Watch CBS News

Transgender Theology Professor At APU Will Reportedly Leave Post Of 15 Years

AZUSA ( — A theology professor at Azusa Pacific University may be leaving her post of 15 years after announcing last week that she identifies herself as a transgender man.

Dr. Heather Ann Clements, who now refers to himself as "H. Adam Ackley, Ph.D." or "Heath Adam Ackley" on social media profiles, took to Facebook to announce that he is parting ways with the private Christian university by the end of the school year.

"Please let me clarify that I was asked to step down and agreed to some extent -- namely I agreed that the university and I may not currently be the best fit for one another and that it makes sense in light of that for me to find employment elsewhere, and that they are being quite gracious to give me through the end of this academic year to do that -- however, the place we are struggling to come to understanding has to do with impact on students I currently serve enrolled in my fall classes," Ackley wrote on his timeline.

A statement issued Monday by APU suggested the university has yet to decide Ackley's fate:

"University leadership is engaged in thoughtful conversations with our faculty member in order to honor the contribution and treat all parties with dignity and respect while upholding the values of the university. It is an ongoing conversation, and therefore, a confidential matter."

Ackley posted a YouTube video explaining his upbringing over the weekend.

"Born Heather Ann Ackley, I was raised by an unconditionally loving family of Christian grandparents and hippie parents who allowed me to be myself – assigned female gender at birth, but kept thinking I was a little boy, trying to be like my grandpa..." a portion of the video reads.

Ackley told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO he waited to make the announcement to the school before commencing plans to undergo gender reassignment surgery.

Heath Adam Ackley

"That's something that I look forward to being able to do, now that I've had my transgender identity affirmed and no longer treated as some sort of disorder by my medical and psychiatric professionals," Ackley said. "They now see me as a transgendered man who just needs to work towards living that reality and not trying to overcome it, as I used to be told to do."

According to the school's weekly student newspaper, The Clause, when Ackley apprised his students of the situation on Friday, some thanked him for his honesty and even cried.

"One of the greatest professors I've ever had," said Will Roelof, who said he was unaware of Ackley's transition. "We had no idea in the class. He talked a lot about depression and anxiety stuff, which makes a lot of more sense now in light of everything."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.