McCune to direct Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowships​

Prestigious program supports diversity in higher education

Jeffrey Q. McCune Jr., PhD, has been named director of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program at Washington University in St. Louis.


Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in New York, the program aims to increase diversity in higher education by supporting undergraduate research and by encouraging talented but underrepresented students to pursue doctorates in the humanities and the social sciences.

McCune joined the WUSTL faculty in fall 2013 and is associate professor in the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program and in the Performing Arts Department, both in Arts & Sciences. He earned his doctorate in performance studies from Northwestern University in 2007. He previously taught at the University of Maryland, College Park.

McCune has written widely on issues relating to masculinity, particularly black masculinity, as well as queer studies, sexuality theory, critical race theory, performance studies and popular culture. His book, “Sexual Discretion: Black Masculinity and the Politics of Passing” (University of Chicago Press, 2014), examines the lives of African-American men who have sex with men while maintaining a heterosexual lifestyle in public.

An associate editor for Text and Performance Quarterly, McCune serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Homosexuality and Spectrum: A Journal on Black Men. He also is active as a playwright and performer, with credits including “Dancin’ the Down Low” (2005), “See-Saw: An ImBalance of Identities” (2008) and “Archives of Violence” (2013).

Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship

Launched in 1988, the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program was founded in part to rectify the marked underrepresentation of minority students in academia. Today, the national program comprises 42 member schools, including Washington University — which joined in 1992 — as well as three South African universities and a consortium of historically black colleges and universities within the membership of the United Negro College Fund.