Dr. Brian Cherry

Professor & MPA Director

Brian D. Cherry is a Professor of Political Science at Northern Michigan University.  His research focus is on local government management and higher education.  His recent works have appeared in the Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, Journal of Public Affairs and State and Local Government Review. He teaches courses in state and local government, politics of education, and public administration. Dr. Cherry has served as the Assistant Provost for Graduate Education and Research (2012-2015), the Head of the Department of Political Science (2006-2011), Director of the Master of Public Administration program (2001-2010), and was the co-founder of the Center for Rural Economic and Community Development (2011). 

Dr. Cherry was elected to the Marquette Area Public Schools Board in 2010 and 2016.  He has chaired of the finance committee and was Vice President.  He also serves on the Teaching Family Homes Board and is the Treasurer for the Local Development Finance Authority. 

Dr. Cherry has his Master of Public Administration and Ph.D. from Indiana State University and Bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Southern Indiana. 


Public Administration and State and Local Government


Ph.D., Indiana State University
MPA, Indiana State University
B.S., University of Southern Indiana 

Professional Experience:

Professor- Political Science, Northern Michigan University (1997-Current)
Assistant Provost- Graduate Education and Research, Northern Michigan University (2012-2015)
Institutional Official, Northern Michigan University (2012-2015)
Department Head- Political Science, Northern Michigan University (2006-2011)
Director- Center for Rural Economic and Community Development, Northern Michigan University (2011)
Director- Master of Public Administration, Northern Michigan University (2001-2010, 2020 to Current)
Instructor- Department of Political Science, Indiana State University (1995-1997)

Elected/Appointed Boards:

School Finance Research Collaborative (2016-Current)
Teaching Family Homes (2015-2020)
Local Development Finance Authority- Treasurer (2014-Current)
Marquette Area Public Schools- (2010-2014, 2016-Current) 

Recent Publications:

  • Cherry, B., Graves, B., and Grasse, N. (2021). Causes, Processes, and Effects of Academic Reorganization at Public Master’s Universities in the United States. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Policy Management. (Under Review)
  • Graves, B. and Cherry, B. (2021). Departments, Schools, Divisions, and Colleges: Organization of Academic Units in Public Master’s Institutions in the United States, Research in Higher Education. (Under Review)
  • Cherry, B., Grasse, N., and Ihrke, D. (2017). Perceptions of Privatization in Michigan, Journal of Human Service Organizations: Management, Leadership, & Governance. May, Vol. 41, Issue 3.
  • Cherry, B., Grasse, N., Kapla, D., and Hamel, B. (2017).  Analysis of Academic Administrators’ Attitudes: Annual Evaluations and Factors that Improve Teaching. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management. March. Vol. 39, Issue 3. 
  • Ford, M., Ihrke, D., and Cherry, B. (2016). Perceptions of Council Member-Department Head Interactions in Local Government. Journal of Public Affairs. November. Vol. 16, Issue, 4. 10.1002/pa.1597.
  • Heidbreder, B., Grasse, N., Ihke, D. and Cherry, B. (2011). Determinants of Policy Conflict in Michigan Municipalities. State and Local Government Review. 43(1).

Recent Conference Presentations:

  • Co-Presenter, "Factors Impacting Job Satisfaction for Academic Department Chairs." Midwest Public Affairs Conference, 2019. (with Ihrke and Ford)
  • Co-Presenter, "Understanding Different Types of Conflict Experience by Council Members in Small Communities in Wisconsin." Midwest Public Affairs Conference, 2019. (with Ihrke, Ford, and Washington)
  • Co-Presenter, "The Governance Challenges Facing Large Wisconsin Cities." Midwest Public Affairs Conference, 2018. (with Doug Ihrke)
  • Co-Presenter, City Council Decision Making and Performance." Northeast Conference on Public Administration, 2017. (with Doug Ihrke)
  • Co-Presenter, “The Relationship Between Academic Administrators and University Outcomes.” Midwest Public Affairs Conference, 2017. (with Grasse, Ihrke, and Kapla) 
  • Co-Presenter, “Understanding Gender Differences in Ranking the Causes of Local Government Conflict: A National Study of Municipal Governments.” Midwest Public Affairs Conference, 2016. (with Ihrke and Washington) 
  • Co-Presenter, “Compensation Satisfaction and Department Heads: The Case of Michigan Municipalities.” Southeastern Conference of Public Administration, 2016. (with Ihrke, Grasse, and Washington) 
  • Co-Presenter, “Decision-making, Satisfaction and the Council: The Case of Michigan Municipalities.” Midwest Public Affairs Conference, 2015. (with Ihrke)
  • Co-Presenter, “Does Management/Labor Relations Effect the Decision to Privatize?” Urban Affairs Conference, 2011. (with Ihrke and Grasse)     
  • Co-Presenter, “Evaluating Support for Municipal Government Term Limits: Evidence from a National Survey of Municipal Officials.” Urban Affairs Conference, 2011. (with Ihrke and Grasse)    
  • Co-Presenter, “Strategic Management and Innovation in Michigan Municipalities.” Urban Affairs Conference, 2011. (with Grasse and Heidbreder)    
  • Co-Presenter, “Evaluating Support for Municipal Government Term Limits: Evidence from a National Survey of Municipal Officials.” Associate for Public Policy and Management (APPAM), 2010. (with Ihrke, Grasse, and Chikoto)    
  • Co-Presenter, “Public/Public versus Public/Private Partnerships: Which Do City Managers Prefer?” Urban Affairs Conference, 2010. (with Doug Ihrke) 
Brian portrait