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Dr. Mark A. Hicks is the Angus MacLean Professor of Religious Education at Meadville Lombard Theological School and Director of the Fahs Collaborative Laboratory for Innovation in Faith Formation. He holds a doctorate degree in philosophy and education and a Master's degree in higher and adult education, both from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City.
Drawing on his experience as a classroom educator, musician, university administrator and advocate for social change, Dr. Hicks comes to Meadville Lombard having collaboratively designed a nationally-recognized professional development degree that transforms the teaching and learning lives of public school teachers and children (Initiatives in Educational Transformation, George Mason University). His scholarship and teaching has been recognized by peers for “Teaching Excellence” as well as making “contributions that stand the test of time” to the field of transformative teaching and research. His scholarship has appeared in journals such as The Journal of Transformative Education, Multicultural Perspectives, Educational Studies, and most recently, the first edition Handbook of Research on the Social Foundations of Education.
In 2011, he delivered the Fahs Lecture “Toward a Religious Education for People of Color” at the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly, challenging the Unitarian Universalists (and the field of religious education) to expand its conception of faith development to include the developmental needs of people targeted for social oppression (https://vimeo.com/29111898).
Since coming to Meadville Lombard in 2009, he has built upon the innovative genius and creative legacy of Angus MacLean and Sophia Fahs to wide acclaim among students and colleagues. He builds on insights from human and faith development, experiential learning, critical pedagogy and theories of transformative learning, creating a body of courses that both nest students in philosophy and theory while modeling how to create similar experiences in religious and secular settings.As a curriculum developer, Dr. Hicks’ work creates “aesthetic spaces” wherein participants can break through what John Dewey called “the crust of conventionalism” in order to find new ways of thinking and being. These ideas can be experienced in the UUA’s Tapestry of Faith curriculum, “Building the World We Dream About,” the Fahs Collaborative's , “Beloved Conversations: Meditations on Race and Ethnicity” the UU Ministry for Earth’s ecojustice curriculum, “Our Place in the Web of Life” co-written with Pamela Sparr. Dr. Hicks collaborated with Jenice L. View to develop the curriculum companion to the PBS documentary, Defying the Nazis: The Sharp's War. The interfaith curriculum, We Who Defy Hate, is being used by congrgations, college faith groups, and community organizations seeking to find common ground on social issues.
In October 2013, Dr. Hicks led the relaunching of the Fahs Collaborative Laboratory. Since that time, The Collaborative has built a reputation for sparking innovation and fostering partnerships that breath fresh air into the lives of individuals and groups.
He is a JUUST Change Consultant for the UUA and former chair of the South-East Regional Committee on Candidacy. He is a lay leader at All Souls Church, Unitarian in Washington, D.C., and, formerly, at The Riverside Church in New York City.