Dr. Carissa Baker
Expertise: Theme Parks and Attractions, Narrative and Culture, Guest Experience, Media Studies, Technology, Sustainable Tourism, Literary and Media Tourism
Dr. Carissa Baker studies theme parks and attractions from a variety of perspectives, including their characteristics as art, business, culture, and technology. She holds a Ph.D. in Texts and Technology from the University of Central Florida; her dissertation research was on the theme park as a narrative medium. This project earned recognition including a College Outstanding Dissertation Award and the Texts and Technology Dissertation Research Award; it also contributed to her winning the Order of Pegasus, UCF’s highest student award.
Theme parks have been a subject of Dr. Baker’s research for more than two decades. She has presented on aspects of themed entertainment at academic conferences, industry gatherings such as the IAAPA Expo and TEA SATE, and several universities. She has taught in China and been a Visiting Scholar at Breda University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands twice. Dr. Baker publishes interdisciplinary work focused on themed entertainment.
Dr. Baker’s industry experience includes years in operations at Disney and Universal on both coasts, consulting on theme park projects in a few countries, and facilitation of educational seminars for attraction designers. She is a member of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) and an IAAPA-Certified Attractions Executive (ICAE). She is also involved with the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA), TEA NextGen, the Themed Experience and Attractions Academic Society, and Slice Creative Network. At UCF, Dr. Baker is the faculty advisor for the Future Theme Park Leaders Association (FTPLA).
Dr. Baker has held both faculty and administrative leadership positions. She previously worked at the University of California Riverside, Riverside City College, Santa Barbara City College, and Seminole State College. She created popular courses in the Seminole State Honors program including classes on Disney and Harry Potter in addition to speaking multiple times at the UCF Honors Symposium. Dr. Baker won the Distinguished Honors Faculty Award and was appointed the Phoenix International Ltd. Endowed Teaching Chair.