Academic Policies

Academic Appeals Policy

A student who has a question about an academic decision should consult the University official responsible for the decision. If the matter is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction, the student may appeal in the following order to the next highest level in the appropriate chain of responsibility: instructor, department chair or dean, and the Educational Policies and Standards Committee (EPSC). Students requesting a course substitution for a General Education requirement must appeal to the General Education Committee. Decisions of the EPSC or General Education Committee are final and cannot be further appealed. The student must initiate all appeals in writing on his or her own behalf no more than eighteen months after the date of the decision being appealed (except grade appeals which are described below).

A student who has a question about a grade should consult the instructor as soon as possible. A student who believes a grade to be inaccurate or unfair may appeal to the instructor, department chair or dean, and the Educational Policies and Standards Committee, in that order. Decisions of the EPSC are final and cannot be further appealed. The last date to initiate a grade appeal is the end of the next Fall or Spring semester. Email notification of approved and processed grade changes will be sent to the student, the instructor, and the success coach or faculty advisor.

Academic Appeal Filing Forms and General Education Requirements Substitution Forms may be obtained from the Forms section of WebbConnect. The appeal document must include the student’s local or permanent address, University email address, student ID number, and a current phone number where he or she may be reached. Furthermore, all appeals must be signed and dated and include a thorough justification for the requested resolution. Appeals made on behalf of the student by another party (e.g., faculty, official of the institution, another student, or a parent) will be dismissed. Supporting documentation submitted by a member of the faculty or administration to augment or clarify the student’s appeal is welcome and will be given full consideration. Questions concerning academic appeals may be addressed to the Dean of Adult and Distance Education.

Academic Standing and Retention Standards

Standards for acceptable academic progress at Gardner-Webb University are set to assist students in assessing the quality of their performance. Academic probation and suspension are used to alert students to potentially serious academic difficulty in their progress toward degrees.

Students are placed on academic probation as a warning that their level of academic achievement is falling below the level expected of students in their class. Should their academic achievement not improve, they are in danger of being suspended from the University.

Students will be placed on probation when their Gardner-Webb grade point average falls below these minimum standards.

Juniors with 60 to 89 hours 1.9
Seniors with 90 hours and above 2.0

A student placed on academic probation remains on probation for the entire semester. The student will register for no more than 15 credit hours during any semester on probation. In order to be removed from academic probation, the student’s Gardner-Webb GPA must return to the appropriate minimum standard. If the student fails to bring the grade point average to a satisfactory level during the probationary semester but the semester’s GPA is at or above the minimum required, probation will be continued for another semester.

If at any time while on academic probation the student’s semester GPA and Gardner-Webb GPA fall below the minimum requirement, the student will be suspended for one semester. After the one-semester suspension, a student desiring readmission must submit a formal application for readmission to the University through the standard application process. If approved, the student may register for classes and will be automatically placed on academic probation.

Should a second or third academic suspension occur (even if the first or second suspension is waived on appeal), the student must remain out for at least two semesters. After a two-semester suspension from the University, the student must submit a formal application for readmission to the University through the standard application process. If readmission is granted, the student may register for classes and will be automatically placed on academic probation.

Readmission requires the approval of the Readmission Committee. Students suspended from the University are not automatically reinstated upon reapplication. Readmission approval may include recommendations or be contingent upon specific stipulations determined by the Readmission Committee. A student who wishes to appeal the denial of reinstatement may do so through a written appeal to the Provost. A student who wishes to appeal being placed on academic suspension may do so through the Office of the Provost. Suspensions that are waived on appeal are still noted on the student’s academic transcript.

Students on either academic or disciplinary suspension are not allowed to participate in dramatic, musical, athletic, or other practice sessions since they are not to represent the University or participate in the public performance of such events.

Summer study at Gardner-Webb University may be used to improve one’s academic standing. A student’s academic standing can be affected as a result of summer school enrollment. However, a student who is on academic probation or suspension may not use study at another institution to improve his/her Gardner-Webb academic standing.

See “Readmission of Former Students” for policies concerning students seeking readmission after leaving Gardner-Webb University while on probation or suspension.

Academic Renewal Policy

The purpose of the Academic Renewal Policy is to allow students who have done poorly during past enrollment at the University to start anew and have a chance to complete their undergraduate degree at the University. To be eligible for academic renewal, a student must not have been enrolled at Gardner-Webb for the previous four years prior to applying for readmission nor have received academic renewal previously. For students who have attempted more than 64 credit hours of work at Gardner-Webb, only the first 64 hours are eligible for academic renewal. All of the eligible hours must be considered; a student may not choose the hours to which this policy applies. Only Gardner-Webb credit hours are eligible for academic renewal. Coursework at another institution must be treated according to the current transfer credit policies.

A student who is accepted under the academic renewal provision is considered in good academic standing and is eligible for all academic awards and honors. All transfer work from other institutions will be considered for credit, even if the course is a repeat of a course in which the student earned a “D” or “F” at Gardner-Webb. A student who is admitted under academic renewal may have a career total of six repeat courses. This number does not include courses repeated prior to the student’s admission under academic renewal for which they do not receive credit upon their readmission to the University or courses repeated at other institutions.

Under this policy, all eligible Gardner-Webb University hours will be treated as transfer credit, i.e., grades of “C” or better will be given credit, but not counted in the grade point average (GPA). Grades below “C” will not be counted as hours earned or in the GPA, with the exception of "FX" grades. "FX" grades will remain on the student’s record and will be counted in the GPA. All Gardner-Webb credit hours approved for academic renewal will be treated as transfer credit for determining academic awards.

The Gardner-Webb Readmission Committee will consider a student for academic renewal when reviewing an application for readmission. Any student who applies for readmission and is eligible for academic renewal may request consideration for such at that time. In addition, the Readmission Committee may recommend a student applying for readmission for academic renewal. If approved, the student will have the right to turn down academic renewal if it is not desired. All previous records at Gardner-Webb will be considered during the readmission process, including academic and disciplinary actions. If a student is accepted for readmission, nothing in these records should preclude eligibility for academic renewal. Students may not apply for or be considered for academic renewal after they have been readmitted and have enrolled in their first course.

Attendance Policy

Gardner-Webb University is grounded in the idea of educating its students holistically within the traditions of Christianity and the liberal arts. At the center of both guiding principles of the University is the idea of community and interpersonal relationships. Spiritual, moral/ethical, and intellectual growth are all broadened, enriched, and made more meaningful within a community of individual growth. Therefore, in order to ensure that students interact with others engaged in this search for growth and knowledge, Gardner-Webb University requires that students regularly attend and participate in the class meetings and activities designed to encourage aspects of this growth in each of their courses. This provides that philosophical foundation for the University's Attendance Policy which follows.

Regular class attendance is an important student obligation. Students are responsible for all coursework conducted in class meetings and are required by University policy to attend a minimum of 75% of the scheduled class meetings. Failure to meet this attendance requirement will result in a grade of "@F" in the course. In face-to-face classes, attendance is counted from the first scheduled meeting. In online classes, attendance is counted from the student’s completion of the Enrollment Verification Activity or first required course activity or assessment, whichever comes first. Furthermore, it is the prerogative of the instructor to set a more stringent class attendance policy. The instructor will clearly state in the syllabus the attendance policies which will govern the class. Students are responsible for knowing the number of absences that they accumulate.

In online classes, attendance satisfying the 75% requirement is measured by the documented weekly participation in the class on the part of the student, e.g., a minimum of one activity per week that demonstrates attendance, such as submitting an assignment, attending a webinar, or participating in a discussion board (logging into a course in Blackboard does not constitute participation or attendance in the class). As in face-to-face classes, the instructor in an online class may stipulate a more stringent attendance policy in the syllabus.

Absence from class does not excuse the student from responsibility for classwork. Planned class absences for foreseeable personal circumstances or official University business must be negotiated with the instructor prior to the absence. All absences, regardless of reason, apply toward the 25% threshold. 

Absence from Tests and Examinations

Students who miss scheduled tests and examinations without excusable reasons may not make up such assignments. Authorization to make up tests missed for excusable reasons is obtained from the instructor of the class.

Final Examinations/Assessments

Comprehensive final examinations or assessments are required in every course by the end of the semester. If a comprehensive exam is given, a student who does not take the examination at the scheduled time will receive a failing grade in that course unless excused by the instructor. If the student is excused, an Incomplete (I) will be recorded.

Comprehensive Articulation Agreement Policy

Gardner-Webb University is a signatory school to the 2015 Independent Comprehensive Articulation Agreement (ICAA) with North Carolina Community Colleges. Community college graduates of the Associate in Arts or Associate in Science degree programs who have earned 60 credit hours in approved transfer courses with a grade of “C” or better and an overall GPA of at least 2.0 on a 4.0 scale will receive at least 60 credit hours of academic credit upon admission to Gardner-Webb. Students enrolled at a North Carolina community college prior to Fall 2014 are subject to the conditions and protections contained in the ICAA in place at the time of their initial community college enrollment as long as they have remained continuously enrolled.

The Independent Comprehensive Articulation Agreement provides numerous benefits to North Carolina community college graduates as well as students who have not yet completed their associate’s degree. Interested applicants are encouraged to speak with a Gardner-Webb University enrollment counselor to find out how the ICAA will affect their course of study.

Guidance for requirements specific to a student’s intended major at Gardner-Webb may be found on the University’s website.

Participation in the Comprehensive Articulation Agreement does not preclude or negate minimum requirements specified by individual departments at Gardner-Webb University. Every student is also required to earn credit for the upper-division General Education requirements (REL 300 and REL 301). Transfer students can review the departmental requirements under Additional Requirements for Transfer Majors for specific courses required in their major.

Course Credit Policies

Advanced Placement

Students achieving a minimum score of three on an Advanced Placement exam of the College Board will receive credit for the specific course covered by the test as determined by the appropriate academic department of the University. Students achieving a score of four or five may receive additional advanced credit. AP credits are not counted toward the senior-college-credit-hour minimum (64).

College-Level Examination Program

Gardner-Webb accepts credit earned through the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) based on exams taken prior to, and through the end of, the student’s first semester of enrollment. CLEP credits are not counted toward the senior-college-credit-hour minimum (64).

Gardner-Webb University grants credit to students submitting test scores from the College-Level Examination Program on the following basis.

  1. Credit will be received on the same basis as transferred credit from accredited institutions of higher learning.
  2. Credit will not be granted in an area for which the examinee has attempted or earned college credit.
  3. Credit earned will be computed in the examinee’s academic record as “CR,” which is hours credit only.
  4. Unsatisfactory scores will not become part of the examinee’s academic record.
  5. A CLEP test on any subject may be submitted only one time.
  6. Students can only receive CLEP credit within their first semester.

The Department of English Language and Literature will grant credit for English 101 (3 hours) to students who make a score of 60 or higher on the English Composition with Essay CLEP test. To earn this credit, students must take only this specific CLEP test, which is offered, administered, and scored by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Students are responsible for ensuring ETS sends official notification of the English Composition with Essay score to Gardner-Webb’s Department of English Language and Literature. CLEP credit is not available for English 102.

General examination guidelines are as follows.

  1. The student must submit a score at or above the minimum score set by the American Council on Education listed for each examination.
  2. The number of credit hours granted will be the total normally granted for the area covered by the test with the following restrictions.
    1. A maximum of six credit hours of credit may be granted for each test.
    2. A maximum of three credit hours credit may be granted on the basis of a subscore, provided the area is appropriate.
    3. Credit thus granted may be applied to the student’s course of study only as basic courses or free electives.

Subject examination guidelines are the following.

  1. The student must submit a score at or above the minimum score set by the American Council on Education listed for each examination.
  2. The number of credit hours granted will be determined by the scope of the material measured as indicated by the American Council on Education.
  3. Credit thus granted may be applied to the student’s course of study without restriction.

A detailed list of AP and CLEP equivalencies is available on the Registrar Services section of the website.

International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO): The University accepts credit for Higher Level courses completed with scores of five or above. A detailed list of IBO equivalencies is available on the Registrar Services website.

Armed Service-Related Programs

Veterans who have successfully completed a course or courses under the Service School Training Program or through the United States Armed Forces Institute may submit these courses for credit consideration. Gardner-Webb recognizes the Joint Services Transcript transfer recommendations of the American Council on Education and may offer college credits for military service equivalencies. Credit may be applied or University requirement satisfied depending on the student’s specific academic program requirements.

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

Students having documentation of prior learning experiences that align with specific courses may submit that documentation for evaluation and may possibly gain academic credit. The policies and procedures are set in the context of the Kolb model of adult learning and in conformity with standards of the Council for Adult Experiential Learning.

Course by Arrangement

A course by arrangement is restricted to a degree- or licensure-seeking student (i.e., is not a transient student) in a Gardner-Webb University program of study and a Catalog course which is not offered by the University during a given semester or which cannot be scheduled by the student. The course may be offered to the student on a one-to-one basis, provided the option is limited to instances of extenuating circumstances.

Course by Arrangement requires junior, senior, or graduate standing and the approval of the following: the instructor offering the study, the student’s major department/school, and the appropriate Associate Provost. A course by arrangement must be scheduled before the end of the schedule modification period of each semester. It will not be used to repeat a course unless the course will not be offered within twelve months from the end date of the course to be repeated. No more than two course by arrangements may be applied toward graduation requirements. No more than one course by arrangement can be taken in any one semester.

Credit by Exam

Credit by exam is an in-depth and comprehensive assessment of the student’s ability to answer questions in course content. An acceptable grade on the examination will permit the student to receive credit for the course. To request the opportunity to receive credit by exam, the student must present, in writing, justification for such an examination to the dean of the school or chair of the department in which the course is offered. The dean of the school or chair of the department will appoint a committee to review the request. If the request is approved, the dean or chair will appoint the examining instructor or committee and inform the Student Accounts Office that the student should be charged a per-credit-hour examination fee. If the examination results are acceptable, the examining instructor or committee will report the results, via the Certification of Successful Challenge Examination Form, to the dean of the school or chair of the department. That dean or chair will send a copy of the form to the Registrar, who will credit the student with the appropriate number of hours for the course. No grade will be assigned or averaged into the quality point average.

Independent Study

The term “independent study” is reserved for those courses specifically designed as guided reading and/or for student-initiated research that includes a written project/paper. Independent study requires junior, senior, or graduate standing and the approval of the following: the instructor offering the study, the student’s major department/school, and the appropriate Associate Provost. The student’s proposal must be submitted and approved by the end of the semester preceding the study. An independent study will not be used to repeat a course and is restricted to a degree- or licensure-seeking student in a Gardner-Webb University program of study. No more than six hours of credit in independent study may be applied toward graduation requirements. No more than three hours of independent study can be taken in any one semester.

Grade Point Average (Minimum) Policies

The following are minimum GPA requirements.

  1. A minimum grade point average of 2.00 on a 4.00 scale based on the University grading system on all work attempted at Gardner-Webb is required for graduation.
  2. The student must have a minimum grade of “C’’ (2.00) on each course counted toward the major. A transfer student must complete at least one-half of the major at Gardner-Webb.
  3. The student must also have an overall “C” (2.00) average on all work counted toward any minor. A grade of “D-” (0.67) is a passing grade for courses in the minor.
  4. A grade of “D-” (0.67) is a passing grade for General Education courses.

Institutional Credit Policy

The last academic year (32 credit hours or more) must be taken at Gardner-Webb.

Repeat Course Policy

A student may repeat up to six courses in which he or she earned a “C-,” “D+,” “D,” “F,” “D-,” “@F,” or “WF” to improve grades for GPA purposes. Beginning with the seventh, all repeat attempts will be counted in the GPA. Multiple repeats of the same course will count toward the six allowed. In the first six courses being repeated, only the higher grade will be counted in computing the Gardner-Webb overall grade point average, although the lower grade remains on the official transcript.

Students may repeat up to two courses in which they earned a grade of "C" or higher in an effort to improve their GPA. In these cases, the higher grade will be utilized for GPA calculations although the lower grade will remain on the transcript. No additional credit hours can be earned in these course repeats. These repeats do count towards the maximum of six course repeats.

Transfer credit may not be used to repeat or replace a grade earned in a Gardner-Webb course.

University policy on repeating courses is not applicable in a situation where an “FX” was assigned because of academic dishonesty. An “FX” that is assigned as a penalty for academic dishonesty will remain a part of the academic transcript. It cannot be removed by a course repeat and will be factored into the grade point average.

Designations appearing on the transcript at the right end of a line describing a course indicate how that course’s quality points were calculated. An “E” designation on the transcript refers to a course excluded from the grade point calculation as the result of a repeat. An “I” designation on the transcript refers to an inclusion in the grade point calculation of a grade as the result of a repeat. An “A” designation refers to a course whose quality points were averaged with those of another course as the result of a repeat in excess of the limits for replacing grades.