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Joe Gershtenson

  • Professor of Government
  • Ph.D., University of Texas
  • MPIA, University of California-San Diego
  • BSFS, Georgetown University


Contact Information

  • Department: Government and Economics
  • Office: Miller 202
  • Mailing Address: 100 Beckham Building
  • Email:
  • Phone: 859-622-2606


Dr. Gershtenson has been to several parts of the United States in his life.  Originally from Colorado, outside Denver, he attended school at Georgetown in Washington, DC; The University of California at San Diego, and the University of Texas at Austin before starting his career at East Carolina University.  What brought him to Eastern Kentucky University were his family connections –his wife’s family is from Woodford County and spoke well of EKU.  He has been here since 2003.

In addition to teaching, Professor Gershtenson  works in what is now the Center for Appalachian Regional Engagement and Stewardship (CARES).  CARES collaborates with the communities in EKU’s service region (22 counties in Southeastern Kentucky) to lend support of the University’s resources and expertise to address issues identified by community partners.  Professor Gershtenson’s primary area is collaborative government which includes efforts to promote professionalism among county and municipal governments, governmental transparency, and communication with citizens. This position also relates to his teaching.  He is the department’s coordinator for cooperative learning and internships, both of which involve placing students in jobs where they learn by doing.  In addition to supervising internships, he also teaches research methods, Kentucky Government and Politics, American Government, and courses in the Honors Program.

Through his training, Dr. Gershtenson is an Americanist, interested primarily in public opinion and elections.  Much of his work looks at the level of trust Americans have in their governments –does trust vary from local to state to national?  Does trust depend on geography or personal characteristics of individuals?  This research has been particularly valuable in his work with outreach to Eastern Kentucky communities which have the same “town and gown” divide common to the rest of the country.  To encourage and model productive relationships between university personnel EKU and other educational institutions across the country engage better with those around them, Dr. Gershtenson edits a journal, Prism: A Journal of Regional Engagement.  The journal publishes research on how universities can get beyond their campuses and interact with their surrounding communities.

When he’s not on campus or working in the community, Dr. Gershtenson is an avid fan of soccer.  He coaches his children’s soccer teams, referees games, plays himself, and is a follower of the Tottenham Hotspur FC in the English Premier League.

After many years as an educator, Dr. Gershtenson’s advice to students is to do the simple things in their classes.  Come to class, do the work, participate actively in the classroom –even if it is listening to a lecture –and students will do fine.  There is a reason this is the classic advice, as there is no secret to succeeding in college.


Subject  TitleDatesLocationTerm
HON 308WPhil and Pol of SoccerTR 11:00am-12:15pm University Building 233Spring 2018
HON 312WPhil and Pol of SoccerTR 11:00am-12:15pm University Building 233Spring 2018
POL 400WCapstone Course/Political SciM 3:35pm-6:35pm Combs Building 114Spring 2018
POL 400WCapstone Course/Political Sci  Internet Classes SITESpring 2018
POL 498ALegislative Internship   Spring 2018
POL 498BSel Topics in KY Legis Process   Spring 2018
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