Dr. Brent Nelsen is chair of the South Carolina Educational Television Commission, which he has served in support of its core services, including education and public safety, since he was appointed to the position by Governor Nikki Haley in 2011. Dr. Brent Nelsen was appointed to the CPB Board by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate in August 2013.
He is professor of Political Science at Furman University (Greenville, South Carolina) where he began teaching in 1990. He received his B.A. from Wheaton College (Illinois), and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was a Fulbright Scholar to Oslo, Norway in 1987 - 1988.
From 2003 to 2009, Dr. Nelsen served as Chair of Furman's Department of Political Science. He was President of the South Carolina Political Science Association from 2009 to 2010.
He also serves on the Board of Directors of Three Crosses Outreach in Norway, South Carolina and as an elder at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Greenville.
Since 2001 Dr. Nelsen has shifted his research interests to the study of religion and politics in Europe. Nelsen has teamed up with one of his former students (Alexander Stubb, now Prime Minister of Finland) to publish a textbook on the European Union called The European Union: Readings on the Theory and Practice of European Integration (Lynne Rienner Publishers). The fourth edition was published in May 2014.
He has published several articles on how religion shapes the attitudes of Europeans toward the EU. His newest book, Religion and the Struggle for European Union: Confessional Culture and the Limits of Integration, co-authored with colleague James L. Guth, will be published by Georgetown University Press in Winter 2015.
In 2010 Nelsen ran unsuccessfully for State Superintendent of Education. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley later appointed him chair of the Educational Television Commission. She appointed him to a second six-year term in 2014. President Obama nominated him to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Board of Directors. His nomination was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in August 2013. His term runs until 2016.
Dr. Nelsen married his wife Lori in 1981. They have three children.