Author Archives: shanemccarty

Using “my voice” in class

Maybe you didn’t notice, but I used my voice frequently in class. No, I didn’t talk about the specific needs for a returning combat veteran. But at times, I shared in the psychological struggle, the similar feelings associated with being “an outsider” to an established and close knit group, and the courage needed to stand […] Continue reading

Posted in Student Environment

It’s not our first rodeo…

Veterans, Civilians and Cadets I heard the Student Government President talking about cadet-civilian relations. In fact, he suggested an executive cabinet position in order to improve those relationships. I don’t know much about that, but I do know I don’t fit in that dyad. We aren’t civilians and sure aren’t cadet members. I hate being […] Continue reading

Posted in Student Environment

Grateful for Virginia Tech, but longing to belong

I recognize that I am lucky. After returning home and to Virginia Tech, a few of my buddies received calls from the University of Phoenix and other for-profit colleges. According to data from, degree completion for veterans is only 28% for students at for-profits compared to 56% for public institutions. I feel terrible that […] Continue reading

Posted in Student Environment

Living with PTSD at Virginia Tech: The fictional story of a 31-year-old veteran

Reflecting on my own story… again? I remember college as if it were yesterday. I was a motivated undergraduate student, who sat in the first-row of every class with an attentive look and hung up on every word spoken by my wise professors. I must admit.. for the first day of every class… I was […] Continue reading

Posted in Student Environment

Will our society collapse in our lifetime? The data seems to suggest…

Research suggests tomorrow will be WORSE than today. Yes, that’s right. WORSE. Much worse. The nine trends presented below are based on scientific data and these trends are headed in the wrong direction. These trends range from personal (depression) to interpersonal problems (friendship) to health issues (obesity) to societal problems (mass shootings and climate change). […] Continue reading

Posted in PFP13S

Is the current system in higher education unethical? What happens when rewards don’t align with the “Right Thing” to do?

We’ve talked about ethics throughout my graduate course and I want to continue that discussion in the context of higher education. We spent a good part of a course discussing rewards systems and the importance of developing good structures to produce desirable behaviors and outcomes. Unfortunately, we have two competing issues. What do we do […] Continue reading

Posted in PFP13S

Why aren’t we learning from history? Repeating the 2008 Financial Crash Sooner Than We Think

In one week, the stock market dropped 18%. The 2008 story of the financial crash is not the first; it’s the same story, but a different time. That similar story will be back sooner than we think. However, it’s not sub-prime mortgages, it’s an educational loan crisis. “Pew Research Center reported that a record one-in-five […] Continue reading

Posted in PFP13S

The crux of a compassionate culture: the need for more privileged prosocial behavior

Our future Our entire society is built on the belief that people will act prosocially for others, and that individuals with power and influence with do the “right thing.” However, I am fearful of the coming years. Where are we going as a society? Has technology made us closer, more caring, and deeply connected (see […] Continue reading

Posted in Actively Caring, PFP13S

Empowering Students: Using Process-Based Feedback to Recognize for a Growth Mindset

We don’t live in silos, wind tunnels, or holes. We are in systems of people, places, and things, which includes interdependent interactions. Often, person with more power engage people with less power. For example, teachers motivate students. Managers motivate employees. Preacher motivate followers. Coaches motivate players on a team. Leaders motivate others. Clearly, we motivate each […] Continue reading

Posted in PFP13S

Ethical Behavior: Is the cause a character flaw or a faulty system?

This week’s CNN front page story leads to an important question: Is bad behavior caused by a character flaw or a bad system?  “The former superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools was among the educators who surrendered to authorities Tuesday after being indicted by a grand jury in a cheating scandal that rocked the district and […] Continue reading

Posted in PFP13S