Charles Christensen has served Tiffin University in a variety of positions since 2000. Now, he is set to step down, although he plans to continue working - at his own pace.
Christensen grew up in Orchard Lake, Mich., and graduated from West Bloomfield High School in 1961. During high school, he lettered in football, basketball and baseball.
After graduating from Eastern Michigan University in 1967, Christensen joined the U.S. Air Force, where he spent 26 years working in intelligence as a staff officer, analyst, collector and commander.
While in the Air Force, Christensen spent a year in Vietnam from 1970-71. In 1975, Christensen earned a master's of arts degree from the University of Notre Dame.
After retiring from the Air Force, as a colonel, he was hired in the Mershon Center for Foreign Policy at The Ohio State University as a program director and post-doctoral research fellow. Christensen said after he finished his doctorate in military history and international relations, he and his wife, Nancy, moved to Tiffin, where he was hired at TU as a faculty member.
As an adaptation of his doctoral dissertation, Christensen published a book, "Airmen, Scientists and Engineers: Operation LUSTY and the Birth of Modern Technical Intelligence." The book was the result of five years of research and writing.
One of the accomplishments Christensen said he is proud of was working to create TU's online programming.
"When I came to Tiffin in 2000, we did not have an online program," he said. "In fact, my first job on campus was to create it. Today, we have about over 3,000 students, about two-thirds of our total enrollment, enrolled in our bachelor's and master's degree courses, and Tiffin University is considered an industry leader in online education."
Christensen, while at TU, worked as the online program director, an assistant professor of political science and national security, served as dean of the School of Criminal Justice and Social Sciences and, from 2007 to present, served as the vice president of academic affairs and dean of faculty.
Christensen is to retire after commencement this spring and be replaced by Lillian Schumacher.
"In retirement, I would like to spend more time with my family, but also to continue to do some work, but at my time and pace," he said.
Christensen said he is considering consulting in the fields of education and national security.
"I have been approached by the Higher Learning Commission, TU's regional accreditor, to assess review partnerships between not-for-profit colleges and universities and for-profit companies," he said. "I also plan to write and teach one or two courses a semester online. Nancy and I plan to stay in Tiffin, with the option to go south during the winter months."
"Dr. Christensen has made many positive contributions to Tiffin University and our students as a faculty member and academic administrator," TU President Paul Marion stated in a news release. "He was instrumental in the development of our online programs and was very effective during his service as dean of the School of Criminal Justice and Social Sciences. As vice president for Academic Affairs in recent years, he has provided outstanding leadership that has resulted in significant increases in the number and the quality of our academic programs."
Christensen said he will always remember "the life-changing experience that college can be for some of our students in terms of their outlook on life and their expectations."