Editor’s note: This part of a series of profiles of faculty and their research by Montgomery Van Wart, a professor of public administration and a CSUSB Faculty Research Fellow in Faculty Affairs and Development. In this article, he features Victoria Seitz, long-time chair of the Cal State San Bernardino marketing department.
By Montgomery Van Wart
Research “is poking and prying with a purpose.” (Zora Neale Hurston).
Successful marketers are by nature curious because they want to know what makes people interested in things. Curious marketers ask questions, want to learn and walk in their customers’ shoes. Professor Victoria Seitz, long-time chair of the Cal State San Bernardino marketing department, has turned this trait to her advantage in teaching and research. Over her career she has had over 50 cited publications.
Seitz investigates branding and image marketing, “green” computing, and the effect of visual display on purchasing behavior, among others. For example, in one study she found that while branded apps strongly influenced users’ attitudes toward those brands, branding in that case had a limited impact on purchase intentions. In another, she found countries that promote biosphere reserves as tourist destinations tend to have better environmental records than countries that do not. In yet another study, she did a cross national comparison of the industries using celebrities in marketing.
When asked about the span of topics she has investigated, she responded: “I just enjoy formulating questions and answering them. I’m curious! The range of topics that I have investigated has been really wonderful for my teaching since they have given me so many personal experiences and anecdotes to share.”
Seitz is also a great collaborator. Over three quarters of her research projects have been with others. One of her successful collaborators, who has now retired, was Nabil Razzouk, also in marketing. “Nabil and I were a great writing and research team as our writing styles and research agendas complemented one another.”
She has co-authored with many of the faculty in her department over time. It is interesting to note that Seitz has been tasked with a second chair position in a second department, public administration, while the department seeks a new external chair.
She is also a great coach.
Over half of her publications have been with junior faculty and students. One recent article examined student perceptions of faculty competence in online learning and the role of engagement. Another project, still in progress, examines branding in the innovative and emerging cannabis industry.
Many of her marketing comparison surveys have been collaborative efforts with graduate and undergraduate students.
“Working with junior faculty provides an opportunity to fine tune my research skills while helping them succeed, and working with students, is a sincere joy,” Seitz said. “You don’t know when working with them who will choose to join the academic life. Moreover, they are so happy when their manuscript gets published – it is something they can share on their resume and with their families of their achievement.”
Pedagogical research has been a distinct theme in her research agenda. One recent paper, titled “Understanding student motivation: A key to retention in higher education,” aimed at ferreting out the different concerns students have at different stages in their college careers, and the importance of using different motivational strategies in response to their concerns.
“As students progress in their academic careers, they have different needs that universities can direct limited resources for the greatest impact,” Seitz said.
Another highly cited paper looked at the use of experiential marketing projects in teaching to heighten engagement and skill integration. “As a marketing educator, it is important to measure learning outcomes when it comes to the use of high impact practices such as client projects,” she added.
Her various means of research have also included a rich mix of methods. While the use of surveys has constituted about half of her methods, she has used many others including content analysis, focus groups, structured interviews, narrative analysis, literature review and others.
To top it off she is an ideal example of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s comment: “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”
Seitz is well-known for her consistent, joyful enthusiasm, no matter whether it is with students in the classroom, working with up-and-coming scholars, supporting the local symphony, or cheering loudly at commencement.