Faculty & Staff

Mark R. Warren, PhD

Professor, Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs, McCormack Graduate School


photo of Mark Warren

Areas of Expertise

Community organizing, Education reform, Race and racial justice, Faith-based initiatives


PhD, Sociology, Harvard University
MA, Sociology, Harvard University
BA, Social Studies, Harvard College

Additional Information

Professor Warren has been named one of UMass Boston's outstanding faculty.

Mark R. Warren is a sociologist concerned with the revitalization of American democratic and community life. He studies efforts to strengthen institutions that anchor low-income communities— schools, congregations and other community-based organizations—and to build broad-based alliances among these institutions and across race and social class. He is interested in the development of educational and community leadership through involvement in multiracial political action as well as the outcomes of such efforts in fostering community development, social justice, and school transformation. He is committed to using the results of scholarly research to promote equity in public policy and to advance democratic practice.

In 2015, Warren earned two prestigious fellowships that support his research on building an educational justice movement and organizing against the school-to-prison pipeline. With the College Board Fellowship to Advance Educational Excellence for Young Men of Color, he will spend the 2015-16 academic year in residence at the W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute, a premiere global center for African-American and African research at Harvard University. Recognizing past accomplishments and future promise, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship will also support this research which Warren expects to turn into his next book.

Warren penned several books, including Fire in the Heart: How White Activists Embrace Racial Justice (Oxford University Press) and Dry Bones Rattling: Community Building to Revitalize American Democracy (Princeton University Press), and is co-editor of a book on social capital-based strategies for combating poverty called Social Capital and Poor Communities (Russell Sage Foundation Press). He also published a widely-cited lead article in the Harvard Educational Review on the relationship between community development and school improvement, titled “Communities and Schools: A New View of Urban Education Reform.”

Directing a large-scale study of community organizing efforts at school reform in six localities across the country, Warren built an innovative collaborative model with sixteen doctoral students and faculty. The book from that project, A Match on Dry Grass: Community Organizing as a Catalyst for School Reform (Oxford University Press), was published in September 2011.

In addition to teaching courses on community organizing, education reform, and qualitative research methods, he mentors a large number of doctoral students who are interested in community organizing and education reform, the relationship between families, communities and schools, and the role of community activism in advancing social justice and institutional and policy change.

As founding chairperson of a new Special Interest Group of the American Education Research Association on Community and Youth Organizing for Education Reform,  Mark Warren works with a growing number of scholars to build a new field of research on the role of community organizing in education reform and to promote international scholarship on community organizing.

Committed to develop a new approach to scholarly work that is engaged and collaborative, he has organized several national conferences designed to foster collaboration between researchers, community organizers, educators and policymakers. He is on the national and Boston organizing teams of the Urban Research-Based Action Network.

Before coming to the University of Massachusetts Boston, Warren was an associate professor of education at Harvard University and an active member of the community at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research. Prior to holding that position, he was associate professor of sociology at Fordham University, where he founded and directed the college’s service learning program.

Please visit Mark Warren’s personal website

Teaching in the Public Policy PhD Program:

Sociological Perspectives on Public Policy and Social Justice
Practicum in Community-based Research