Associate Professor of Education

 Dr. Lucas grew up in Corbin, Kentucky. She holds a PhD in Education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.   She has former experience as special education teacher, homebound teacher for medically fragile students, educational diagnostician, grant writer, and parent educator. Her educational passions are related to technology in the classroom, working with first-year students, and the forest school initiative. Dr. Lucas has many special interests: school climate issues (especially for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students/faculty/staff), restorative justice in education, school to prison pipeline research, and other issues impacting marginalized students.

Rebecca Lucas is an ally, activist, and advocate in the LGBT community.  She has done extensive work locally, regionally, and nationally as an activist, advocate, and trainer in the LGBT community. She has been standing up for, speaking out in, and supporting this community since 2002.  Her interest in LGBT issues became a passion for LGBT equality in the summer of 2009 when her oldest son came out.  At the time, her main concern was that her son and his siblings know and understand the importance of being allies to all people in marginalized groups. With family and community support, she founded the Maryville Chapter of PFLAG, an organization that emphasizes support, education, and advocacy.  Much of her time and energy focuses on safe school initiatives, bullying prevention, promoting LGBT inclusive legislation, and creating opportunities for all community members to move equality forward. Rebecca’s reputation as a respected activist has earned her membership or an advisory board position with various organizations, including TN Equality Project, GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network) TN, the Foothills LGBT Center, the Knoxville Gay Men’s Chorus, and the Maryville College Diversity Action Team.  She is a former team member with the National Coalition Building Institute at Maryville College and worked to co-develop a campus Safe Zone training that focused specifically on training in LGBT issues. Rebecca’s reputation as a respected activist has earned her membership or an advisory board position with various organizations, including TN Equality Project, GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network) TN, the Foothills LGBT Center, the Knoxville Gay Men’s Chorus,  Maryville College Diversity Action Team, and Maryville College LGBTQ+ Alliance. Believing in the power of education, Rebecca frequently travels to National, regional, and local conferences in an effort to inform the work she loves.  As a speaker, educator, mentor, and trainer, she is often invited to speak to various groups interested in LGBT equality. Recent invitations include the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Conference, PFLAG TN/KY Summer Conference, UTK’s OUTStanding Conference, the East TN Civil Rights and Human Trafficking Task Force (sponsored by the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office), Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center, and training for college faculty and staff. In 2015, Rebecca was recognized for her work in the community, receiving the Spirit of Good Neighbors Award from Blount County Good Neighbors. Her most “prideful” moment might be when she was selected to lead the 2017 Knoxville Pride Parade as the Grand Marshal. 

Dr. Lucas has 3 awesome, human kids (Noah, Caleb, Abi) who are grown and doing their own thing. She and her husband, Barry, and live in the Top of the World community on top of Chilhowee Mountain with their 4 fur babies (Marli /dog,  Annabelle /dog,  Kanga /cat,  Avery /cat). She loves living on the Lake in the Sky--fishing, paddle boarding, kayaking, boating, and cruising around in her golf cart are favorite ways to pass the time in paradise.