Meet John Nicholas, the director of the Center for Information and Communication Sciences. He is a passionate teacher, advocate, and learner who CCIM is excited to have here at Ball State University.
His primary interests of study include cybersecurity, computer information systems, and engineering. In his role as director, Nicholas will be playing an important role in ensuring student success through higher education administration and leadership. He is a strategic planner excited to bring his support and personal success to the CCIM community.
What brought you to teach at the collegiate level?
My journey to becoming a faculty member was not direct. At the age of 19, I became a father, and at the age of 21, I became a single father. I returned to college at age 22, working full-time while attending classes. My mother helped with childcare so I could succeed. I graduated from the University of Akron in 1994 with a BS in electronic engineering technology, and I worked as such until 2001.
My then-boss, Dr. C.F. Chen, told me, “You should be a College Professor.” Shortly after, I took a position at The University of Akron as a Lab Technician and began working on my graduate studies. I taught as an adjunct professor for the Department of Engineering and Science Technology from 2002-2009, when the Department of Business Technology hired me as an assistant professor of Computer Information Systems. I have served as a faculty member and administrator since.
What are your teaching and leadership philosophies?
My teaching philosophy and leadership philosophy are that of collaboration. From the teaching side, the student’s goal is to graduate, and my goal is to lead them to success. I prefer to be the guide on the side instead of the sage on the stage. Similarly, my leadership style is to help those who work with me to reach their personal goals while making sure they contribute to the overall success of the CICS.
How do you get students excited about your classes?
I have a passion for learning all things, not just my area of focus. If I am excited about teaching, that is infectious, and the students will feel that excitement with me.
Have you worked on any projects that you’re particularly proud of?
At The University of Akron, I developed the Digital Forensics Degree Track and the Cybersecurity Degree Track. This led me to join a state-wide committee that developed the Ohio Cybersecurity Range Institute (OCRI).
What has been one of the proudest moments in your career so far?
Becoming the director of the CICS at Ball State University! #chirpchirp
Have you won any awards for your work?
I recently received The Impact Leader Award from The National Society for Leadership and Success.
What is your favorite thing about Ball State/CCIM?
My favorite thing about BSU and the CCIM is that people here genuinely care about the students.
What are your goals for the next few years? What do you see in your near future?
My goals are to build upon the success of the CICS. My near future includes working to hire quality faculty, so the students get the best possible experience while in our programs.
Can you share one thing that people don’t typically know about you?
I am a musician and a songwriter. With Brad Johnson, I co-wrote the “local hit” song “Cleveland Browns Sunday,” which was played regularly on ESPN Cleveland in 2015 and 2016.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
My daughter, Dr. Erika L. Bass, is an assistant professor and English teaching advisor at the University of Northern Iowa.