Uluru in Northern Territory, Australia January 2016
At Uluru January 2016
Michael W. Longan
Professor of Geography, Department of Geography and Meteorology at Valparaiso University.

About Me

In Sydney, Australia
At Circular Quay in Sydney, NSW

Ph.D. University of Colorado at Boulder, 2000
M.A. University of Arizona 1995
B.A. University of Colorado at Boulder 1993

Specialties: Communication and Media Geography, Cultural Geography, Urban Geography, Urban Planning, Rural Geography, Landscape, neighborhood and community activism, China, Japan, and Australia.

Positions Held

Previously to teaching at VU I taught at Gustavus Adophus College in St. Peter, Minnesota and at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Mike Longan 



I have research interests in urban, cultural, and communication and media geography. My current reserach focus is on the geography of country music.

Little Big Town at CMA Fest 

Recently I have presented research related to the drafting of a feasibility study for the creation of a Calumet National Heritage Area

My research on country music was inspired by a class I taught on rural geography, I am interested in how changing themes in country music reflect cultural changes due to suburban and exurban growth.  Specifically I am exploring the burst in popularity of country identity songs at the begining of the 21st century. I have presented this research at the International Country Music Conference.  

I published a paper reflecting on reserach methods for online media.

I have published work on the geography of Facebook as Megaengineering.

I have finished work on a Virtual Regional Geography of Northwest Indiana which asks questions about what Northwest Indiana looks like from the perspective of cyberspace. I am interested in how and why people represent places in Northwest Indiana online. I hope to find out more about how the Internet is (or is not) helping to transform local politics, aid in local economic development, and foster social ties.

In addition to this research on the Internet and community I have also published research on "everyday virtual reality" focusing upon the representation and production of landscape in video games. I am interested in the extent to which the activity of virtual landscape production in video games may subvert or reinforce dominant ways of seeing and producing landscapes in the "real world."

I have also written about the the use of the Internet in geography education.

In the past I organized an informal faculty seminar on Qualitative Data Analysis and I am available to consult with faculty and students on campus about qualitative research and using NVivo.


I regularly go line dancing and have choreographed a few dances.

Since I bought a house with a big garden plot, I have become a gardener.

My Garden

I was faculty advisor for the VU Hockey Club played intramural floor hockey for the Chiefs back in 2003 adn 2004 and for the Flatballers in 2014 and 2015.  I am a big fan of the Gustavus Hockey Team. I have never actually played ice hockey but have vowed to do so someday.

I have been exploring the bike trails of Northwest Indiana as time and weather permit.

 I was a member of the Trombone Choir and the Brass Choir at Gustavus.

When I lived in Boulder, I played Trombone in the Boulder Concert Band.

 I was a member of the CU Bands including the CU Basketball Band and the C.U. Golden Buffalo Marching Band. The highlight of my marching band career was a trip to the Aloha Bowl in Hawaii.

I was a member of the Pride of Arizona Marching Band while at the University of Arizona.


at the world's smallest post officeAt the world's smallest post office in Ochopee, FL near the Everglades

At Kata Tjuta
At Kata Tjuta or The Olgas, Northern Territory, Australia

At EPCOT in March 2015

Getting ready to snorkel in Belize
Getting ready to snorkel in Belize (2012)

At the Grand Ole Opry
At the Grand Ole Opry (March 2010)

At Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island, Queensland, Australia (September 2008).

Camels, Sand Dunes, and me near Dunhuang
At the Mingsha Shan
near Dunhuang, China (Summer 2006)

On Mt. Fuji
(May 2004)

Me in front of stone henge
At Stonehenge
(Summer 2003)

 at Carhenge
My car parks in silent reverence before mysterious Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska. (Summer 2000)

Me on the train in the rain in Tiny Town, Colorado (Summer 2000)

The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota. (Darwin, Summer 2000)



I did a tour of Florida starting at Panama City Beach, stopping in Tampa for the NCGE meeting, heading down to the Everglades and Key West, and back north via Cocoa Beach.
 I traveled to San Francisco for the third time to attend the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers.
I traveled to Lawrenceville, GA for a meeting with GTU and visited Stone Mountain for a couple of hours.
I traveled to Australia for a second time and toured Sydney, attended the Tamworth Country Music Festival, visited Uluru, Kata Tjuta, Kings Canyon, and Alice Springs, and visited the Great Barrier Reef and the Atherton Tablelands.
I visited Washington D.C. for the annual NCGE meeting.
I traveled to Orlando for spring break and visited the Magic Kingdom.


I visited Memphis for the NCGE meeting and stopped by Graceland, the Civil Rights Museum, and Sun Records. I spent a day in Springfield, IL touring the Abraham Lincoln Museum on the way back. 
I traveled to Nashville for the International Country Music Conference and stopped by Mamouth Cave National Park on the way back.
I traveled to Tampa, Florida for the AAG meeting.
Nashville for CMA Fest
I traveled home to Denver for the NCGE meeting.
I traveled to Los Angeles for the AAG meeting.
I traveled to Belize for a week. We stayed in Hopkins Village and snorkled off the barrier reef. We visited Xunantunich, the Cockscomb Jaguar Preserve and the Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave.
I went to New York City for the AAG Meeting where I also saw William Shatner and Brad Paisly perform together on stage.
Nashville for CMA Fest
I went to Portland, OR for the NCGE meeting.
I went to Seattle, WA for the AAG meeting.
I went to Washington D.C. for the AAG meeting.
I traveled to Nashville with two students to do research on the geography of country music at the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Nashville for CMA Fest
Las Vegas for the AAG Meeting
June Nashville for CMA Fest
In September and October of 2009 I went to Queensland Australia and traveled from Brisbane to Cairns stopping at Fraser Island and the Whitsundays along the way. I also snorkeled on the Great Barrier Reef and visited the Daintree National Park.
I went to Boston for the AAG meeting.
I went camping North of Fort Collins, Colorado.
I had an opportunity to spend a day in New Orleans to see the recovery efforts (and lack of recovery) first hand.
I went to San Francisco for the AAG meeting and spent a day walking around one of my favorite cities.


and June
I traveled to China with faculty from VU. We visited Tibet, Xinjiang, and Hangzhou among other places.
Travel to Minnesota for a former student's wedding and on the way back stopped by Spring Green Wisconsin where I visited Taliesin and the House on the Rock
In June 2004 I traveled to Boulder Colorado for the Geography Faculty Development Alliance's Early Career Faculty Workshop. See the GEO/MET Teaching Resource Center for some valuable teaching resources I found as a result of participating in this workshop.
May and June
In May and June 2004 I traveled to Japan and China with a group of faculty from VU.
I traveled to Cambridge, London, and Cardiff.
I have returned to Minnesota several times since I moved to Indiana and regularly go home to Colorado for the holidays.
Here are some pictures from my summer 2002 trip to Northern Minnesota.
During the Summer of 2000 I took an epic road trip to Minnesota and back before moving to St. Peter, MN

The content, views, opinions and positions expressed on these personal pages are strictly and exclusively those of the page author, and not of Valparaiso University. Comments and reactions to these pages should be directed to the page authors directly.