Interview with Laura A. Rauscher, Ph.D. - Program Director for the Doctor of Education in Health Professions Education at Logan University

About Laura A. Rauscher, Ph.D.: Laura Rauscher is an Associate Professor and the Program Director for the Ed.D. in Health Professions Education at Logan University. As Director, Dr. Rauscher oversees curriculum development and faculty hiring, as well as student recruitment, admissions, and advising. As an Associate Professor, she has taught courses in counseling and psychology, and in 2019 she received an Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award.

Dr. Rauscher earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, her Master of Education with an emphasis in Counseling, and her Ph.D. in Education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She is also a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) through the state of Missouri, and holds national certifications as a National Certified Counselor (NCC), a Certified Clinical Telemental Health Provider (CTMH), and an Approved Clinical Supervisor (ACS). In addition to her academic leadership roles, Dr. Rauscher worked in private practice for over 16 years as an individual and group counselor, and as a mentor for counseling trainees working towards state licensure. She is a member of the state of Missouri’s Committee for Professional Counselors.

Interview Questions

[] May we have an overview of your academic background, as well as your current responsibilities and research interests as an Associate Professor and as Program Director for the Ed.D. in Health Professions Education at Logan University?

[Dr. Laura Rauscher] I earned my bachelor of arts in Psychology, master’s and doctorate in Education with an emphasis in Counseling at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. I initially wanted to only focus on having a private practice and started my own in 2007. During my doctoral coursework, however, my instructors encouraged me to begin teaching at UM-St. Louis as well as other local universities; I instantly loved teaching and have been doing so ever since.

In 2020, I moved into an administrative position, overseeing the Doctorate of Health Professions Education program at Logan University. I believe the background of seeing clients in private practice, supervising other counselors-in-training, and teaching undergraduate and graduate courses have all prepared me to oversee a doctorate program.

My passions in the counseling field include psychopathology, ethics (I also sit on the Counseling state board), and supervision. I gravitate towards teaching these courses, as well as the Practicum and Internship courses. Within the field of education, my passions include faculty development, student learning, and best practices in online learning.

[] Could you please provide an overview of Logan University’s Ed.D. in Health Professions Education?

[Dr. Laura Rauscher] The Ed.D. in Health Professions Education program is a 60-credit hour program, completely asynchronous, with the exception of the proposal and final Applied Research Project (ARP) defense meetings. The program is designed for individuals with a clinical background, who want to move into faculty or administrative roles.

The curriculum focuses on filling in the gap between one’s clinical background in their respective health profession, and the educational theories and techniques needed to be an effective educator. The program emphasizes the core components of education and research, helping to advance the health professions fields by training knowledgeable and effective educators.

[] How is this program structured, and what are its key learning outcomes?

[Dr. Laura Rauscher] The program is completely asynchronous, so students are able to complete the coursework and assignments on their own time. This allows for students to pursue the degree while working, raising families, etc.

The Program Learning Outcomes are as follows:

  1. Use communication skills that result in effective information exchange;
  2. Apply core health professions education competencies to practice/teaching;
  3. Use credible information from a multitude of sources to make informed decisions in an area of teaching;
  4. Perform the educator’s role in ways that demonstrate professional integrity;
  5. Apply best practices in education to the development of quality learning experiences for adults; and
  6. Advance education practice through scholarly research.

[Prospective students can read more about the program’s learning outcomes here.]

[] How does the curriculum optimally prepare students to train and guide the next generation of health care leaders?

[Dr. Laura Rauscher] Students will take numerous different courses about education, learning principles, and research. The ultimate goal is for students to couple their clinical background in their own discipline with the educational theories and techniques learned in this program into teaching future health professionals. Some of the different courses students will take include Diversity in Education, Instructional Design, Learning Principles, Curriculum Development, Principles of Assessment, and Leadership. Such varied coursework ensures students are prepared for the roles of educator, trainer, and/or mentor.

When the program first began in 2017, the program designation was a Doctor of Health Professions Education (DHPE). This year, we have changed the designation to an Ed.D. in Health Professions Education. The coursework remains the same, but the program now includes required research milestones including a defense at the proposal and final stages of their Applied Research Project (ARP). This designation change was designed to meet accreditation requirements from various health professions who required their faculty to have a terminal education degree AND to defend their original research. The move to an Ed.D. with the added research process aligns with those accreditation standards.

[] Logan University’s Ed.D. in Health Professions Education is offered fully online. Could you please elaborate on the online learning technologies that this program uses to deliver course materials and facilitate interaction between students and faculty?

[Dr. Laura Rauscher] The program is completely asynchronous, with the exception of the proposal defense and the final defense of the ARP. As mentioned above, the goal of this program is to accommodate students’ busy lives, so they are able to do the coursework on their own schedule. Students will engage in a variety of discussion boards, assignments, and other activities to engage with their instructor and classmates, but are able to do so when their schedule allows.

Logan University uses Canvas as the learning management system (LMS), and implements various educational technologies to enhance the learning environment and student success. Although our program is 100% online, the instructors are available for zoom sessions, phone calls, etc. if students would prefer a synchronous meeting.

[] Logan University’s Ed.D. in Health Professions Education requires students to complete an Education Practicum. Could you elaborate on this requirement?

[Dr. Laura Rauscher] The Ed.D. program has two, 2-credit hour Practicum courses. The learning objectives of these courses is for students to design or redesign an online course or training module. Students are not required to seek out a preceptorship, as the Practicum course remains 100% asynchronous.

The ideal part of these courses is that students who are currently teaching are able to redesign their own courses from their home institution. This makes both the students and home institutions very happy! If students are not currently teaching, Logan University supplies a blank Canvas shell for students to create an online course/training module that could be applicable to their current workplace or future career goals.

[] Students of Logan University’s Ed.D. in Health Professions Education must complete an Applied Research Project (ARP). What are the parameters for the ARP, and how does it provide students with an opportunity to apply what they have learned to a concrete and career-relevant deliverable?

[Dr. Laura Rauscher] The Applied Research Project, or ARP, is designed for students to perform original research in their respective discipline, adding in an educational component, and then being able to apply it immediately. The ARP differs from traditional dissertations as there is an emphasis on applied research, so the ARPs tend to be shorter and designed to solve a real-world problem.

We have 3 different courses developed for students to move through the ARP process, starting with an Introduction to Proposal course where students move through the process of creating and developing their initial proposal. At the end of this course, students will defend their proposal to their ARP committee, requiring sign off from all committee members before they are able to move to the IRB process.

The next 2 courses are Applied Research Project A and Applied Research Project B, where students submit to IRB, collect and analyze their data, and then present the results in their final research defense. These courses are set up to have benchmarks so students are meeting their research and writing goals within the timeframe of the 15- week courses; this allows students to have continuous check-ins rather than completing their research on their own.

The unique aspect of Logan’s ARPs is that they cover a myriad of different topics. Students must use an educational theory or technique, but can apply those theories/techniques to an issue within their respective discipline. Previous ARPs have included research around motivational interviewing, self-directed learning, and blended learning, as well as student and faculty perceptions of effectiveness in different educational interventions.

[] What role does mentorship play in Logan University’s Ed.D. in Health Professions Education? How can students make the most of these mentorship opportunities and support systems while in the program?

[Dr. Laura Rauscher] The Logan faculty are all doctoral-level academicians and practitioners with a passion for teaching and student success. Our faculty are available to mentor students throughout the program, and they tend to remain in contact with many of our students after they have completed their degrees as valuable resources within their respective fields.

In addition to our outstanding faculty in the doctorate program, our student service departments are designed to support online students and their busy schedules. Student service departments, including our Learning Resource Center, Career Resources, and Writing Center, are available via synchronous or asynchronous modalities, including texting.

[] For students interested in Logan University’s Ed.D. in Health Professions Education, what advice do you have in terms of submitting a competitive application?

[Dr. Laura Rauscher] Students wanting to enroll in the Ed.D. program will need a 3.0 GPA from their completed Master’s or Professional degree programs. There is no GRE required for admission; personal statements and letters of recommendation are also not required for admission. We do recommend that students meet with the Program Director ahead of time to ensure the program aligns with the student’s career goals and that they are aware of what pursuing doctoral education entails.

Ideally, students will be effective in the skills of time management and motivation. Pursuing a doctorate is a great endeavor, so we want the students who are ready to invest the time and effort in earning their degree.

[] What makes Logan University’s Ed.D. in Health Professions Education unique and a particularly strong graduate degree option for students who want to enter education leadership roles in the health care industry and related fields?

[Dr. Laura Rauscher] Student feedback about the Ed.D. program regularly centers around learning in an interprofessional environment. The students and facuty of this program have various different degrees, clinical backgrounds, and work experience. This helps cultivate rich conversations and learning experiences, as students are not only learning about how to integrate information into their own discipline, but how others will approach the same topic from their own discipline. This feature allows our students to receive a whole health paradigm type of learning, and only helps to enhance their interprofessional collaborations.

With this experience and the comprehensive curriculum, students graduate prepared to teach future health professionals within their own discipline and work side-by-side and effectively with adjacent health professionals.

Thank you, Dr. Laura Rauscher, for your excellent insight into Logan University’s Ed.D. in Health Professions Education, including its unique curriculum, its robust faculty support, and its effective online learning technologies!