DECATUR, Ga. - College students spend hours indoors studying and going to class. They look to their professors for advice and class expectations, but many never really get to know their instructors. That's why an Emory University professor has decided to try breaking the ice with his students by taking them on a run each week.
Doctor Patrick Cafferty lectures classes in Introductory Biology and Human Physiology. He's also an Adviser and students can visit him during office hours for information and counseling on courses. One of those office hours each week is outside.
Dr. Cafferty welcomes any student to join him on a three mile run.
"What is unique about running, over just coming in and hanging out in the office, is the equalizing aspect. We're all dressed in the same clothes," Dr. Cafferty told FOX 5. "There are no fancy titles. We can just talk about the day, talk about classes."
The run winds through Lullwater Park on the Emory campus in Decatur. Cafferty keeps almost a 10 minute per mile pace, which he and his students call "Conversational," as they run past a pond and through some woodsy trails.
"You can have this really genuine convesation, talk about how your day's going, what are your concerns about the class." student Salik Naqvi said. "All of these things are very important to the success of the students besides just sitting in a lecture class."
Maia Smith is another student who participates in the runs and said it's hard to get to know professors, especially in the larger lecture halls.
"I wish all my professors did this or I wish they had some outlet for the students to get to know the professors more," said Smith.
Cafferty said he was in a swim club during graduate school at McGill University in Montreal a few years ago. Students and professors participated in the club and he found it a great way to interact. He's taken that concept forward now that he is a professor and plans to keep it going,
"Student feedback is consistent and positive. People consistently come out telling me they enjoy it, so I'll keep doing it," Cafferty said.