Evans also worked as an assessor for Gardner-Webb, collaborating with faculty to provide support to elementary education candidates in the Teacher Assistant to Teacher Program. In this position, she facilitated discussions, presented new material and clarified concepts, sometimes working one-on-one with candidates. Previously, she served as an assistant principal of a Pre-K-8 school in Greenville, N.C., was an instructional coach, and taught third-fourth grade for five years. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a Master of School Administration from East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C.
  • Cherie Aldrich, assistant professor in the College of Education — Previously, Aldrich worked as a field supervisor for Teachers of Tomorrow. In this position she managed and collaborated with residency license teachers in North Carolina. Before that, she worked as a learning and development specialist with Imagine Learning. She began her career as an elementary school teacher; then, she taught critical reading strategies at Durham Technical Community College. In 2008, she began her transition into administrative leadership while working on her Master of School Administration in K-12 School Administration at N.C. State University. She also has a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from UNC-Greensboro. Aldrich earned an Education Specialist in Educational Leadership in 2018 from Appalachian State University and her Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership in 2023 from UNC-Wilmington. She also served as a research intern and graduate research assistant at UNC-Wilmington. She identified a research problem in the field of math and science education, developed a qualitative research plan and milestones and successfully completed the project within the expected timeline. 

College of Health Sciences

  • Adam Davila, assistant professor of psychology — Davila comes to Gardner-Webb from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla., where he was a visiting assistant professor of animal studies. He taught courses on dog behavior and cognition, animal and invertebrate cognition, and canine research methods. Before that, he was a graduate teaching assistant and instructor in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Auburn (Ala.) University. He also served as a graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Psychology and Brian Sciences at Villanova (Pa.) University. He received his Ph.D. in Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences from Auburn, his master’s in experimental psychology from Villanova and his bachelor’s in psychology from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va. Davila’s research has been published in “Learning and Behavior,” “Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition,” “Animal Cognition” and the “Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Psychology.” He is also a frequent presenter at the Conference on Comparative Cognition.    

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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