Thursday, March 4, 2021

MSU professor embarks on cross-country road trip to inspire students

February 19, 2021
Image courtesy of Troy Hale

While most people adapted to work from home due to the current pandemic, MSU Professor Troy Hale is set to work from scenic locales like the Grand Canyon.

Hale, a professor of practice in MSU's School of Journalism, is departing on Friday, Feb. 19 on an extended road trip across the country. As a professor of asynchronous courses, Hale will be shooting his pre-recorded lectures on the road.

According to Hale the main reason behind his trip is to inspire his students.

“I saw that students were getting really bummed out," Hale said. "I was trying to show them (to) take advantage of the situation because there’s no other time that you’re going to have this kind of freedom to do different kinds of things."

Hale said he hopes that his road trip will inspire students to take advantage of this opportunity.

“There's a lot of things you can do that don't involve being around other people,” he said. “And selfishly, I want to get somewhere warm for a little while."

Hale let his students suggest destinations and places to visit, putting together a loose road map from the responses.

“At the beginning of the semester, I sent a survey to all my students and I built a Google map, and I just started putting all these points on the map,” Hale said.

Hale plans on being on the road for at least a month, and maybe much longer if all goes well. He will be stopping first in Omaha, Nebraska, to stay with his sister. From there, he plans on heading to Denver, where he also has family.

“My main thing is I really want to get to the Grand Canyon area,” Hale said. “I’ve never really been there, and now I have maybe 40 points on my Google map in that area."

Hale also said that he is planning on staying out in nature for a majority of the trip in order to minimize risk of transmitting or contracting COVID-19. He will be travelling in a pickup truck that he has outfitted with a 1999 Palomino Bronco truck camper, which affords him enough space for a queen bed.

“It took four months of work to make it nice, and I think I still could probably do even more on it,” he said.

Working on a project like this, Hale said, is in his nature.

“It’s part of me, I need to have a project all the time,” Hale said. “This just happens to be one of the ideas I’ve come up with." 

The student feedback has been overwhelmingly positive as well, according to Hale. He said he has been getting a lot of comments from some of his others students wishing they could be doing something like this.

“I go, 'well, you don't have to do exactly what I'm doing, but you can figure out some little mini thing that you can do, that will make you happy during these times',” he said.

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