Terry Christensen

Dr. Terry Christensen



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Professor, Emeritus
Ph.D. University of North Carolina, 1972

Office: Clark Hall 404M
Phone: 408-924-5565
Email: Terry.Christensen@sjsu.edu
Curriculum Vitae

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 12th edition 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 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 is currently a member of the Advisory Board of the Commonwealth Club Silicon Valley and the Selection Committee of the American Leadership Forum.

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. Currently, Christensen is Director of Program Development for CommUniverCity and Executive Director of the Friends of Five Wounds Trail (www.fivewoundstrail.org), a spin-off project.

Christensen also continues to work with the SJSU Political Science Alumni Leadership Group (look for “SJSU Poli Sci on Facebook”), hosting the annual Alumni/Student Networking event at his home, contributing to the Poli Sci Newsletter 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.

PDFs made available by Dr. Christensen:

San Jose Political History to 1970 
San Jose Political History since 1970
"Movers & Shakers, a 1979 study of Power in San Jose (excerpts)