Traditional College Campus Experience Still Thrives at Gardner-Webb

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Students “Embrace the Experience” and Share Thoughts on Benefits of On-Campus Living

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – In today’s ever-changing world of technology, a decision many students face as they prepare to graduate from high school is whether to participate in the traditional undergraduate setting of actually living on a college campus or to take their courses online.  Gardner-Webb University, one of the pioneers to offer courses online to adult learners through its GOAL (Greater Opportunities for Adult Learners) program, is well aware of both the convenience and the increasing offerings of online classes.  However for undergraduates, a GWU experience that includes living on campus, being in a smaller classroom setting, and interacting face to face with fellow students and professors are elements that uphold the value of the institution.

“Is online learning the new thing?” pondered Tara Roberts, a 2012 alum who is currently working on her Bachelor of Science in Nursing through the GOAL program. “I know it offers more flexibility and opportunity for distance learners.  However, I just don’t think anything can replace face-to-face relationships with a professor and there is tremendous value in the good ol’ face-to-face lecture.”

Sophomore Zach Parker, who is studying political science, also feels the learning experience is most valuable in a direct setting.  “Lecture seminar classes are extremely important, especially in my realm of study,” Parker shared.  “When a professor is there to show you how and why something works the way it does, it helps you fully understand it.”

Erica King believes that being on campus for the college experience, is as much about academics as it is developing social skills and networking. “There are so many places outside of the classroom where you can interact with others and make friends,” the communication studies major declared.  “Seeing fellow students at events in the dorms, or at various campus programs, or even just in the cafeteria is a normal part of the traditional college experience.  Being on campus also allows for professors and even administrators to be more accessible.”

The transition into the campus experience for many undergraduates is often a time of social and intellectual progress.  “It’s made me grow up,” King reflected.  “You meet so many different people of all backgrounds and opinions.  You learn to respect and value those differences.  You learn from others, such as your friends and roommates.  Even things like handling your money and time management.”

As a part of individual development, through interacting in a traditional classroom setting with his peers, Parker says his views have evolved.  “My classmates are changing my beliefs in a more concrete and settled fashion compared to when I came out of high school,” he offered.  “I thought one way, yet had never really looked at or investigated the other side of a topic.”

For King, being on campus also provides various amenities of a home away from home.  “Living on campus means I have access to all of the facilities at Gardner-Webb, like a lab to work on projects when I want,” she said.  “Living away from home has truly helped me gain my independence.  At the same time, here I have my second family—my GWU family.”

Parker added, “Gardner-Webb is not just a place to learn.  It’s a place to evolve and develop.  I believe I will be well-rounded when I leave here.”

As time presses on, higher education opportunities in the classroom and online will continue to be available at GWU for students of all ages and circumstances, as the administration reviews and studies the best ways to continue a high standard in serving the call as a Christian liberal arts institution.

Located in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb University blends a liberal arts core curriculum with more than 55 major and minor programs of specialized study, a comprehensive academic experience that flows from our Christian commitment to intellectual freedom, service and leadership.