Nashville: New Face, New Partnership

by | Jan 12, 2015 | EduSocial Blog, Instructors, Press and Media | 0 comments

Rick Duvall HeadshotAs the National Institute for Social Media (NISM) kicks off its partnership with Kaplan College – Nashville, we had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Rick Duvall, an instructor with both NISM and Kaplan College. Rick will be teaching the courses at the new Nashville location and we are excited to share more with you about Rick and his background.

Hi Rick, Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

“Prior to becoming a teacher in higher education, as an adjunct professor at Cumberland University and at Kaplan College, I spent over 10 years in the custom publishing industry. I started out as a professional journalist working primarily in agribusiness. During this time I served as editor-in-chief of two nationally distributed magazines before concentrating on launching a custom publishing/marketing company that mostly published regional lifestyle magazines. Unfortunately, my season in the custom publishing industry coincided with the demise of print publications due to the rapid growth and development of on-line/digital production. Though we tried to provide parallel services via website design and development, print publication and distribution was our strength so we were unable to compete in the new digital marketplace. Fortunately, I was invited to teach courses at a local career college and so with a more flexible schedule I began taking on more courses and a new career in teaching and consulting was born.

Currently, along with teaching a variety of academic writing courses and career development workshops, I am spearheading a new program in social media strategy/digital communications at Kaplan College in Nashville, Tennessee. I am also still active as a creative marketing consultant. My desire is to pioneer a training program based here in Nashville designed to equip a new generation of communications/marketing professionals with the resources to succeed in our new “relationship” economy of connectedness. Along with my vast experience crossing many fields I also hold two graduate level degrees: a Master of Arts from Belmont University and a Master of Science in Management from Southeastern Institute of Technology.”

What a great intro, Rick. Thank you for sharing that with us. I love how you have taken your career changes in stride and worked to constantly learn more. How does the decision to become certified as a Social Media Strategist (SMS)fit in with your training program goals for Nashville?

“During my tenure in custom publishing I became fascinated with the transition from print to web, from a culture and economy of “disconnectedness” to a culture and an economy of “connectedness.” I grew up in a world of landline phones, transistor radios, and analog television. When I was in college in north Alabama a typewriter was considered high-tech. We have come a long way. And this transition from mass communication processes based on “command-and-control” business models to a intrinsically mobile world of “teamwork-and-collaboration” presents us with both great opportunities as well as significant challenges. This is an exciting time in the history of our planet and I want to serve as a bridge between the generations seeking to find their way in this brave new world. Basic to our success is the ability to communicate ideas effectively and social media is now at the apex facilitating this process, especially as it relates to the development of mobile/cellular communications. As more and more organizations are seeking experts to help them navigate the impact social media presents there is a great need to provide a strong program designed to prepare in demand social professionals for success. After careful research, I came to the conclusion that a standardized certification credential was a tremendous way to respond to this need. In my learned opinion, there is no better organization providing this than the National Institute for Social Media. Thus, I began an earnest pursuit of becoming an NISM-certified Social Media Strategist. This pursuit led me to also earn a certification via the NISM Train-the-trainer course and to foster the development of an authorized educational partnership between NISM and Kaplan College. So, now Kaplan College offers an NISM Social Media Strategist Certification course that I only hope will be the beginning of an exciting new program that will develop into a premier training program in the future.”

You embarked on this path of certification while you were still teaching courses in communications. How has your certification benefited you and your students, if any?

“As an educator, being an NISM-certified Social Media Strategist has provided me with the professional competence and the personal confidence to genuinely “connect” with my students in ways that were not possible before. I am now engaging with my students online, in addition to in the classroom. This allows me to better understand the needs of my students as well as the business environment that they will be entering into.”

You were very instrumental in bringing the National Institute for Social Media and Kaplan College together. How do you feel about this partnership now, as we get ready to offer the first course to those in the Nashville area?

“I am extremely excited to bring this partnership to fruition. It is my belief that the partnership between Kaplan College and the National Institute for Social Media can provide the framework for offering a premier training and certification program that can serve as a model for the industry. There is tremendous opportunity for this partnership to become a catalyst promoting strong collaboration between the greatest thought leaders committed to working towards the development of a robust workforce equipped to leverage positively and proactively the power of social enterprise.”

A robust and skilled workforce is definitely something to look forward to! As current Kaplan College students think about this certification course, what should they know and who is best suited to participate in this program?

“I believe our participants will benefit significantly from taking our certification prep course by setting themselves apart from the pack with a certification credential from NISM. Our training will not only provide our students with the intense preparation for passing the NISM Social Media Strategist (SMS) exam, it will also put them on the forefront of modern marketers by equipping them with real-world instruction. Anyone with at least a couple of years of experience and some education in public relations, marketing, or HR, who is desiring to maximize their professional potential would benefit from earning their certification as a social media strategist.”

What are you looking forward to most about teaching the upcoming SMS certification preparation course?

“I am very excited, perhaps even a little anxious, as we launch our first course on January 19th, 2015. I am excited about facilitating the delivery of the excellent content provided by NISM and sharing my perspective with some of the brightest social players from the burgeoning Nashville area. I am a little anxious because I, too, am still a student in this very fluid industry. In fact, I see myself as a fellow “beggar” hungry for knowledge who is one part of a community of other hungry beggars each sharing with one another where they discovered a few loaves of bread. Together we will search for where the manna is hidden today.”

Thank you so much for your time, Rick! Your excitement and energy for the program is contagious. We look forward to hearing how things go after the course launch.

If you have questions for Rick Duvall, please feel free to comment here or connect with him on social media. Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.


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