Colman McCarthy

18 reviews
Average rating: 4.72




This professor has taught: HONR228T, HONR359B

Information Review
HONR228T

Expecting an A
terp27 11/26/2016
TAKE COLMAN MCCARTHY!!! This class was one of the most relaxed yet most informational I have ever taken. The class is ridiculously easy and so interesting that you will want to come to class everyday. Colman McCarthy is an old man and is kind of slow when he speaks, so I almost dropped the first day I saw him because I didn't know if I could deal with that for 2 hours. The first day or two of class isn't interesting, but the rest is definitely worth it. He's so passionate and involved in everything he teaches. You learn about current events, and you just feel like you know so much more than before after every class. The only thing that he grades for the class is a 1000 word paper and a journal entry you have to log after every class. I highly recommend him to anyone. He does this all because he cares about informing others of these events. He honestly cares about each student and what they have to say, and he hates grades and giving students grades because he thinks school should focus more on education. I love him as a teacher I wish I could take him again.
HONR359B

Expecting a P
Anonymous 05/10/2016
This course is one of the most powerful classes I've ever had the pleasure of taking at UMD. I made me discuss topics I had previously never given much thought about and forced us to explore different perspectives on complex issues of our world. Professor McCarthy is a delight. Because the class is so small (mine had only 7 people), he took the time to get to know each of us individually and genuinely cared about us. He's one of those professors who brightens your day and his students will remember him years beyond the end of the course. The only out-of-class assignments include short weekly readings and a final essay (2,000 words). I kind of wish there were more assignments for us to reflect on the course content.
HONR228T

mdenison 05/23/2013
Gotta break up the love fest just a little bit. Don't get me wrong: McCarthy is a great person. He's very passionate about his views, he's got a grandfatherly sense of humor, and the 2.5 hour class went surprisingly quickly. However. Despite his anti-test views, the class has a final exam that requires you to remember 20 random quotes and match them to their speaker. I suspect he wants students to organize and resist taking the final (it would fit with the revolutionary flavor of the class), but alas, I lacked the necessary backbone. He also tends to get rather preachy, especially with the animal rights portion of the class. I'm a pacifist but I also enjoy meat, and he seems to be offended by that. (To be fair, his guest speaker on the topic was incredible, preaching veganism in a surprisingly logical way.) All that said, I can certainly say that no class made me think as much after it was over as this one. I still find my mind wandering back to those discussions, and I took the class in fall '12.
HONR359B

Anonymous 02/12/2013
McCarthy is a wonderfully sweet person- he's been around a long time and seen a lot of things. Astonishingly spry at his age. He likes to crack cheesy, and at times redundant, jokes, but I think the consensus is that he is a very likable, respectable fellow who really sticks by his guns when it comes to the topic of peace. I took Alternatives to Violence with him, and while it wasn't life-changing (nor did I by any means agree with everything presented), it really did challenge my views/perspectives on a number of issues (particularly the segments on war and animal rights). I consider myself a fairly skeptical, pragmatic person, and his class was the first time in my life I actually contemplated veganism (for entirely logical reasons, not even on the basis of not wanting to eat animals!). It was really good to hear perspectives you don't hear publicized often. The only things I would note about this course is that McCarthy is a bit 'stuck in his ways' so-to-speak; he always hears people out, but I noticed he never budged an inch from his personal opinions, even when the argument presented was sound. The quality of the class is also strongly dependent on the discussions among students- so if you have a dead silent classroom, you really won't get as much out of it. It's when people say what they really think you start getting the full benefit of their views and experiences. As others have discussed, this is a P/F course- just show up once a week and write a 6pg paper on nearly anything peace-related by the end of the semester. Someone in my class made a movie, which he accepted as well. Very easy, and enjoyable. It's definitely a what-you-make of it class too- show up and participate, and you'll be surprised by what you learn.
HONR359B

Anonymous 12/23/2012
Colman was easily the most influential professor I ever had at Maryland. He has some very unique viewpoints that he shares with the class and let's you come to your own conclusions. He is very open to discussions and loves it when students challenge his ideals. Class is P/F and it really impossible to fail unless you don't do the paper. The final paper is very simple and can be written about pretty much anything. Take this class if you have the opportunity.
HONR228T

Expecting an A
Anonymous 09/26/2012
McCarthy was a great professor that really changed the way I look at pacifism and our society at large. I wasn't quite as blown away as I thought I would be (my expectations were probably a little high after reading some of these reviews), but I think he had somewhat of an "off" semester with my class. Overall I would definitely recommend this course; some of the ideas he presents will stick with you forever.
HONR359B

Expecting a P
Anonymous 09/23/2012
Terrific. This professor and course will open you up to a previously-unfamiliar set of peace-related topics, as well as some creative perspectives on a few more familiar topics. Classes are discussion based. They are initially driven by readings that you are supposed to have done ahead of time, but you can just briefly skim them and get the basic idea so that you can contribute to lecture. This is a P/F class, and your grade is basically just based on completion of a 6-ish page paper at the end about whatever topic you're interested in. If you never want to attend, you don't have to, and the professor will not mind (and often won't even notice); he will give you a Passing grade regardless. If you want to attend, you will benefit from the interesting discussions and viewpoints that you (guaranteed) have not gotten (and never again will) in any other class at UMD.
HONR228T

Expecting an A+
Anonymous 04/16/2012
Professor McCarthy is my favorite teacher of all time. He is the sweetest man ever. He is just so nice and it is incredibly easy to do well in this honors seminar. He is just a nice man in general and I loved having discussion in this class, even if I disagreed with some of the views presented. I mean you have to be a complete fool not to get an A. He makes the class so easy. I fell asleep during some of the videos because he uses vids from the 70s and 80s but it was really awesome. And...the books you use for the course are all compiled writings edited by him. Go figure. I didn't read after the first class and I got an A+. He asks everyone to pick a passage and describe how you felt about it. I would pick something simple before class started because he usually takes a few minutes to get going. Easy A. Take it. It is a 3 credit class that will boost your GPA and you will gain a friend in Professor McCarthy. The last class is the best by far. I love this class and the professor who taught it. Do yourself a favor and take this honors seminar. He is the best.
HONR228T

Expecting an A
Anonymous 05/12/2011
Professor McCarthy is truly one of a kind and this class is an amazing experience. He will make you think in ways you have never thought before. Workload is fairly light and grading doesn't seem to be too bad. I am expecting to get an A, but if I don't I will have no regrets about taking this class over one that would have been an easy A. If you have the opportunity, sign up to take a class with Professor McCarthy as he is a part of a dying breed of professors.
HONR228T

Expecting an A
Anonymous 12/22/2010
Professor McCarthy is a great teacher. A lot of classes at college teach you facts that may or may not apply to your life/future. This class is all about application and practicality. You will want to go out and make the world a better place every time after class. There is no one more qualified to teach peace than professor McCarthy. He teaches by example and that is very important. After going through his class, you will be forced to reconsider some stuff that you never thought fully about before. Extremely interesting and endlessly fascinating. The class environment is so relaxing that I find myself looking forward to the 3-hour class every week. A note about the final exam. It's not difficult. At all. Simply mark down quotes that students read aloud during class. Spend an hour memorizing them. You're golden for the final. If you have the opportunity to take this class, then you are extremely lucky. If you get into the class, consider it an honor.
HONR228T

Expecting an A
ycha 12/01/2010
I always tell my friends that this class is like a mini-therapy session. I admit, there are times when I have fallen asleep in his class. But it's only when he dims down the lights and pops in a video for a good hour or so. Otherwise though, he really is a one of a kind professor. I've never had a professor like him. He's like that grandpa I wish I had. We have one exam, a paper, and a weekly journal. The weekly journal is a pain if you procrastinate--so don't! I'm super proud of the paper he's inspired me to write in this class. I haven't taken the exam yet, but I have no idea how to study for it. I have a bad feeling about it though. He's made me think harder on a lot of issues, and the weekly readings are actually very interesting! I'm also a Vegetarian because of this class now, believe it or not.
HONR228T

Expecting a B+
Anonymous 05/11/2010
I agree with all the other reviews about the fact that Professor McCarthy is an outstanding individual. He is a great man, but I was not wholly convinced of his teaching. I found him, at times, to be unrealistically liberal (which I am amazed to say seeing as I would describe myself as very liberal) and although he says he welcomes opposing opinions I would certainly not have wanted to present one. Overall it is a good class and the workload is very manageable. My only complaint is that I don't believe the final was very very. It's a 20 question exam which asks you to match quotations with their authors. These can be drawn from any of the readings throughout the semester and unless you start writing them down from the very first lecture it almost impossible to study for. More importantly, though, matching quotations doesn't have much to do with any of the knowledge I gained in the class. That being said, I scored low enough on this pointless final to get an unwarranted B in the class. Even so, I would recommend this class with the disclaimer that it will definitely challenge your views.
HONR359B

deoaro 04/27/2010
I took McCarthy last semester and I agree with every single comment above. He is probably the most influential professor I've ever met. This guy has met so many famous and important people that its amazing that he purposely chooses not to be some kind of politician. He is an incredible advocate for peace and is morally opposed tests quizzes or any kind of academic assesment. The class can get kind of boring because he is old and his speech has slowed some but he is at least worth listening to. I personally don't agree with his way of thinking but I don't think anyone should be robbed of the opportunity to listen to him. Great class! Great Professor!
HONR228T

Expecting an A
mreese 12/10/2009
You owe it to yourself to take this class. McCarthy is an incredibly idealistic individual who will challenge your worldview and inspire you to be a better person. He will probably be the most caring and understanding teacher you ever have. The workload is not something to be concerned about: weekly short readings and journal entry plus a 1200 word essay on virtually anything you please. As a stalwart opponent of what he dubs "fear-based learning," McCarthy doesn't even believe in judging students' participation in class. Take this class, and take it seriously. If everybody in the world did, we would all be so much happier.
HONR228T

Expecting an A
pfiore 12/07/2009
The most influential class and teacher I have ever had. Colman becomes the old wise man down the road that all the kids sit down and talk with. He presents convincing arguments on non-violence. The guy is amazing: he has never drank or smoked, eats vegan, rides a bike everywhere, and runs marathons. He is around 85 years old. I will miss Colman more than anyone. Take this seminar and be prepared for an experience. Also its easy A's, Colman hates grading and feels everyone should get an A if they try.
HONR359B

Expecting a s
Anonymous 01/21/2009
This class is excellent. The professor is an awesome older guy who has seen a lot and is a wealth of information. The course opens your eyes to a lot of things and challenges your beliefs and standpoints on a lot of issues by showing you a new side of the argument. The only written assignment is a final paper basically on any topic you want to write about as long as it somehow relates to the class. Besides this, he only asks you to read some essays for the next class. Also, if you really want to take this class and can't get into it for some reason, go to the class and talk to Mr. McCarthy, he won't turn you down and will try to accomodate you as best as possible.
HONR359B

Expecting an A
lomobecks 12/04/2008
Absolutely phenomenal. Professor McCarthy is a fascinating individual with an incredible wealth of knowledge of events and people. This was a highly enriching class, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone. He never takes life too seriously, and you get a great sense of community within the classroom. His approach to peace and conflict resolution really separates it from the negative stereotype of peace-loving hippie counterculture. Take this class.
HONR228T

Expecting an A
umd413 11/07/2008
One of a kind. The class, the professor, the curriculum - a wholly unique experience unlike anything I've ever experienced in school. This is by far the most fulfilling course I've taken to the point that, every thursday after class, i come back to my room and recommend it to everyone I see. It is a true eye-opener that teaches you lessons you would only expect to learn outside the classroom in the real world. McCarthy's got something special - he's a cute old man with a twinkle in his eye, and the class is kind of like hanging out with grandpa for the afternoon. His life experiences and writings are truly amazing and he really makes you think about our role in society and where we place our values. I find myself, after 2.5 hrs of class, never wanting to leave.