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First-Year Programs

Creating a Sense of Belonging

The first year of college is very exciting and challenging.


Our goal in First-Year Programs is to ensure that first-year students make a successful transition into university life by introducing students to Gardner-Webb services, encouraging them to become involved in campus life, and promote student success at every opportunity.

The First-Year Experience Program at Gardner-Webb is designed to help:

  • develop personal and academic success skills
  • encourage assimilation into “Dawg” culture
  • foster a sense of belonging and community
  • nurture overall wellness: socially, intellectually, and spiritually
  • provide opportunities for service-based leadership
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About First-Year Programs

First-Year Programs is responsible for the University Life (UNIV 111) course. This course promotes  three enriching components:

  • personal and academic development
  • nine areas of wellness:
    • social, physical
    • intellectual
    • spiritual
    • creative
    • environmental
    • financial
    • emotional
    • career
  • service-learning

Each component works interdependently to give students a successful start in college, help them develop lifelong friendships, promote thought-provoking studies and experiences, and connect them to the university that will shape them just as they help shape it in return.

By making the most of your first year at GWU, you are unlocking your potential for success through graduation and beyond.

We look forward to getting to know you as you start your first year at Gardner-Webb University! Come make an impact with us!

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Peer Leading

In addition to our Professors and staff, First-Year Programs also has Peer Leaders who work as teaching assistants, friends and role models for our first year students. These motivated student workers act as mentors who work hand in hand with the UNIV 111 instructors to ensure our first year students have a successful first semester of college.

We look forward to encouraging you in your transition to college and helping you start in a way that will allow you to thrive at Gardner-Webb.  We are excited to get you connected to all the wonderful resources Gardner-Webb offers and to introduce you to many new friends!

Professional Staff

Tammy Bass, Ed.D

Director of First-Year Programs
(704) 406-2291
[email protected]

Gracie Trakas

Administrative Assistant to First-Year Programs
(704) 406-4324
[email protected]