Dr. Jesse Weiss
Associate Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies
Ph.D., Utah State University
M.A., University of Arkansas
B.A., University of Arkansas
Office: 223 Smith-Broyles Science Center
Whether it's taking his CI class on a ropes course, raffling off a chance to give him a haircut for the sociology club, sponsoring the Disc Golf Association, using comic book graphic novels to teach pop culture, or helping judge the Project Poet competition, Dr. Jesse Weiss is a professor with a hand in many pies.
He includes among his inspirations Pete Townsend of The Who, Bob Dylan, painter Alex Ross, and sociologists C. Wright Mills and Herbert Blumer.
"Sociology does not hold all the answers, but it can help you find them," Weiss says. A graduate of the University of Arkansas and Utah State, where he received his Ph.D., Weiss' research and scholarly interests include social problem, gender issues, environmental and natural resource sociology, and popular culture.
"To be successful in this field," he says, "students need to learn critical thinking, to have an open mind and a willingness to see the world from multiple perspectives." Weiss says he decided to pursue teaching at the university level because his life was changed by one of his professors, and he wanted the opportunity to pass it forward.
"My students have taught me that the future is in good hands," he says. He adds he hopes his use of popular culture in teaching helps his students see how sociology can apply to their world. "It gets their attention," he says, "and pop culture is as valid a source of information as anything." Dr. Weiss is extremely positive about his role at Ozarks. "What I like about being at Ozarks is the small class sizes and the ability to get to know students personally and work with each of them individually," he says. "I hope students will take with them from Ozarks a quality education and relationships they will have for the rest of their lives."
Weiss is advisor to the Planet Club, the Sociology Honor Society Alpha Chi, and the Ozarks Disc Golf Association, all of which, he says, offer opportunities to get to know the students better.
Away from work, Weiss enjoys spending time with his wife and children - who inspire him - and he competes and trains for triathlons and loves graphic novels and reading in general.
He also makes custom action figures of Ozarks faculty and staff. He says he started out customizing professional wrestler figures and expanded from there to more personal models. Classics include Ozarks President Dr. Rick Niece, Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Sean Coleman, and Assistant Professor of English Dr. Brian Hardman. "All it takes is a dremel tool, model paint, and Sculpey modeling compound for the hair, beards, glasses - and time," he says. "It's fun. Too bad I can't do one for everybody."