Elliott, David H.

Elliott, David H.

Date Updated



Communication Studies

Academic Rank


Year Retired from SJSU


Educational Background

Stanford University, 1970, PhD

University of Oregon, 1957, MS

University of Oregon, 1956, BS

Northwest Christian College, 1953, BTh

Teaching Experience

San Jose State University 1957-1997

University of Oregon (TA) 1956-1957

Administrative and Professional Experience

Numerous positions in academic governance, including: Vice Chair and Chair, SJSU Academic Senate and Vice Chair and Chair, CSU Statewide Academic Senate (two terms). I also held numerous administrative positions, including: Chair, Communication Studies (two terms for a total of 12 years); Associate Dean, College of Social Sciences, SJSU; Interim Associate Executive Vice President, SJSU; and Director, The Consortium of the California State University.

Beyond the University, I have had many opportunities to serve as a communication consultant and as a professional parliamentarian. I was Parliamentarian for the California Association of Realtors for nineteen years and also "worked" several meetings of the National Association of Realtors.

Selected Publications

Numerous articles, mostly on academic governance. My most significant publication was probably "Collegial Decision Making and Collective Bargaining: Some Symbiotic Possibilities," which was published in the May, 1978 edition of the Academic Senator, the newsletter of the CSU Academic Senate. This article provided the conceptual basis for the the so called "Fail Safe" language in AB 1091, the California Higher Education Employee Relations Act (HEERA). It was designed to assure the preservation of collegial governance mechanisms (senates and faculty committees) in the collective bargaining context.

Since retirement, my writing has been focused primarily on articles for the CSU-ERFA Reporter, the newsletter of the CSU Emeritus and Retired Faculty Association.

Personal Commentary

I have had a rich and varied career at San Jose State and within the CSU system. I have enjoyed my work in Communication Studies and I am deeply grateful for the many opportunities I have had to provide leadership both on and beyond our campus. I started my work in the old Speech and Drama Department in 1957, when I was only 27 years old, as Instructor, Step 1, Class 1. Except for one semester when I had a sabbatical and another when I took a 50% leave at reduced pay, I completed all the requirements for my Stanford doctorate while teaching full-time. These were difficult years for my family, especially for my wife, my dear partner in life, and I shall always be grateful for the sacrifices she and the other members of my family made in enabling me to complete my formal education.

I was out on strike for a number of weeks during the winter of 1968-69 and developed an interest in academic governance during this period that shaped my entire career. Following the completion of my doctorate in 1970, I was, successively, promoted to Full Professor, appointed Chair of my department and elected Chair Elect of the Academic Council. I was elected to the Statewide Senate in 1973 and became Chair in 1977. Those were difficult, formative years for the CSU and there were many opportunities to participate in shaping system policies. I believe my most important achievement as CSU Senate Chair was gaining the inclusion of the previously mentioned "Fail Safe" language in the our collective bargaining statute.

Although my years as Director of the CSU Consortium (1982 86) were fraught with difficulty, they were also rewarding. They were filled with innovative activity that demonstrated the creative potential of our great state university. The Consortium served its students and the people of this state well, and I am proud of my service as its Director. In the final years of my career, I returned to San Jose State and to my second term as Chair of Communication Studies. I retired confident that the vitality of my department had been restored and that its future in the discipline, and at our campus, was secure. Subsequent developments have, I believe, vindicated this confidence.

I have continued my advocacy for CSU faculty rights and benefits since retirement through various leadership positons in CSU-ERFA. I served as its President during the 2005-2006 year and have remained active on its Executive Committee through the current year.

Date Completed: 7/96; Updated: 10/29/2019

Adapted from: Biographies of Retired Faculty San Jose State University 1997: A Project of the Emeritus Faculty Association of San Jose State University. San Jose, CA: The University, 1997.


Elliott, David H.