You think you know Dr. Michael Weiler? Perhaps you’ve seen him in the halls of Tufte or Walker or you’ve seen his brief bio on our website. Maybe you’ve taken a class with him, Communication in the Political World, or Argument and Advocacy. By sitting down and chatting with Dr. Weiler myself, I have learned that there is much behind the kind smile that I see in my CC200 class every week.
Dr. Weiler hails from Utah, a member of a traditional Mormon family–his great-great grandmother and her sister had been wives of Brigham Young simultaneously. Despite his upbringing, Dr. Weiler began to fade away from his religion during his teenage years simply because of his disagreement with attitudes of the Mormon Church. He began his college education at the University of Utah, receiving his B.S. in Political Science. During his time at the University of Utah, Dr. Weiler was active in intercollegiate debate, a practice he began in high school. His passion for debate bridged the world of politics and the world of communication. He soon attended the University of Pittsburgh for grad school where he studied Communication Studies. There he served as the assistant coach for the debate team.
His teaching career began at Baylor University in the Department of Communication. Dr. Weiler made his return to Pitt as a member of the communication faculty. During his time at Pitt he got married. When his wife (who was also finishing her Ph.D) received an offer from Mount Holyoke College, they relocated to Massachusetts. Dr. Weiler worked for some time as a full-time adjunct at the University of Massachusetts, but was brought to Emerson when a position opened up in September 1989.
Dr. Weiler briefly coached parliamentary debate here at Emerson, but with having a family and kids, the time commitment became too much. He misses coaching and the fun competitive excitement that come with debate. Fortunately, he is able to still do some with the Boston Debate League, working with secondary and high schools.
During his time at Emerson, Dr. Weiler is most proud of the partnership he created between Emerson and the Boston Renaissance Charter School which used to be right down the street from campus. The program had Emerson students working with Charter School students grades 4th-6th, teaching them to prepare debates on topics such as school policy. The program lasted from 2002 to 2008 when the Charter School unfortunately relocated, but the relationship between the schools has still been maintained.
Dr. Weiler plans to establish a partnership with a school in Dorchester, MA, through a partnership with the Boston Debate League. He believes that this will not only benefit the kids involved, but broaden Emerson’s connections as well. Additionally, in the near future he will take a sabbatical leave to continue study in his area of interest–contemporary ideology, with an emphasis on the religious element of popular conservatism.
To keep up with the latest news, Dr. Weiler reads the New York Times, along with other periodicals and literature on American politics. He confesses to not being entirely literate with the newest forms of media, but does dabble on political websites. When not staying up to date on today’s politics, Dr. Weiler enjoys a nice round of golf.
–Maggie Morlath (Political Communication Major and Student Contributor)