James “Jim” Erwin Christensen, 79, passed away Monday peacefully at his home from complications of Parkinson’s.
He was preceded in death by his parents: Erwin O. and Edna F. Christensen of Lanham, Maryland; and his sister: Judith Christensen Bergman Callin of Houston, Texas.
He is survived by his wife: Jo McGuffin Christensen; nieces: Donna Bergman and Christina Bergman Cherry; a nephew: Karl Bergman of Houston; and a brother-in-law and sister-in-law: John and Joy McGuffin.
Jim spent 30 years working in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at the University of Maryland, and held several positions of increasing responsibility and influence. He served first as an Admissions Counselor, then Assistant and Associate Director, and ultimately as the Director of Undergraduate Admissions. In those roles, Jim was responsible for recruiting and admitting students, developing and overseeing the admissions process for freshmen and transfer students, managing a diverse staff, setting priorities and achieving enrollment targets. Jim led during a time of great change and progress at Maryland — increasing in stature and national prominence and adeptly guided the Admissions Office into the new millennium. There were two areas in particular in which Jim had a profound impact, transfer Credit and Articulation, and Technology Development.
Given Jim’s expertise in the former, he was asked to author a book published by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), Transfer Credit Practices. It was used across the country by all accredited institutions and guided transfer credit decisions that affected hundreds of thousands of transfer students annually. Jim was also responsible for leveraging technology to improve operations and business processes for efficiency and effectiveness, and to improve service to students. Jim understood that the work was always about students.
As an Admission professional, Jim was a leader in the state of Maryland. He influenced academic policy within the university and across the University System of Maryland. Because of Jim’s leadership and service, he was selected to receive the Distinguished Service Award from the President of the University.
After retirement from the University of Maryland, Jim and Jo retired to Jo’s hometown, Greeneville.
Jim was an avid golfer, a voracious reader, a master of one-liners and famous for his dry humor. He was a member of the Exchange Club and Link Hills Country Club.
His family expresses their thanks to the nurses from University of Tennessee Hospice, Robin Johnson and Jill Renner; and a very special thanks to his home nurses, Christina Yates, Rebecca Blankenship and Bobbie Roderick, who took especially good care of him.
Because of the COVID-19 virus, there will be no service or visitation.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Greeneville/Greene County Humane Society.
Thoughts and memories may be shared with the family at www.jeffersmortuary.com.
Jeffers Funeral & Cremation Service is in charge of the arrangements.