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Professor Lesley McMillan

Professor Lesley McMillan is Professor of Criminology and Sociology with a passionate interest in institutional responses to gender based violence. She is committed to transforming how universities prevent and respond to gender based violence to change cultures and create a learning environment that is safe, equitable, accessible and inclusive.
Glasgow Caledonian University
Job Title
Professor of Criminology and Sociology

Professor Lesley McMillan is Professor of Criminology and Sociology at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU). She has had a career-long commitment to embed trauma-informed teaching and transform institutional responses to gender based violence (GBV). Lesley is passionate about transforming how universities prevent and respond to gender based violence not only on their own campuses, but also how they support students who experience it in other contexts of their lives and which may impact their ability to be fully part of the university community.  

She integrates her published research, her psychotherapeutic training, and her ability to lead strategic change to advocate for a safe and equitable learning and working environment for all students and staff. Her work is grounded in a Humanistic approach that accentuates the importance of relationships, connections, and empathy in creating effective learning spaces, and the rejection of a deficit model of education.

She has taken a systematic staged approach to GBV response within universities, researching the prevalence of GBV among students, and introducing the first GBV policy in a Scottish university. Using a procedural justice approach, Lesley designed and implemented a scheme of trained First Responders across the university able to receive disclosures of GBV. In conceptualising their training, she drew upon her academic expertise, role as a psychotherapist, and knowledge as an educator to ensure contextualised understanding for trainees and supported them to develop skills of active listening, empathy, support signposting, and safeguarding, providing a service for over 17000 students and 1600 staff.

She has taken a whole-community approach, engaging with local educational partners, and third sector organisations to deliver an integrated, well designed and effective programme of work to transform practice, and promote cultural change across the sector. Engaging students in a partnership approach she co-produced the multi-award winning #erasethegrey GBV prevention campaign. This generated significant impact at GCU and beyond, evidenced in outstanding student and staff feedback, and changes in attitudes to GBV. In line with her commitment to GCU as a civic university, she provided the campaign free under licence to other institutions, and it is now used by 12 organisations across the UK. 

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