Gardner-Webb University campus

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Jennifer Putnam, Associate Dean for the College of Education, Coordinator for the Ed.D. in Curriculum & Instruction Program

Meet Gardner-Webb University’s Dr. Jennifer Putnam, and experience her background and passion for training masters and doctoral education candidates.

What programs do you teach at Gardner-Webb University? What drew you to this field of study? What keeps you excited about it?

I teach doctoral candidates in the Ed.D. in Curriculum & Instruction (EDCI) program. I am a life-long educator, and I love watching candidates learn and grow in their field of study. It is exciting to see them develop as leaders, and it is even more exciting to see how their degrees take them in new directions after they graduate.

How will your program better prepare/equip educators for the current climate we’re in (specifically with the move into post-COVID teaching)?

All of our courses are practitioner-based, meaning that candidates identify issues in their sites or districts where they’d like to make a positive difference. The evidences candidates complete each semester aid them in improving instructional practices at the site and district-level.

What attracted you to Gardner-Webb University to teach at? What sets them apart?

I absolutely love the cohort model we’ve adopted. It is so enriching to work with the same candidates for several years, as they earn their doctorates. Because of our small class sizes, we get to know the students very well, and we celebrate their successes as they happen.

What is your professional background as an educator?

I have a B.A. Master’s Degree in Elementary Education, and an Ed.D. in Curriculum & Instruction. I was a classroom teacher for 20 years, moved into an instructional coach position, and then to the Elementary Science Content Coordinator for the district. I served as an adjunct, teaching undergraduate candidates at another institution for ten years.

I came to Gardner-Webb in 2013. I have served as the Coordinator for the Master’s of Teacher Leadership in Curriculum & Instruction, and now serve as both the Coordinator of the Ed.D. in Curriculum & Instruction and the Associate Dean for the College of Education.

Tell us a little about yourself. Why did you become interested in education?

I love to learn! So, it was natural that I would become an educator. The Ed.D. candidates teach me as much as I teach them!

What would you tell prospective students considering your program about yourself? What’s something that students and colleagues should know about you?

I’m here for you! It can be scary that first day of a doctoral program, but it doesn’t take long for friendships to be cemented, and for candidates to realize that all the professors really want them to succeed.

Is there anything else you would like to share? 

The professors in the EDCI program truly understand that the candidates they serve are working professionals. For that reason, we are available in the evenings and weekends, when candidates have time to ask questions, etc.

Our program is designed so that candidates can work ahead when they have time, and can also see all the upcoming assignments so that they can plan their time. No one is going to say that earning a doctorate is easy, but we have put procedures in place to provide support all along the way!