Gardner-Webb University (GWU), a private, Christian, regional, coeducational, residential, liberal arts institution located in Boiling Springs, NC, seeks an innovative, visionary, strategic leader with a passion and enthusiasm for student-centered, Christian liberal arts education to serve as the University’s 13th President.
Gardner-Webb has experienced remarkable growth, perseverance, and maturity over its 115-year history. From a movement initiated by the Kings Mountain Baptist Association in 1903, and later joined by the Sandy Run Baptist Association, the Boiling Springs High School was chartered in 1905, as an institution “where the young…could have the best possible educational advantages under distinctive Christian influence”. In 1928, responding to changing educational needs, the intuition was transformed into the Boiling Springs Junior College. In 1942, the name of the institution changed to Gardner-Webb College to honor Governor O. Max Gardner and his wife, Fay Webb Gardner, and their families. Governor Gardner devoted time, energy, and wealth to strengthening the college. In 1971, it became a fully accredited senior college; a Master of Arts in Education degree began in 1980; and the institution officially became known as Gardner-Webb University in 1993.
Today GWU is a flourishing regional institution, offering eight degree programs with a highly qualified faculty on a beautiful campus situated on 225 acres. Historically the University has played significant roles in teacher education and ministerial preparation for church-related vocations. GWU remains closely related to the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and the University holds in high esteem its commitment to Christian principles and values as the best foundation for the development of human personality and social order.
Mission and Values:
Gardner-Webb University’s purpose is to advance the Kingdom of God through Christian higher education by preparing graduates for professional and personal success, instilling in them a deep commitment to service and leadership, and equipping them for well-rounded lives of lasting impact, Pro Deo et Humanitate (For God and Humanity). As such, the University embraces these values: Christian Heritage, Baptist Heritage, Academic Excellence, Liberal Arts, Teamwork, Student-Centered Focus, Community Engagement, and Diversity.
GWU provides outstanding undergraduate and graduate education that is strongly grounded in the liberal arts while offering opportunities to prepare for various professions. Fostering meaningful intellectual thought, critical analysis, and spiritual challenge within a diverse community of learning, GWU is dedicated to higher education that integrates scholarship with Christian life. By embracing faith and intellectual freedom, balancing conviction with compassion, and inspiring a love of learning, service, and leadership, GWU prepares its graduates to make significant contributions for God and humanity in an ever-changing global community.
With an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 2,400 students, total University enrollment is approximately 4,000 students, including the day program, graduate studies, and the Degree Completion Program. Students hail from 40 states and 15 foreign countries. GWU offers a comprehensive academic program, with more than 80 undergraduate and graduate major fields of study offered through five professional schools, two academic schools, and 13 academic departments. GWU offers seven undergraduate degrees: BA, BS, BM, BFA, ASN, BSN, and ABSN; five graduate degrees: MA, MBA, MD, MSN, and MPAS; and six doctoral degrees: EdS, EdD, DBA, DM, DBM, and DNP. Nationally recognized for its excellent academic core curriculum, Gardner-Webb students can engage in small, individualized classes with a 13-to-1 student-faculty ratio taught by professors from numerous prestigious educational institutions. GWU has more than 160 full-time faculty members, 75% with PhDs or equivalent.
Gardner-Webb’s main campus is a beautiful backdrop to an environment of learning and faith. Located 50 miles west of Charlotte and 75 miles southeast of Asheville in the Piedmont area of western North Carolina, the campus is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, On the campus are two underground springs that were originally a community gathering place for events, picnics, campaign speeches and even paying taxes. Because the springs were a landmark and a good water supply, people began settling the area around 1843 and it was only appropriate that the settlement be named Boiling Springs. The area around the springs has recently been renovated to provide a place for students to meet, sit, and reflect.
The GWU Charlotte Center, located in Charlotte, NC offers 25,000 square feet of classroom, laboratory, technology, and meeting space. The Center hosts a wide variety of graduate and degree completion programs as well as special activities and events. As a university committed to excellence and innovation, GWU also offers a limited number of distance learning courses and programs to make the university accessible to more students.
GWU is committed to the education of the whole person and considers students’ activities outside the classroom to be as important as inside the classroom. Student Life at Gardner-Webb offers something for every student—from a wide range of academic and cultural clubs to extensive volunteering and athletic opportunities. Home to the Runnin’ Bulldogs and a member of the Big South Conference, Gardner-Webb gives student-athletes a complete college experience with an emphasis on academic enrichment and an opportunity to compete in one of 22 NCAA Division I sports.
For additional information, visit the Gardner-Webb University website at www.gardner-webb.edu.
The President of Gardner-Webb University is appointed by, and reports directly to, the Board of Trustees. Positions reporting to the President and serving as members of the President’s Cabinet include: Provost and Executive Vice President; Senior Vice President for Administration; Vice President for Student Development; Vice President for External Affairs/Advancement; and Vice President for Athletics.
The President also convenes a larger leadership group referred to as the Senior Staff. Members of this group include all Cabinet members and: Vice President for Christian Life and Services; Vice President, Marketing; Vice President for Enrollment Management; Vice President for Planning & Institutional Effectiveness; Associate Provost, Professional & Graduate Studies; Associate Provost, Arts & Sciences; Faculty Chair; and a member of the Staff Council.
Overall, the President provides leadership for all the University’s 160 faculty and 300 staff.
The President serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the University with responsibility for ensuring the success of the institution’s mission, academic integrity, fiscal stability and viability, enrollment management, fundraising efforts, personnel development, and physical plant management. In doing so, the President works closely with the Board of Trustees in developing, communicating, and executing a strategy consistent with the overall Christian mission and values of GWU to prepare graduates for professional and personal success, instilling in them a deep commitment to service and leadership, and equipping them for well-rounded lives of lasting impact.
Specific responsibilities for this position include, but are not necessarily limited to:
- Provide exceptional leadership, including recruiting, retaining, managing, motivating, and evaluating a professional staff, which in turn provides leadership through all functional disciplines associated with the University.
- Provide strategic, financial, and operational leadership and oversight in budgeting, financial management, and administration to maximize the effective and efficient acquisition and use of resources.
- Provide academic leadership, along with the Provost, in recruiting, retaining, and motivating a high-quality faculty committed to the values of the University.
- Strengthen and promote the mission and values of the University.
- Champion liberal arts education in a Christian environment; promote initiatives to attract qualified students, increase retention, and support completion of degree programs by students.
- Actively participate in fundraising and development activities, major gift solicitations, and fostering of growth to the endowment.
- Promote an environment that ensures the safety of students; understand the importance of and show support for athletics, student activities and organizations; support activities consistent with character development and the GWU service leadership tradition.
- Serve as the face of the University and seek appropriate opportunities to promote and market the University in the community, the region, and nationally (if desired by the Board) via the media, public relations activities, community activities, etc.
- Embrace the role of representing the University to all alumni, media, the academic community, the corporate community and other institutions of higher education.
- Maintain regular and consistent contact with alumni, faculty, staff, and the student body to facilitate open communication; listen to ideas and concerns; collaborate in development of opportunities and solutions.
- Suggest, develop, and implement strategies and/or directives as approved or determined by the Board of Trustees.
- Seek professional development opportunities and encourages others to take advantage of opportunities to further enhance professional knowledge, skills, effectiveness and competence.
Preferred qualifications include the following:
- Passion and enthusiasm for, and commitment to, academically excellent, student-centered, liberal arts education in a Christian environment.
- Espouses principles based on strong Christian faith: integrity, honesty, sincerity and compassion.
- A visionary, strategic, and creative thinker; able to think innovatively and explore new ideas; understands the changing landscape in higher education; ability to articulate the University’s vision and strategy.
- Proven record of successful leadership and managerial skills, whether within or outside of an academic environment.
- Exceptional people skills and interpersonal abilities; accessible; energetic and enthusiastic; able to build and maintain close relationships and engender trust; willing and eager to use these attributes for community relations and financial development.
- Excellent written and oral communication skills; experienced public speaker; listens well and appreciates suggestions and ideas of others.
- Dynamic fundraiser; preference for successful experience leading aggressive fundraising in support of endowment, programs, and/or facilities.
- Superior business management skills along with a strong financial acumen.
- Willingness to make difficult decisions; willingness to take appropriate risk.
- Desires to be involved in campus activities and participate in the activities of the religious community, the town, county, and region.
- Appropriate academic credentials; strong preference for a terminal degree; success in business or a professional career will be considered.
Compensation package will be competitive.
Gardner-Webb University does not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in employment for any of its programs and activities.