Leadership Profile

Faculty Members Honored with Promotion and Tenure


Dr. Joy Karnas and Professor Jill Odegaard [Dr. Kerrie Baker not pictured]


Dr. Kerrie Baker

Congratulations to Dr. Kerrie Baker, Dr. Joy Karnas, and Professor Jill Odegaard, who were promoted to the rank of Professor at Cedar Crest's Promotion and Tenure Ceremony on Thursday, April 10.  Each was honored for her excellence in teaching, leadership on campus, and significant and sustained contributions their academic disciplines.

Kerrie Baker, Ph.D.

Kerrie Baker, Ph.D. has been promoted to Professor of Psychology. Dr. Baker became a member of the Cedar Crest faculty in 2001, received tenure in 2007, and currently serves as Chair of the Psychology Department.

Dr. Baker teaches several courses within the department including experimental methods, statistics, professional ethics, careers in psychology, team building and group dynamics, ergonomics, and several other industrial/ organizational psychology-related courses.

Dr. Baker is an active member of the Cedar Crest community, having served on numerous committees including the faculty personnel committee, the institutional research board, the assessment committee, and the Middle States educational standards review committee.

Dr. Baker practiced applied psychology for over ten years in private and public organizations before coming to Cedar Crest College. She began her career as an intern and research specialist for Bell Atlantic, and then was a management consultant for the Hay Group, a nationally recognized consulting firm. For the next six years, Dr. Baker served as a Personnel Research Psychologist for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where she gained a broad range of experience in the areas of psychology, business, and criminal justice.

Dr. Baker is a member of the American Psychological Society, Eastern Psychological Association, Personnel Testing Council of Metropolitan Washington, the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology and the Society for the Teaching of Psychology. She has published several articles in respected journals, and earned honors and awards for excellence in her field and teaching. She most recently received a Society for Teaching of Psychology grant.

Dr. Baker earned a B.S. in Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University, an M.S. in Psychology from Old Dominion University and a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Old Dominion University.

K. Joy Karnas, Ph.D.

K. Joy Karnas, Ph.D. has been promoted to Professor of Biology. She joined the Cedar Crest community in 2001, and was granted tenure in 2007. She currently serves as Director of the Genetic Engineering Program and Cedar Crest’s Honors Program, and teaches both undergraduate and graduate level courses.

Research in Dr. Karnas’ lab focuses on the use of RNA to examine changes in gene expression in response to environmental stimuli, using several different model organisms including the tobacco hornworm, chicken embryos, and tomato plants. Her work crosses multiple disciplines including developmental biology, neuroscience, and forensic science. In 2013, Dr. Karnas received a National Science Foundation grant for a collaborative project that gives biology students the opportunity to work with top-of-the- line instrumentation as they investigate the connections between developing neurons, teratogens, and gene expression.

Dr. Karnas has presented her work at numerous professional conferences, including those for the American Society for Cell Biology, American Academy of Forensic Sciences, Association for Biology Laboratory Education, and Society for Neuroscience. Over the past decade, she has also worked extensively with the Da Vinci Science Center and local school districts on grant funded teacher education initiatives.

Dr. Karnas currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Pocono Environmental Education Center and for the Anne Spychala Family Charitable Foundation. In addition, she was recently installed as President of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science.

Dr. Karnas earned her B.S. and M.A. in Biology from the College of William and Mary and her Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Arizona.

Jill Odegaard

Jill Odegaard has been promoted to Professor of Art. Prof. Odegaard joined the Cedar Crest community in 2000, and was granted tenure in 2006. She currently serves as Chair of the Art Department and teaches a number of courses that include papermaking, sculpture, principles of visual organization, women artists and contemporary art, advanced studio problems and senior studio seminar.

Prof. Odegaard has overseen the development of a number of initiatives in her department; including the development of a new art therapy major in 2011 followed by a Master of Arts in Art Therapy in 2013. She was integral in the development of the Artist in Residency Workshop, started in 2006, that gives students the opportunity to connect with working artists and aid them in the artistic process. She has also contributed to the student experience by developing the Community Related Experience in Art through Engagement (C.R.E.A.T.E.) living learning community and by facilitating a community art project in Costa Rica. In 2007, Prof. Odegaard organized the Paper Arts Guild that connects Cedar Crest alumnae with the art department and creates a community outside of the structure of the classroom.

Prof. Odegaard has an ongoing exhibition record that reaches from coast to coast and into Canada. She has a great deal of teaching experience beyond her years at Cedar Crest that includes serving as an art instructor at Minnesota State University-Moorhead; as adjunct faculty in the Interior Design Department of North Dakota State University; and as a visiting artist at the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland. She has taught workshops at the Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale, N.Y.

Prof. Odegaard earned a B.F.A. from Minnesota State University-Moorhead and a M.F.A. from Minneapolis College of Art and Design.


President Carmen Twillie Ambar, Dr. Joy Karnas, Board of Trustees Chair Rear Admiral David P. Keller, Professor Jill Odegaard and Provost Elizabeth M. Meade