Travis Loof, a new professor in the media & journalism department, isn’t unacquainted with life in Vermillion.
Loof, from Watertown, SD, said he always knew USD was perfect for him.
“USD seemed like the best fit, so I only applied to USD,” he said.
He graduated from USD with an undergraduate degree in communication studies in 2011 and with a master’s in communication studies in 2014.
He’s currently finishing up his Ph.D. in media and communication from Texas Tech University.
Loof began his teaching career by working with the students on the USD debate team when he was a graduate student. He also served as a lab instructor for introduction speech courses.
At Texas Tech University, Loof taught a variety of courses in the media department, including advertising and consumer psychology.
Now, as a USD professor, Loof teaches principles of advertising and social media marketing. In his social media marketing class, he works mainly with students on the sport marketing track.
Sadie Swier, a senior majoring in communication studies, is taking Loof’s social media marketing class this semester. She said she appreciates Loof’s ability to “keep it real” in the classroom.
“Professor Loof was made to teach,” Swier said. “He stands out from other professors because us students look forward to his class everyday.”
Loof said he was inspired by the teachers that he had as a student.
“What made me want to teach was being able to have those good teachers,” Loof said. “Every once in awhile, you’ll get a really good teacher or professor who wants to really make you excited about the course material.”
Loof is passionate about helping students enjoy the subjects they’re researching and studying, he said.
“My favorite thing about teaching is two things. The first one would be getting people excited about the research and the second is getting people actually involved in the research process as a whole,” Loof said. “It’s one thing to talk about those studies that some people did at some point in time, but it’s a another thing to go out and actually conduct those studies.”
Swier said she appreciates Loof’s teaching style and enjoys the way he jumps right into the material.
“In just three weeks, he had already laid a foundation about how to use social media is a more enriching way,” Swier said. “I see myself professionally managing social media, and his class is exactly what I need. We’ve already learned how to personally brand ourselves online and the differences in social media platforms.”
Allison Vote, a senior majoring in strategic communications, said Loof’s class is a fun way to learn about social media.
“No day is the same within the classroom when he is teaching,” Vote said. “He really tries to make class enjoyable for us.”
Loof said social media is a critical skill in any career.
“People need to understand how they can promote themselves and their personal brand to future employers,” Loof said. “First impressions are a large part of getting that first job, and the first impression might not be you walking through the door – it could be your tweets or your Instagram or your Facebook.”
The USD alumnus said he’s thrilled to be back on campus.
“My favorite part about USD is that it has a big college feel in a small town. Beyond that, everyone is nice,” Loof says. “It’s a really great place to live and work, and that’s why I was really excited to have the opportunity to come back.”