"If you build it, he will come.” Field of Dreams
In a proactive move three years ago, Ventura College became the first community college in California to offer a Social Media Marketing career path. However, they were so early in the game that it was difficult to find an instructor with the right experience.
Yet, the VC Business Department had done their homework. The reports and the surveys pointed the way; Skills in this new and rapidly growing branch of marketing were highly sought after by businesses at every level. Social media occupations were growing. Businesses wanted to upskill their current workforce. Most of the student body use social media every day.
Despite not having the instructor yet, the department forged ahead and implemented the program in Fall 2016.
Enter social media marketing maven Nick Norris who had just moved his growing family to Ventura. A natural and charismatic connector, Norris wanted to meet like-minded people. So, he walked onto campus to track down the dean that oversees the Business Department. Norris thought it would be fun to meet the business instructors or maybe teach a class.
In an era when we prefer to text, Norris didn’t pick up a phone. He didn’t email. He didn’t call. He just walked on down to the campus without an appointment to meet the dean. It was a walk that would eventually change his life.
Not only was the business department looking for a social media specialist, they had built a program that was waiting for one. “I guess it was kismet,” said Norris who started teaching part-time the following semester.
The initial foray into academia was a bit of a love affair for Norris. “I absolutely fell in love with teaching and the idea of nurturing the business leaders of the future,” said Norris. So, when he was offered a full-time job with Ventura College starting Fall 2019 semester, he went for it.
With more than a decade working as marketing specialist for his company ID Marketing and Design, Norris comes to VC with strong industry experience, and a solid academic background. He earned an MBA in Entrepreneurship from Pepperdine University and a BA in Communications Studies from Cal State Northridge.
So far, the Social Media Marketing program has awarded four Associates Degrees and five Certificates of Achievement. These numbers are expected to more than double this year. In total, about 200 students have taken the Social Media Marketing class from Norris.
Kudos about this program are spreading by word of mouth. Students are driving from out of the area to study Social Media Marketing with Norris. I first heard about Prof. Norris from a photographer friend who highly recommended his fun and engaging classes. So, I signed up and was not disappointed.
Indeed, Norris’s classes are filled with the interesting and pertinent conversations you always hoped you would have in college. Some of the guest speakers are Norris’s former students, who have already built impressive careers in this fast-moving industry.
You can bet that Norris will be on trend to keep up on the latest changes in this industry. He’s been described as having a ‘quick study charisma.” As a business marketer, he would often need to become an expert in a new industry overnight.
Professor Nick Norris is the linchpin of the fledgling Social Media Marketing program at Ventura College. Three years ago, he left Santa Monica to bring his family to the town he considers the last affordable beach town in California. Norris is a father to four young children and is a sports fanatic. You can find him watching his young daughters play soccer Saturday mornings at VC, playing basketball early mornings, and making friends everywhere he goes.