Gardner-Webb University Approves Bold New General Education Curriculum

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New Model Reduces Credit Hours, Provides Transfer-Friendly Pathway  

A student stands in front of the white board translating wordsBOILING 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.”

In the exercise science lab, one student monitors with a computer, while another student rides an exercise bike and two other students observeIn 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.

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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