Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Laura Welke
Assistant Dean, Faculty Affairs and Development and Professor, Department of Anatomy
A Calling to Teach: Laura Welke, PhD, knew she wanted to pursue a career in medical education once she completed her doctoral work in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at Boston University School of Medicine.
How It All Began: While Dominica may seem like worlds away from Boston, for Welke, her introduction to Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) had a “small world” connection. A fellow classmate from Boston University – Dr. Ray King – was a current faculty member at RUSM. In 2005 she traveled to Dominica to visit him with other friends. He introduced her to the concept of teaching at RUSM while she was interviewing for teaching positions at other medical schools. Shortly thereafter, she applied at RUSM, interviewed, and in 2005, she started teaching in Dominica. She remains on staff 13 years later.
Recruiting Faculty to RUSM: During Welke’s early days at RUSM, the institution was looking for more depth to round out their team of faculty and tapped Welke to recruit fresh talent. Based in New York, she served as a faculty recruiter and taught 15-weeks a year on campus in Dominica. By 2010, she moved full-time to RUSM’s medical science campus in Dominica. After obtaining her masters in Human Resource Management and supporting the institution with recruiting and staff retention for the better part of a decade, in 2015, she was appointed Assistant Dean of Faculty Affairs and Development.
RUSM’s Student Experience: To Welke, there is no greater gift than giving aspiring medical students the opportunity to realize their potential and become practicing physicians.
Welke says, “I’ve been privileged to teach students that come to RUSM – this amazing pool of talent – that go on to become super stars in their respective fields. Our students are different, unique and have grit.
Welke adds “At RUSM, we call it boot camp. Our students – some who have never left their home state - have to navigate a new environment, new world, and new culture. They learn to be adaptable, flexible, and manage new scenarios. To be honest, a lot of them need that and need to grow up as people as much as they need to learn skills to become physicians. At RUSM we give them that experience and teach the skill sets they need to succeed in the medical field and beyond.”
RUSM’s Formula for Success: In her opinion, there are other factors that set RUSM apart from other medical schools from an educational offering, experience and community.
Welke says, “We build a strong sense of community – rich with connections. Our team of faculty is truly remarkable. Our doors are always open and our focus is on the students. We are there for them – that is our number one job. We are supporting them and genuinely want them to succeed. Many of us stay connected with students throughout their medical careers and we hear from our students that they stay connected with one-another as RUSM alumni.”