University of New Mexico Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs James Holloway announced the appointment of David Weiss as the dean of University College (UC).   

“David Weiss has proven himself to be a superb academic leader, effective at administration, a strong advocate for his faculty and staff, and wonderfully dedicated to students,” said Holloway. “I know that University College will prosper under his excellent leadership.”

Weiss is currently serving as the interim dean of University College, a role he was appointed to serve last summer. University College is UNM’s only academic college devoted explicitly to effecting and enhancing undergraduate success in and beyond the classroom. As part of his responsibilities, Weiss managed UC’s $2.6 million budget, oversight of three facilities upgrades, expanded the curricula of the Liberal Arts & Integrative Studies program and Academic Communities program and initiated and expanded academic program collaborations with UNM’s four branch campuses.

“UC has established itself as a crucial contributor to undergraduate student success, as quantified most notably by the College’s contributions to student retention and graduation rates,” said Weiss. “At the same time, UC’s contributions, services, and offerings could—and, in fact, need to be—much better known on our campus and across the state. One of my goals is to raise awareness of our College—who we are, what we do, who can benefit from UC—among current and potential UNM students, and also among UNM faculty.”

Prior to his appointment as interim dean of University College, Weiss was the director of UC’s Liberal Arts & Integrative Studies program, the College’s only degree-granting program, currently offering five multidisciplinary pathways to graduation via collaborations with all UNM colleges and schools serving undergraduates. Weiss also worked to revamp the curricula of capstone and experiential-learning courses and led the overhaul of degree program/structure. Weiss also planned, organized and led UC’s first-ever College-wide Academic Program Review in 2022-23 and helped to rebuild the College’s assessment mechanisms and the launch and or expansion from various strategic initiatives from the review.

“When I joined the UC team in 2022, I felt an immediate personal and professional connection to the College’s foci and mission, and I knew I wanted to deepen and broaden my involvement with this unique unit within UNM,” said Weiss. “I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities that will be possible with this new position. I’m looking forward to growing our faculty and staff, and further diversifying our Academic Communities and Liberal Arts & Integrative Studies course offerings, so that we can keep up with the continuing growth in the number of students we teach and advise each year.”

A professor in UNM’s Communication & Journalism Department, Weiss has taught courses in strategic communication, political communication, and media studies. He has also taught graduate seminars including Mass Communication Theories and Media Structures & Institutions. He also served as department chair from 2017-22 and managed C&J’s Academic Program Review in 2021.

His research interests include media discourse, political and religious communication, and media and popular culture industries. His research has been manifested in two distinct research and publication streams including political communication and, in particular, its intersection with religious communication, and also linguistic manifestations of identity in media and popular culture. Currently, he is in the early stages of a project situated at the intersection of media theory and the political economy of media.

A critical scholar of the discourse, structures, and societal impact of the media and popular culture, Weiss critically investigates the roles played by the media in society. He is most interested in "culture war" issues such as mediated and other publicly communicated messages or texts that are located at the points where media, language, and popular culture intersect with the most powerful issues and institutions of our time: religion, politics, law, health and science, sex and sexuality, gender, and/or race and ethnicity.

Weiss first fell in love with UNM and Albuquerque over 20 years ago as a doctoral student in the Communication & Journalism Department. After earning his Ph.D., he taught in Ohio and Montana. He returned to UNM as a faculty member in 2012 as an assistant professor in the Communication & Journalism Department.  He was promoted to associate professor in 2016, and to full professor this year.

Before his return to academia in 2000, Weiss worked in the advertising agency business in New York City as a client service and marketing manager in the advertising and public relations industries for nearly two decades. Weiss held various jobs in the agency world, which involved strategic planning, budget management, personnel oversight, and every form of internal and external communication, which provided Weiss with leadership training that many “pure” academics rarely get before taking on their first administrative position.

Weiss earned his Ph.D. degree from UNM in 2005. He earned his BA in psychology from Cornell University (1982) and MA in journalism (literary nonfiction) from the University of Oregon (2002).