Michael V. Haselswerdt, PhD Professor; Director, Fitzpatrick Institute of Public Affairs and Leadership
Professor Michael V. Haselswerdt received his undergraduate degree from the University of California at Davis and his doctorate from Michigan State University. He has taught at Canisius College since 1974.
Working on political campaigns and splitting firewood are two of Haselswerdt’s passions. For his day job, he teaches courses in American political behavior, the US Congress and research methods.
Haselswerdt was recently named Director of the new Fitzpatrick Institute of Public Affairs and Leadership. The Fitzpatrick Institute is devoted to expanding the vision of the Fitzpatrick family regarding the training of political leaders. The prominent Fitzpatrick Lecture Series will be maintained, and there will be additional programming and activities that will expose students to leadership opportunities.
Since 1998, Haselswerdt has organized an annual trip to Washington, D.C. for students. During the three-day program, students meet Canisius alumni who work on Capitol Hill and other government agencies, in lobby and research firms and media companies. The experience makes students better aware of opportunities after graduation.
Haselswerdt believes in learning through doing. In 1988, he was on the National Advance staff for Dukakis for President, traveling around the country setting up campaign events for Michael and Kitty Dukakis. Consequently, he teaches a popular course on Presidential Campaign Advance every four years and as a result, several former students have worked on presidential campaigns.
In 1996, Haselswerdt worked as an analyst for Peter Hart Research Associates in Washington, D.C. Hart Research is one of the premier public opinion research firms in the world. He applies some of what he learned there when teaching research methods.
He has published articles in scholarly journals and resource books. During his last sabbatical, he was the first to use individual-level data from government documents to study the voting behavior of ex-felons in Erie County. His estimate of ex-felon turnout, which is much lower than those derived from statistical estimates, will contribute to the debate over ex-felon disenfranchisement policies. This study will be published in Social Science Quarterly in June, 2009. He plans to replicate this study with statewide data in New York, and after that, he will then examine whether any criminal justice variables, such as severity of offense or number of convictions, predict future voting behavior. He is also working, with student Charles Kruly, on a study that examines how indicators of county government characteristics and county government activity in New York affect variables that measure the quality of life in a county.
Haselswerdt has been involved in several local political campaigns and he is frequently asked by the media to comment on local, state and national issues. His most inspirational fictional character is Gnossos Pappadopoulis, while Schuyler Colfax remains his most memorable historical figure.