Ph.D. University of North Carolina, 1972
Office: Clark Hall 404M
Terry Christensen is a specialist on state and local politics. He earned a BA in political science from Stanford and a PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The author or co-author of nine books, his most recent publication is the 13thedition of California Politics and Government, the best-selling text on California politics he co-authors with Larry Gerston. Other books include Local Politics: A Practical Guide to Governing at the Grassroots; Projecting Politics: Political Messages in American Films, co-authored by Elizabeth and Peter Haas; and Recall! California's Political Earthquake, also co-authored by Larry Gerston.
Christensen chaired the Department of Political Science from 1994 to 2002. In 1998, he was named San José State University's Outstanding Professor. His teaching focused on local government and politics; he also directed the SJSU political science department's internship program, which he created over forty years ago. Generations of community leaders and activists have graduated from his classes to serve in elected and administrative positions and as volunteers.
Local and national media regularly call on Christensen for analysis of politics in California and Silicon Valley. He has served on numerous civic committees and commissions, often with his former students, and as an advisor to many candidates and elected officials.
He served as the Founding Executive Director of CommUniverCity San Jose (www.cucsj.org), a partnership between the City of San Jose, San José State University and the neighborhoods surrounding the university that concentrates hundreds of students performing community service in these neighborhoods with projects selected by residents and supported by the city. He is still involved with two CommUniverCity projects initiated while he was Executive Director: Friends of Five Wounds Trail (www.fivewoundstrail.org) and BART Alum Rock Transit Village Advocates (BARTVA)( http://five-wounds.equoria.org/bartva/).
Christensen continues to work with the SJSU Political Science Alumni Leadership Group (look for “SJSU Political Science Alumni Association” on Facebook), hosting the annual Alumni/Student Networking event at his home and assisting with fundraising for scholarships and the Institute for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement (IPACE), which he founded to provide support for internships and other programs that engage students and faculty with the community.
In 2015, he became the host of Valley Politics, a monthly TV show focusing on politics and public policy in San Jose and Silicon Valley produced by CreaTV. Valley Politics airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on Comcast Ch. 30 or episodes can be viewed on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/CREATVSANJOSE