Throughout the last six years, Dr. Jeffrey McCully, Assistant Professor of Sociology, has championed not only LGBTQ+ causes, but those of the numerous minorities on campus and for that has earned this year’s Embracing Diversity Award.

Since being hired in 2012, McCully has been advisor to the ¡GASP! club as well as a voice for the students and championed their needs when they’ve felt underrepresented or uncomfortable. Between their collaboration, they’ve accomplished a few things, including incorporating gender identity and expression into the college’s nondiscrimination policy, creating gender neutral bathrooms throughout campus and adding preferred student names on Canvas. They’ve also brought speakers on campus to discuss gender identity and related topics.

“I think people don’t experience gender, race or class independent of each other. They experience it intersectionally. We’re a whole person, so we need to address that. Awareness and celebrations are great, but policies make the difference,” McCully said.

In the teaching realm, McCully does not introduce new class material on the Muslim holiday Eid for those students who are absent and might otherwise fall behind. McCully also starts class by asking students what pronoun they prefer to be called—he, she, they, etc. In every class, at least one student does not use standard gender pronouns.

“When I think of embracing diversity, Jeffrey McCully is honestly the first person who comes to mind. Jeffrey has been instrumental at our school when it comes to valuing the LGBTQ+ community and student body. One hugely overlooked population at Moraine Valley is our transgender population.

For a transgendered student, it can be horrifying for a teacher to call them the wrong pronoun or name in class in front of their peers. Jeffrey has been fighting for the ability to let students alter their names within class rosters when appropriate,” said McCully’s nominator. “When no one stepped up to embrace the transgender community, Jeffrey led the way. Jeffrey has been paramount in helping this fragile population feel like they belong and is truly deserving of being recognized for this award.”

“I care about a lot of stuff on campus, not just LGBTQ+. Things have changed, but I didn’t do this, the students did. I heard them and just showed them the way,” McCully explained.

McCully also credits adjunct instructor Judie Cutting, co-advisor of ¡GASP!, in helping make change. Although deferring to her as well as the students for any accolades, McCully is grateful to have won this honor. “I didn’t think I’d get an award, but I’m surprised and humbled.”