Nursing Faculty & Staff

Karen S. Thacker, Ph.D., RN, CNE

Dean, College of Professional Programs
Associate Professor of Nursing


Education Background

  • 2006 - Doctorate of Philosophy, Widener University, PA
  • 1987 - Master of Science in Nursing, West Virginia University, WV   
  • 1981 - Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Marshall University, Huntington, WV
  • 1975 - Associate in Nursing, University of Charleston, WV
  • 2008 - Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) through the National League of Nursing

Academic Experience

Dean, College of Professional Programs and Associate Professor of Nursing

  • Responsible for Nursing Department, Social Work Program, Occupational Therapy Department, Education Department, Business Department, Criminal Justice Department, Athletic Training Program, Behavioral Health Program, Healthcare Science Program, Physical Therapy Program, and Medical Imaging and Surgery Technology Programs (in partnership with Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences) - Monitor and facilitate curriculum, outcome assessment, faculty hire/evaluation processes in the College of Professional Programs, Budgets
  • Monitor and support accreditation processes (ACBSP- Business Department; CAATE- Athletic Training; PDE-  Education Department; CCNE and PA State Board of Nursing- Nursing Department; CSWE- Social Work; ACOTE-  Occupational Therapy; CAPTE, Physical Therapy; Regulatory reports and substantive changes for all programs)
  • Representation of courses taught in recent years at undergraduate and graduate levels: Research and Theory, Leadership, Policy and Curriculum

Selected Publications

  • Thacker, K., Stavarski, D.H., Brancato, V., Flay, C., & Greenawald, D. (2016). An investigation into the health-promoting lifestyle practices of RNs. American Journal of Nursing, 116(4), 24-31.
  • Ballantyne, S., Schreiner, M.B., & Thacker, K. (2016). Managing, mentoring, and motivating online course instructors: Emerging roles for chairs. The Department Chair, 26(4), 11-13. Jossey-Bass.
  • Thacker, K.S., Bertoti, D., Engler, E., Hartung, E. & Symanski, M.E. (2011). Academic leadership strategies to foster personal responsibility in students. The Department Chair, 22(2). Jossey-Bass.
  • Thacker, K.S. & Long, J. (2010). Family presence in final moments: A precious gift. Journal of Christian Nursing, 27(1), 140-144.
  • Thacker, K.S. (2008). Nurses’ advocacy behaviors in end-of-life nursing care. Nursing Ethics, 15(2), 174-185.
  • Thacker, K.S. (2005). Academic-community partnerships: Opening the doors to a nursing career, Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 16(1), 57-63..

Selected National Presentations

  • “Mentoring, Managing and Motivating Online Course Instructors: Emerging Chair Responsibilities” [co-presenter], 33rd Academic Chairpersons Conference, Feb. 3-5, 2016, Charleston, SC.
  • “Health Promotion Lifestyle Practices of Registered Nurses” [presented on behalf of Berks Nursing Research Alliance], 22nd National Evidenced-Based Practice Conference of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, April 23-24, 2015, Iowa City, Iowa.
  • “Thriving, not just Surviving: Effective Strategies for NCLEX Boot Camp”, Poster [co-presenter] HRSA Workforce Diversity Health Disparities and Social Determinant of Health Summit, August 16-17, 2012, Bethesda, MD.
  • “Academic Leadership Strategies to Foster Personal Responsibility in Students”, [co-presenter], 28th Annual Academic Chairpersons Conference, Feb. 10-11, 2011, Orlando, FL.
  • “Navigating the Gray Areas of Student Behavior Issues”, [co-presenter], Baccalaureate Education Conference, AACN, Chicago, IL, November 20, 2009
  • “A System of Support for High Risk Nursing Students: Lessons Learned”, Poster [co-presenter], 2009 NLN Education Summit, September 23-26, 2009, Philadelphia, PA.
  • “The Nursing Education Initiative: A Cure for the Nursing Shortage in Pennsylvania”, presentation representing the Pennsylvania Higher Education Foundation at the 2008 Teamsters Women’s Conference, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, September 11, 2008.
  • “Attitudes to Evidenced-Based Practice: A Study to Examine RN Perceptions Related to Nursing Research”, Poster [co-presentation] at The 15th National Evidenced-Based Practice Conference, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa. April 24, 2008
  • “The Perceptions of Advocacy Behaviors in End-of-Life Nursing Care Among Novice, Experienced and Expert Nurses”, podium presentation at Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society, Baltimore, MD., Nov. 3, 2007
  • “Campus Leadership for Student Engagement, Inclusion and Achievement: Mutually Supportive Outcomes” Co-presentation at the AAC&U 2004, Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, January 21-24, 2004
  • “Academic-Community Partnerships”, Baccalaureate Education Conference, San Antonio, TX, November 16-18, 2003

Selected Grant Writing

  • Berks County Community Foundation Grant to support Laboratory creation in Doctorate in Physical Therapy Program [co-wrote], December 2012 (funded $50,000)
  • Alden Trust Grant for Nursing Simulation Laboratory [co-wrote], March 2012 (funded $100,000)
  • Department of Health and Human Services Workforce Diversity Grant #HRSA11-400), July 2012 (funded $333,929)
  • PA Department of Health Office of Health Equity Workforce Diversity Grant, November 2010 (funded $5,000)
  • US Dept of Ed #P116Z090041: Nurse Scholarship and Education, 5/09 (Funded $95,000)
  • PHEF and McKenzie Foundation Block Grants for Nursing Student Retention Scholarships [co-wrote]: (Funded $239,000 : 2005-11)
  • US Depart of Ed # P116Z080025): Nurse Retention and Recruitment, 3/08 (Funded: $85,460)
  • Hearst Foundation Endowed Scholarships for Latino Nursing Students, 3/06 [co-wrote] (Funded: $100,00)
  • AACN Research Grant Award, SePA Chapter, 5/06 (Funded: $1,600.00)

Professional and Community Service

  • Home Health Care Management, Inc. Board of Directors; Chair, 2015-present; Vice-Chair, 2012-15; Executive Committee 2006-15; Chair, Medical Professional Advisory Committee; 2005-2014
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) Accreditation Program Evaluator, June 2010-present
  • PA Department of Education On-site Program Reviewer, 2009, 2012
  • Nursing Research Council, Reading Hospital and Medical Center: 2006-ongoing
  • The Berks Regional Research Alliance (co-founder): 2009-ongoing
  • Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania Advisory Council, 2009-2011; Girl Scouts Take the Lead Event Committee, 2013, 2014


  • Nursing Excellence in Leadership, Upsilon Zeta Chapter of Sigma Theta International Honor Society of Nursing, 5/2014
  • Senior Leadership Academy (SLA) nominee and institute participant, The Council of Independent Colleges and American Academic Leadership Institute, 2011-12
  • Award Finalist for Nursing Research, Nightingale Awards of Pennsylvania, 10/2008
  • Woman of Distinction Award, Great Valley Council Girl Scouts, 3/2006
  • Independence Blue Cross Nursing Scholar Awards, Philadelphia, PA, 2005, 2006
  • Wye Faculty Fellow, Aspen Institute, 2002

Contact Information

Dr. Karen Thacker

Karen S. Thacker, Ph.D., RN, CNE
Dean, College of Professional Programs
Associate Professor of Nursing

     Bernardine Hall, Room 35
     Phone: 610.796.8306

nursing faculty & staff

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ YouTube RSS Feed Pinterest Instagram tumblr Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ RSS Feed