Welker Named Coordinator, Pitt’s Sexual Harassment And Assault Response Unit

Issue Date: 
January 19, 2016

Michele Welker has joined Pitt’s Counseling Center as the new coordinator of the Office of Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Education (SHARE). 

Michele WelkerWelker is a key member of the University’s Sexual Assault Task Force, created in May 2014, which includes campus leaders from the Division of Student Affairs, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Intercollegiate Athletics, faculty and staff from academic schools, student groups, and regional campuses. Welker also works closely with Pitt’s Title IX coordinator, Katie Pope, in leading the University’s efforts to prevent and respond to sexual misconduct.

“I have a strong passion and sense of obligation to empower victims of sexual assault to help them move forward with their lives,” said Welker. “I’m also equally committed to developing educational programs, and I’m looking forward to working as part of the wonderful team here at the University of Pittsburgh that is already doing excellent work.”  

Kenyon Bonner, interim vice provost and dean of students, said, “We are pleased to have a person with such excellent experience and passion join our staff in the counseling center. I am confident that Michele will do an excellent job helping our students navigate the recovery process if they are victims. Our greatest hope is that we will eliminate sexual harassment and assault on our campus.”

Welker has extensive experience and expertise as a counselor, case manager, and advocate for women’s issues, including victims of domestic violence. She previously served as a clinician at the St. Vincent Family Center in Columbus, Ohio, providing counseling services for parents of children enrolled in the agency’s preschool partial-hospitalization program. She also worked as a clinical social worker for North Central Mental Health Services in Columbus, and as a case manager for CHOICES for Victims of Domestic Violence, providing comprehensive services for female residents at a Columbus women’s shelter.

In addition, Welker has been active with several local organizations, including Pittsburgh Action Against Rape (PAAR), with nearly 80 hours of extensive training to assist victims of sexual assault. Most recently, she served as the family services coordinator and office manager for Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh, a local nonprofit organization that assists low-income homeowners with critical home repairs and necessities.

Welker earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology, with a certification in women’s studies, at Ohio University, and a master’s degree in social work, with a specialization in women’s studies, at Ohio State University. She is a licensed independent social worker.

Welker replaces Mary Koch-Ruiz, who retired after more than 20 years in the position.