Congratulations to John Nordstrom, College of Western Idaho’s (CWI) Faculty of Distinction for November 2021. Nordstrom is an Assistant Professor of Economics and was one of the first full-time instructors hired at the College. He was additionally one of the first department chairs leading the Business department from 2009 to 2016.
“That very first semester we were open in the spring of 2009 was magical,” Nordstrom recalled. “Everybody knew everybody else, and we all helped each other get things done. As the College has grown, we have specialized in our discrete areas, but everybody was a part of everything that first semester. I love startups, and the startup of CWI showed me how special those first hires of the College were in terms of kindness, patience, and flexibility.”
Nordstrom’s professional background encompasses a vast array of experiences from journalism, design, manufacturing, international business, technology businesses and startups, government, marketing, economic development, banking, sales, and more.
"I am an avid learner. I have always been curious and like trying to figure out how things work. Whether it be people, science, business, or history, I've just wanted to discover more.”
While attending Northwest Nazarene University, he switched majors nearly every semester.
“I was interested in almost everything and had a hard time narrowing it down. I finally graduated with an English-Education degree so I could teach, but it wasn't too long after that I was back and getting my Masters of Business Administration. Business has always fascinated me because the goal is to solve somebody's problems. When you buy a product or a service it is usually to solve some issue that you have that it simpler to give up your money for rather than your own time and effort."
Now, as Economics faculty at CWI, Nordstrom uses his knowledge and experience to teach others.
"Economics pervades almost everything. It's the study of how we make choices. How well an individual makes choices has a great impact on them personally, but also the people they interact with. The ripple effect can be awesome. So many people think economics is about money, but money is simply one of the variables that helps you make an informed decision. Economics includes philosophy, psychology, political science, education, business, banking, crime, religion, and just about anything that involves people."
Above all, his passion lies in helping others.
“While my main job as faculty is to facilitate learning, I also enjoying mentoring people, both as students and after they leave. I tell my students I am a professor of life and a professor for life. Passion for learning is contagious. If I can infect other people with it and get paid to do it, it seems like a decent life.”
“John Nordstrom is one of the finest educators I have had the pleasure to learn from,” said one of his students. “He does a great job of incorporating interesting topics, videos, readings, and lectures in his teaching and has a wonderful balance of high expectations and patience with each of his students. Many, like myself, may need a little extra push or someone to believe in what they are capable of. I truly cannot express how grateful I am for John and how it has connected me to this institution. He is truly a point of difference in the CWI faculty. Thank you for employing one of the finest educators in the state of Idaho at CWI!”
Nordstrom grew up in Kelso, Washington. He and his wife have been together for 31 years, married for 26. Outside of teaching, he enjoys playing board games with friends and playing a variety of musical instruments. On Tuesday nights, he can be found hosting Last Call Trivia at the Flying M Garage in Nampa. He is a lifelong Seattle Mariners fan, which, he said, has not been a great choice so far.