Dr. Michael Baranowski was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but oddly, he has been a Pittsburgh Steelers fan all his life.
After taking a few political science classes as an undergraduate, he found that he really enjoyed arguing with his professors -- so much so that he decided he wanted to be on the other side of the arguments. This led him to the University of Kentucky (after a short detour in the Marine Corps Reserve), where he earned a Political Science Ph.D. in 1997.
From UK, he went to Lake Superior State University (in the frigid upper peninsula of Michigan), followed by the University of Evansville. He came to NKU in 2001.
Dr. Baranowski teaches classes in American politics and public policy. His favorite classes to teach are American Politics, The Politics of Desire (a.k.a. "The Sex Class"), Politics and Mass Media and American Politics in Film. His research interests are pedagogy (a.k.a. "How to keep students awake in the classroom and possibly even teach them something worth learning.") and morality policy, particularly in the area of same-sex partner rights.
Dr. Baranowski likes the people in the department so much that he married one of them – Dr. Kimberly Weir (who wisely opted to stick with her last name professionally, recognizing that one Baranowski in the department was plenty).
The thing Dr. Baranowski likes most about the department is that he has always been given opportunities to teach courses in a variety of areas.
"My department chairs have been uniformly supportive of my efforts to create and teach many different courses, including courses in the Honors Program," he said. "I have met many truly interesting students during my time at NKU, a number of whom I have kept in contact with after their graduation. One of the great things about my job is that every semester I am virtually assured of having a number of intelligent, enthusiastic, intellectually curious students in my classes. They make everything worthwhile and are the reason I so look forward to every new semester."