Sociology Professors Janice and John Baldwin exude a contagious energy that their students — who are young enough to be their grandchildren — can’t even match.
The two approach every aspect of their lives together — their relationship, courses on human sexuality or frequent hiking expeditions — with unbridled passion and vigor. They met while deep sea fishing in Miami, Florida “over a decade ago,” John said teasingly. The Baldwins have been married for over 42 years.
Their first meeting was ideal for the blossoming romance as the pair spent the rest of the summer taking strolls down the beach while admiring the sights of Biscayne Bay.
“I didn’t know at that moment that we’d be together for the rest of our life,” Janice said.
After tackling hurdles for years — Janice attended Ohio State University as an undergraduate, while John worked on his Ph.D at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland — John proposed to Janice upon receiving a job offer at UCSB.
The pair now jointly teaches courses on human sexuality – Sociology 152 A-C — some of the university’s most popular and longest-running classes.
Although common among academics, John said he and his wife never compete.
“It’s not a competition,” John said. “Our entire life has been a cooperation point. We bought a tandem bicycle when we came to California. … Our lives were welded together on the tandem.”
While John teaches various sociology courses, Janice focuses solely on the pair’s classes on human sexuality.
“I’m just hired for sex,” Janice joked.
“You sound like a sex worker,” John teased.
The pair moved from randy to affectionate as Janice listed the numerous reasons she loves her husband, naming kindness, intelligence, sincerity and dedication, among others.
“His cute little face,” she said. “He makes so many funny faces, you’d be amazed. … He’s a lot of fun. He’s dedicated to making our life as good as it can be together. And he fits in some cute little jeans.”
“Superficial Janice,” James said in jest.
James also expressed admiration for his significant other.
“She creates so many wonderful moments for us,” he said. “Our life is charmed.”
Moreover, the pair stressed their dedication to physical fitness. John and Janice, 69 years old and 64 years old, respectively, hike regularly and are able to trek 3,200 ft. in one hour and 15 minutes.
John also said that intimacy is crucial to a healthy relationship and taking frequent mini-vacations allow the pair to spend much-needed personal time with one another.
“We spend a lot of time being intimate with each other so these vacations are very special,” he said. “We like the intimacy that comes from sitting and talking about plans; where to go next.”
Charles and Dolly Mullin, both communication professors, have distinctive teaching methodologies, but are surprisingly alike in their personalities — a fit that makes the couple like two peas in a pod.
The pair first realized the likeness as undergraduates at UCLA when pulling all-nighters to watch David Letterman and discuss Scottish music. According to Dolly, the two never tried to look their best during those long nights, which allowed them to fall in love with each other’s personalities instead of focusing on physical appearance.
“It was certainly comfort and familiarity at first sight,” Charles said. “It was a perfect fit right away.”
According to Charles, the two eventually decided to attend UCSB for graduate school, where they stayed to teach asfaculty lecturers.
“It’s hard to get your Ph.D someplace and stay at that institution to teach,” he said. “We had more or less committed emotionally and spiritually to staying at UCSB, which may have factored into our decision to not go into a tenure track elsewhere.”
Aside from admiring his intelligence and strong sense of principle, Dolly said she trusts her partner completely.
“We think the same way on so many issues,” she said. “I trust his judgment on just about everything.”
Charles, on the other hand, said he is thankful for Dolly’s selflessness.
“You take care of me, which I appreciate,” he said. “You look after the things I don’t like to do for myself, like taxes and stuff. We both do stuff that the other person doesn’t want to.”
Aside from the Mullins, the communication department, which has been dubbed Noah’s Ark, also houses four other couples.
Although some married couples prefer to keep their professional lives separate from their personal ones, Dolly said working together can be beneficial.
“We know each other’s stresses,” she said. “It’s hard [when you have] different jobs and don’t know why the other is worried.”
Aside from working, living and volunteering together, the pair also commutes from Santa Ynez — a 50-minute drive — together. Charles joked that he forced Dolly to adopt a rural lifestyle.
“I don’t know if you marry a person who’s optimal for you,” he said. “You marry them and mold them. … I sometimes like to say I dragged [Dolly] out there [to Santa Ynez].”
“But I went willing,” Dolly said.
“It’s like Green Acres,” Charles joked. “I’m Eddie Albert.”
“And I’m Eva Gabor,” Dolly said, as though reading her husband’s mind.
Although married for eight years, physics professor Tommaso Treu and history professor Stefania Tutino can easily be mistaken for newlyweds.
Aside from holding hands, exchanging loving glances and kissing, the pair is also so bright-eyed when speaking about each other that an onlooker would suspect they were honeymooners.
The couple first met over a decade ago when attending Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, Italy. Their different academic callings, however, forced them to live apart during a portion of their relationship. The two finally reunited years later while pursuing post doctorate degrees at UCLA.
“It’s hard for two academic people [to maintain a relationship],” Stefania said. “There’s a lot of work behind it.”
Despite the hard work, Tommaso said he would do anything for the pair to stay together.
“She’s the most interesting, intelligent person I’ve met,” Tommaso said. “You never get bored with Stefania.”
Thankfully, UCSB is a very supportive institution for spouses, the couple said.
“They understand that academics are married to academics,” Tommaso said. “It’s a wise thing for the institution. [They] don’t want professors to constantly leave [to go visit spouses].”
Despite specializing in distinct disciplines, the professors teach a class together, Stefania said.
“We do a lot of cross-collaborations,” she said. “We teach a class on the origins of cosmology from a physics- history-religious studies perspective.”
Working alongside each other sometimes creates competition, she noted.
“Academics are competitive in many ways,” Stefania said. “It’s actually a way to make each other better. It fosters each other’s potential.”
Like their contrasting areas of study, Stefania said the duo’s personalities are complementary.
“It’s easy to be in different fields,” she said. “The same would be too close to home. Being in different fields makes it healthy.”
“Healthier,” Tommaso added.
The couple also has affectionate names for one another. Tommaso calls Stefania “gentleman,” while she calls him “Mr. Bennet” when annoyed, referencing Pride and Prejudice.
Moreover, Stefania said Tommaso has had an immeasurable impact on her life.
“When you spend a third of your life with someone, it’s hard to remember the way it was before,” she said. “We’ve been there for each other for a long time, at the most critical stages. We see each other grow, influencing as we observe.”
Tommaso also said he has learned a great deal from his wife.
“It’s a lot easier to ask what didn’t she teach me,” he said.