Dr. Jensen has been a member of the biology faculty at Converse since the fall of 1999, and he chaired the department from 2000 to 2011. He earned his BS in botany at the University of Michigan and his PhD in biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Dr. Jensen teaches major-level courses in General Botany, Systematic Botany, Evolutionary Biology, Ecology and Microbiology, and he co-teaches Junior and Senior Seminar course with the other Biology Faculty. For general education and prospective majors, he also teaches Concepts in Biology and Spring Flora. He has taught study/travel trips to the American Southwest, the Galápagos Islands and mainland Ecuador, and Costa Rica.
Dr. Jensen’s research interests are in evolutionary biology and plant evolution. His primary research has been on fossilized plants from the Devonian period (approximately 400 million years ago) from New Brunswick and Quebec. This research includes a description of a new genus and species of a group of plants called zosterophylls and exploration of the evolutionary relationships of those plants. In addition to this work, Dr. Jensen’s students have researched Upper Cretaceous (approximately 70 million years old) plant diversity in South Carolina, energy sources of pitcher plants. Along with art professor Andrew Blanchard, Dr. Jensen directed a photographic documentation of efforts to control beach vitex, an invasive species in South Carolina. His students have presented their research at regional and national conferences. Dr. Jensen also maintains the herbarium, a collection of over 10,000 specimens of modern plants, some of which date to before the Civil War, and he maintains the greenhouse, which is used for both class and research purposes.
You can often find Dr. Jensen checking out the plants around campus. Outside of his professional duties, Dr. Jensen has acted in Converse/Theatre productions, choreographed a dance scene for an opera production, and participated in many student life activities.