Faculty in the Spotlight: Paul Rakowski










Paul Rakowski is the Program Coordinator of Department Behavioral and Social Sciences at Webster Leiden Campus. He grew up in a small farm community in Missouri, where he developed a desire to explore the world that would eventually lead him to cross paths with Webster Leiden.

Paul Rakowski is Head of Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Webster Leiden Campus. He grew up in a small farm community in Missouri, where he developed a desire to explore the world that would eventually lead him to cross paths with Webster Leiden.

“At a very young age my grandfather instilled an appreciation in me for animals”, he said. “At the same time, I had a curiosity and attraction for diversity in people, but the town I grew up in was not diverse at all. I remember when I first got to University, my mind was blown.”

Professor Rakowski originally started out with an Animal Science degree and went on to earn his Master’s degree in Biology. From there on, he started teaching at a community college in Missouri, where he taught Biology, Health and Life Science.

“That’s when I discovered I had a passion for working with students”, he said. “Once I found an advising position at the University I graduated from, I decided to follow a path that I had wanted originally, of counseling Psychology.”

He brought his expertise to Webster Leiden when he was looking for a new challenge to work with international students in Europe.

“Webster is a place where everybody is committed to the wellbeing of the students, in their own unique and creative way”, he said. “I love teaching. It’s something that I am really passionate about. I’ve been in education for a very long time. It inspires and motivates me. It’s the best part of what I do here, the teaching aspect of it.” 

Professor Rakowski is very clear about his plans for the future. At the undergraduate level, he facilitates conversations on sexual health. At the graduate level, he provides different opportunities for graduate students to have study-abroad experiences, while completing their graduate programs.

“I want to encourages my students to recognize where they are in their stage of development; this is incredibly important”, he said. “I want to help them learn and consciously practice self-care. It comes down to understanding the needs of the students so I can best serve them.”

He endorses the courage it takes to become an international student, and how he learns just as much from them whilst teaching at Webster.

“I learn so much from the students. It takes courage to move to a different country, learn a second language, to fit into a culture. Learning in a formal setting is hard enough as it is. Anyone who has the courage to find themselves sitting in one of our rooms has achieved so much already. I always believe that every moment that we are with someone is both a learning moment and a teaching moment. I have just as much to learn from students as they have to learn from me. And I’ve learned a lot about the students here.”


By Daniëlle van der Schoot