Teacher Feature: Richard McCarty, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Richard McCarty, Ph.D., loves working at Mercyhurst College. He believes that a classroom is a place for “exploring subjects, and should be safe to ask questions,” he said.

McCarty’s favorite part about teaching is the “Ah ha! moment.” This, he describes, is when something clicks in students’ heads and then they understand it. Their face lights up and they go “Ah ha!”

Originally from Iowa, McCarty attended Spencer High North West Iowa for junior and senior high before he went on to attend Iowa State for college.

McCarty graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies. He now has his Ph.D. in Human Ethics and Sexuality from the University of Iowa.

Being a very passionate person, one of McCarty’s biggest accomplishments he is most proud of is when he helped fight for marriage equality in Iowa. He believes that the law needs to recognize that everyone deserves the right of marriage.

Acquiring a Ph.D, McCarty says, is “a huge accomplishment” for him. With a recently finished book, on top of all of this, McCarty has many accomplishments he is very proud of.

Most of all he is proud to have kept his humanity.

He says, “My family and friends are still very important to me, and I am glad that I haven’t lost my humanity.”

When searching for a college at which to teach, McCarty applied to 30 schools. When Mercyhurst was highly recommended to him, he put it closer to the top of his list.

After spending three days on campus, McCarty says it felt like he belonged.

Now that he is here, McCarty teachers a number of different classes, which include Religious Perspectives on Human Relationships, Social Ethics, Peace and Justice, Senior Capstone on Religious Studies and the occasional Independent Study.

Offering some advice to the students at Mercyhurst, McCarty says to “understand the privilege it is to be able to sit in class with scholars and think about things.”

He says, “Don’t waste the opportunity. There is plenty of time later in life to sit and play XBox. Now is your time to learn as much as you can. Everything you learn will come back and meet you in life… Education is exhilarating. It is your opportunity to grow as a person.”